“Don’t let making a living prevent you from making a life”, so go the immortal words of John Gooden. As important as securing your career and putting everything you have into your job, taking advantage of your time off after work is an equal priority.
The good people at Life Hack have curated their top tips to making the absolute most of the time you have between leaving the office in the evening and returning the next morning.
1. End your day at a fixed and scheduled time
It’s so crucial that you don’t let overtime take over all your free time. Sometimes it’s necessary to stay an extra hour and finish off that big project you’ve been working on all day, but it can be a problem if you develop a habit for it. With a bit of extra planning, overtime will become a rarity rather than a part of your routine.
2. Take 30 minutes of silence as soon as you get home
The temptation when you finally get through the door is to open up the laptop, stick the telly on and just let the warm glow of news feeds and adverts wash over you until it’s bedtime. What’s better than that is taking half an hour a night to switch off all your surrounding distractions and spend some time reflecting on your day – enjoy the silence.
3. Learn to say “no”
We’re not encouraging you to turn down every opportunity that comes your way like some deranged self-saboteur. In fact, developing the ability to think about your schedule and turning overtime offers and loose plans down can actually create a lot of windows for you to reignite the interests and passions you haven’t had time for in the past.
4. Head to the gym before work
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Exercising after-work tends to be the preferred method of getting the heart pumping and it’s understandable. Getting the sweat out can often do wonders on relieving you of those heavy burdens the work day can imprint you with. However, by working out in the morning you can free up some time in the evening for other things as well as getting the endorphins rushing for the next working day.
5. Start a personal blog
Similar to taking 30 minutes of personal time, writing is often a very cathartic way of reflecting on the day’s work. Whether it’s a stream-of-consciousness diary entry that’s for your eyes only or a dedicated site for your hobbies and interests, jotting down your inner thoughts and ramblings is a fun and productive way of using your time and creative versatility.
6. Use the evenings to plan your next day
By spending a few minutes a night physically jotting down what you have to do for the next day, you can save yourself time and a great deal of stress when you roll up to your desk the next morning. It requires such minimal effort and can be applied to your personal life as well as your burgeoning career.
7. Limit your Facebook and Twitter time
The curse of the millennials, the constant itch to check your news feeds and timeline but in order to be a productive human in the after work hours you must resist the infinite scroll of your friends’ weekend snaps. The struggle is real and everyone’s guilty of it, but if you limit the amount of time spent staring at the projected lives of your peers you’ll find yours far more enriching.