We know how it goes: You get off work, get home and before you know it, you’re sitting on the couch in front of your favorite Netflix series. It happens to the best of us. And let’s face it — it’s very comforting and if you have kids, you have more than just yourself to account for. But what if we said you could take back your weeknights? What if your evenings were more like mini weekends that you could use to recharge, be productive, or spend quality time with your friends and family?
It might require a higher level of determination than a lot of us are used to (especially after a full day of work), but trust us — it’s worth it. We’re here to tell you we believe in you! Break through the lethargy and try out a few of these techniques.
Turn Off and Tune In
Pretty much every blog that talks about “traits of successful people” will tell you that they turn off their phones once in a while to center themselves. You can’t really lock in on what you want to accomplish if you don’t step away from the infinite pocket-sized distractions. This doesn’t have to be a nightly ritual, but once or twice a week it wouldn’t hurt to spend some personal time figuring out how you can be happier. It could be as simple as determining that you want to get better at guitar, so you’ll plan to practice more often. Or you might use this time to realize you have a passion for helping others, and that could lead to a scheduled volunteer shift.
This might be a little extreme, but that’s the idea.
Always Have a Project
It’s been said that one of the best things you can do after a breakup is stay occupied with a project. Well consider this your breakup from boring weeknights. This goes hand in hand with our advice to turn off your devices and tune in to your interests. You won’t be left wondering “what should I do tonight?” if you always have a project in the works. Plus, you’ll be a more interesting and well-rounded person. Children thrive when they have something constructive to occupy their time, so don’t be afraid to involve them too. It’s a win-win: they can develop new skills and you get a little buddy as a sidekick! Learn a new facet of bicycle maintenance every week, perfect watercolor techniques or build a dang coffee table for goodness sakes! Studies prove that we experience exponential joy and accomplishment when we make things with our own two hands. And as an added bonus, it’s something you can brag about to your friends or significant other on your next night out.
See? If he can do it, so can you.
Use Tonight to Plan for Tomorrow
Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is set yourself up for the next day. You can take it as far as writing out a schedule for tomorrow, but starting with a simple meal prep is a good first step. Don’t just pack your lunches for the next few days — prepare your upcoming dinners as much as possible so that you’ll have more time each evening for other things. Aside from planning food, you can also plan for exercise classes, friend meetups and whatever else your heart desires.
Organization can be beautiful.
Move Your Body and Your Mind Will Follow
The “runner’s high” is a real thing, so don’t be afraid to use a post-workout adrenaline boost to your advantage. If can push yourself to go exercise for at least 20 minutes after work, you’ll feel better, which often turns out to be a snowball effect. You’ll feel like you can take on other things right afterward, like writing you parents a handwritten letter, practicing your art or going out and being social. Which leads us to our next point…
Someone has a serious case of the zoomies.
Seek Inspiration Outside Yourself
Spending time with other people can really give you fresh perspectives on life. Whether you’re stuck in a rut or simply looking to try something new, even the most casual conversation can help spark new ideas. It also helps you flex your social muscles, which will deteriorate pretty quickly if your daily routine only consists of small talk with toddlers or solo-sessioning an entire series at home. Being cozy at home is great, but as author Neale Donald Walsch said, “Life begins outside your comfort zone.”
Amazing things can happen when friends get together.
Don’t Underestimate the Power of Sleep
Here’s the thing: It might seem counterproductive to invest in sleep rather than waking hours, but it’s not that black and white. It’s more of a “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” situation. Getting a good night’s rest will actually allow you to be more productive the next day, and has also been known to improve creativity, boost physical prowess and even help you live longer. And the last time we checked, living longer gives you more time for… well, everything!
Something tells us this guy is going to be very productive when he wakes up.
So remember: Your time is your own! Don’t let the lazy monster consume you once you’re off the clock — we know you’re so much more interesting than that. Pursue your passions, push yourself a little and be the master of your own destiny.