One of the common things most working professionals or entrepreneurs have is that they always lack the time to do all the things they want to in any given day.
We all have so much on our plates today and being busy is like a badge of honour, which is not healthy for us over the long term. While we cannot manage time, we can manage our priorities better in relation to the time we have available.
While there are many areas we can look at in order to manage our priorities better, the area of focus in this post is our time after work. The ideas suggested here will work for busy working professionals, entrepreneurs, small business owners or those who work from home.
If implemented correctly, the benefits include:
- Reduced levels of stress or overwhelm.
- Clarity of purpose and direction in what we are doing.
- Timely completion of our priorities and tasks.
- More time to focus on things that are important to us.
One of the things I have come to understand about how I work is that I tend to do my best work in the mornings. Previously, I would use time in the mornings for exercising, which would cut into my productive time. While I still tend to do that on weekends, one thing I have been experimenting with is to shift my exercise time during the week to the afternoons, after I finish my work.
One advantage of doing that is I have been able to gain an hour in the mornings for highly focused work, which has helped me to complete priorities and tasks a lot quicker, While this may not be something I continue to do over the long term, I know it is working for me right now so I will continue doing it.
Here are seven practical things we can do to better utilise our time after work, so that it can help us become more productive, healthier and happier, while reducing symptoms of stress and overwhelm.
- Start by making a list of activities you normally do in the afternoon. Awareness of our current habits or activities will help us in deciding what we can do better, delegate, defer or even eliminate. Activities could include exercising, preparing dinner, helping kids with homework, taking kids to after-school activities, etc. Once we have the list, we’ll be in a better position to decide what to do with the time we have available.
- Plan your next day. Taking 15-20 minutes to plan out our next day will make us more effective because we will know exactly what we have to focus on at the start of the next day. This is one of the best productivity habits we can develop in order to get better at what we do and how we do it.
- Listen or watch something educational. Most people are more interested in entertainment rather than their own development so if we can dedicate time to learn a new skill or acquire new knowledge, we will put ourselves ahead of the pack and be more informed to make better decisions.
- Catch up on activities unfinished from earlier in the day. Even the best planned days can have unforeseen events, which can derail our progress. We can use time in the afternoon to check emails, respond to messages and catch-up on any social media activities. However, we must be careful that doing these activities after work should only be exceptions and not become the norm.
- Take a nap. A great way to get refreshed and recharged is to take a short 20- or 30-minute nap, if possible. This may not be practical for a lot of people but there are many benefits for taking a short nap daily. We will be more energised and present for the rest of the afternoon and evening.
- Review your day and priorities. The end of the day is a particularly good time to review how our day was like, what we accomplished and what we can do better the next day. This can be a simple self-reflection process, where we replay how our day panned out, or it can be via a journalling process. By knowing what we accomplished today, it will help us plan our next day better.
- Plan your weekend. The afternoons can be a good time to decide what we can defer to the weekend if we have a busy week. It can also be a time to plan out what we are going to do to refresh and recharge over the weekend so that we can be at our best the following week.
If something is important to us, we always find the time to do it. By being more intentional about one part of our day, that is our time after our normal work day, we can set ourselves up to have more productive and effective days on a consistent basis. Any step we can take to improve how we manage our priorities is a step forward in the right direction.
Question: What is another practical thing we can do to be utilise our time after work?
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