Many of us have mastered the art of workplace productivity and dedication to our job. Unfortunately, though, an eight-hour workday can really drain you—and that lack of energy can make it hard for even the most hardworking individual to be productive after work.
Luckily, there are lots of great ways to boost your productivity after work, even after you walk in the door after an especially grueling workday.
Map Out Your Game Plan in Advance
Whether you need to tackle that massive mountain of laundry or start your next DIY project, you’re much more likely to commit to the tasks you must complete if you schedule it out. By scheduling these items, your brain and body have time to mentally prepare, which helps you stay productive even after the workday ends. In fact, you’re much more likely to tackle chores or personal projects when you make plans in advance because you’re not just blindly walking into the door and scrambling around for something to do.
Furthermore, scheduling out your chores throughout the week can help you create lasting habits with these tasks. When you map out chores as regularly-occurring weekly events, they become part of your daily and weekly routine. This not only helps you stay on top of things, but it makes them feel more effortless in the long run—win-win!
However, scheduling these tasks isn’t the same thing as a to-do list, and it’s important to recognize that. When you make a to-do list, you simply create a list of items you want to accomplish without giving yourself a timeframe to complete them. According to author and entrepreneur Nir Eyal, this leaves too much room for distractions and harmful internal beliefs to take over and cause a dip in your post-work productivity.
When you schedule tasks, though, you set aside specific hours of your day for these items. This not only helps you make sure these tasks get done, but it helps you prioritize these goals so distractions don’t get in the way. Instead, you can simply sit down and get to business.
Recharge Your Batteries
Although most people stand by the principle that “a body in motion stays in motion,” sometimes our muscles (and our minds!) need time to switch gears after a particularly stressful day at work. For this reason, many people find that they’re more productive after work if they allow themselves a bit of time to recharge their batteries immediately after they clock out.
If you have a particularly long commute, you may be able to recharge during the drive home by listening to your favorite Spotify playlist or turning on a podcast. Otherwise, take a moment when you first arrive back at home and let yourself relax and unwind. Once you feel recharged, you can buckle down and start tackling your evening tasks productively.
Like everything else in your daily routine, though, you should only budget a set amount of time to this relaxation period. Otherwise, you may find yourself still sitting on the couch three hours after you left work.
What’s the right amount of time to recharge? Well, researchers say 15 to 20 minutes is ideal. This provides enough time for your brain to disengage from work and your entire body to feel refreshed without giving yourself enough time to completely settle in a relaxed state.
Just remember to take full advantage of your break so that you can maximize your productivity after.
Break Large Projects into Smaller Tasks
Unfortunately, many tasks can feel daunting after you’ve already spent the entire day working. You may feel like all of your chores and home projects will take too long to complete, or you may simply feel overwhelmed by looking at the project as a whole.
But how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!
Instead of mapping out your week with a list of overarching projects, most experts say it’s more beneficial to use a term called microproductivity—meaning you break apart each project into small, bite-size tasks.
Breaking up projects into smaller tasks helps you maximize productivity in several ways. For starters, it helps you avoid procrastination and stress because it leaves very little room for interpretation. It also helps you remain focused on each small task along the way because you’re simply putting one foot in front of the other. In other words, you can accomplish more because you’ve already mapped out each step for yourself.
Most importantly, though, breaking up projects into smaller tasks maximizes your productivity because it helps you build momentum along the way. With each small task you achieve, you feel productive and satisfied. As you continue working away, this positivity generates greater productivity and helps you feel truly accomplished. Then, when you complete the entire project, you can look back at each step in the process and truly applaud your success!
Turn Off the Technology
No matter how much you plan ahead and how you break your tasks down, there are times when you will end up distracted—it happens! However, technology often interferes with our productivity more than we realize. If you make a conscious effort to unplug or turn off your technology during certain hours, however, you can boost your productivity and accomplish so much more.
While each individual’s technology dependence varies, there are several things you can do to minimize distractions from your phone or other forms of personal tech when you’re trying to check off items on your to-do list after work. For some people (myself included), using an app blocker or built-in notification muting tool can help you avoid interruptions during your most productive moments. For others, turning their smartphone off completely or leaving it in a separate room can help.
Regardless of your approach, one thing is certain: unplugging for even 30 minutes can do wonders for your productivity at home after a long day of work.
Time to Be Productive
No matter what career you’re in, it’s always hard to stay productive after you clock out. Unfortunately, those piles of laundry aren’t going anywhere, so it’s time to really buckle down. Hopefully these suggestions can help you be more productive after work—but it’s up to you to try them out!
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Megan Glosson is a mother and freelance writer based Nashville, Tennessee. She enjoys writing on a variety of parenting topics, but loves taking on anything with a personal connection to her own life. When she’s not writing, you can probably find Megan building Legos or playing board games with her two adorable daughters. To check out more of Megan’s work or to contact her about freelance opportunities, visit meganglosson.com