Today was likely a work day just like any other: You got up before the sun did, spent time commuting to work, spent the entire day focused on your work, took a few breaks, commuted back home and walked through the door only to be faced with a whole new list of things to get done in your personal life. Making dinner, cleaning, balancing finances — many of these crucial tasks are the last thing you want to tackle when you arrive home after a long day. However, the longer you push these things off, the more stress you add on, making matters even worse.
Even if you don’t work a typical weekday job, the same feeling of being stretched too thin is probably familiar to you. After a long day of professional to-do’s, it’s tough to motivate yourself to complete personal tasks. There are a few tricks you can use to help increase your productivity after work and give you the energy to keep moving rather than creating more work for your weekends (and the free time you deserve!).
Remove Any Distractions
The biggest obstacle when it comes to productivity are the distractions that tend to pop up. This rule is the key to the rest of these tips, so first things first: no mobiles. If you are using your mobile as a to-do list or if you like music to keep you going, that’s OK — just turn your phone on airplane mode so you won’t get any notifications popping up in the meantime.
Also stay away from computers, tablets and televisions. Multitasking will only slow you down and decrease productivity — it’s best to put these items in “time out” until you have your tasks accomplished.
Make Time for Exercise
You may think exercise is one more thing to add to your to-do list but it can actually increase your productivity levels. Mild to moderate exercise has been shown to increase blood flow and boost your heart rate, stimulating your brain and leaving you to feel more energized than after a nap.
Here are some after work exercises you can do in only 15 – 30 minutes:
Have (the Right) Beverage
They say you are what you eat — the same goes for beverages. When you hydrate your body and fill it with nutrient-rich things, you will feel less tired and distracted. Stay hydrated throughout the day to increase your focus and energy.
Not all forms of hydration are equal. While coffee is OK to start your day, it should be avoided in the afternoon and evening. Caffeine may make you more productive in the moment, but that does not positively outweigh the havoc it can wreak on your sleep quality, which can leave you much more fatigued and far less likely to be productive the following evening.
Avoid alcoholic beverages on nights you need to be productive. If you get everything accomplished you need to, go ahead and have one when appropriate, but don’t drink to excess — it can be just as detrimental to your sleep quality as caffeine.
If plain water just won’t cut it, opt for decaffeinated teas.
Utilise the Power of Smell
You may know that smells like lavender can calm you and help you fall asleep, but did you know there are scents that can stimulate you? Elevate your mood with scents like peppermint, orange, rosemary, cinnamon and sage. Each has their own energizing qualities that can help you stay motivated to get your tasks accomplished.
Here are a few ways you can infuse your space with some lively scents:
- Reed diffusers
- Scented lotions
- Essential oil diffusers
In some cases you can even put essential oils directly on your skin or ingest them, but not all oils are created equal! Make sure you research the oil to find out the most effective way to use it for boosting energy.
Make a Plan
This trick may seem a little obvious, but creating a list of the things you need to do may be more powerful than you think. Some psychologists argue that to-do lists can be helpful even if you never complete anything on them! The practice of writing down what you need to do has two crucial phases that bring on the feeling of accomplishment. First, just writing down your tasks and having a visible understanding of what you need to do can inspire you to get it done. Second, once you’ve completed the task you are able to cross it off from your list and actually see your progress. Each step reinforces a positive attitude toward productivity and helps to ensure you don’t get distracted by other things that are not on your list.
You can always use the old trusted method of a piece of paper and a pen, but here are some alternative ways to keep a to-do list.
- Wunderlist app (available for iOS and Android)
- Evernote task management tool, available on desktop and app
- Keep a bullet journal
- Share a common list through Google Docs
For some, a to-do list can complicate productivity by getting too expansive or lacking focus. Here are some tips to making a manageable and effective to-do list.
Having the motivation to complete necessary to-do’s after a long day at work can be quite the challenge, but it’s not impossible. These tips will help you push past those limitations and grow new, productive habits that will lead to a more organised, low-stress lifestyle.