Do you wonder where your evenings go when you get home from work (or move from your desk to the sofa)? Guilty.
Maybe you have days where you plan to be super productive at the end of the workday but instead you spend the whole night bingeing Netflix and scrolling through app after app. Guilty.
Sometimes, we are so tired from the workday that all we want to do when we get home/shut our laptops is mind-numbing activities to give ourselves a break. However, that becomes an endless cycle which can leave us feeling burnt out and unfulfilled.
Now, if you’re going to be a negative Nelly and tell me you don’t have time or you have too much to do after work, excellent, you’re reading the right blog.
Let’s have a look at six ways you can spice up your evenings and be more productive.
1. Learn a new skill
Do you ever wish you kept learning a language after you finished school and just never quite got round to it? (OK, maybe you’ve had a go at Duolingo and can confidently tell me you like to drink milk in Spanish). Perhaps you want to learn how to code, how to draw, or how to use Photoshop?
Dedicate an hour, or even just 20-30 minutes, every night to focus on learning your new skill. You’ll be surprised how quickly you pick it up and you’ll feel better for it too. It’s never too late to learn!
I started learning how to code five years ago and I gave up on it because “I didn’t have time”. I now make sure I slot in at least 20 minutes every night and although I won’t be developing websites anytime soon, I’ve learnt enough to stop me pestering our web team every time there’s a slight formatting error on a WordPress blog.
2. Get in the kitchen
Sometimes, cooking is the last thing I want to do after work. And yes, sometimes, I will order a takeaway. But that’s not feasible every night. I plan out my meals on a Friday for the week ahead so our food shop is nicely organised and I know what meals I’ve got to cook throughout the week.
(I don’t stick to a schedule, by the way. I don’t have to have my chilli con carne on a Wednesday. I also tend to make sure I have “easier” meals for those days that are particularly tough, such as a pizza or sausage and chips, to stop me from saying “eff it” and getting the Just Eat app out.)
Now that you have a nicely planned out week, get in the kitchen and enjoy yourself. Listen to some of your favourite tunes or have a glass of wine as you go if you fancy. I know we don’t all find cooking enjoyable, but these things can make it easier and less of a chore for you.
Better yet, try some speedy one-pan recipes so you aren’t doing too much at once. Aside from the humble chilli, you could try a mushroom risotto or jambalaya – both very tasty and ready in under an hour, perfect!
For some added fun, turn it into a bit of a game. Every now and then, we try the national dish of a country by using a random online generator to decide our culinary fate. Just pop in the names of a few countries and whichever one you get, you have to cook it that week.
It’s great fun and you may just find something new that you love and wouldn’t have tried before. One of our favourites was Jollof Rice (Nigeria). It’s also a one-pan????.
3. Find a hobby
Hobbies can give us that much needed break that we are after from the daily grind. It gives us an outlet where we can relax, recharge and refresh.
If you don’t have a hobby, it’s not too late to pick one up or start one again that you’ve had “no time” for. For me, I was always an avid reader when I was younger and I realised a couple of years back that I hadn’t picked up a book for a LONG time. When I did, I remembered what I was missing out on.
I also spend time solving puzzles, listening to podcasts, strength training and hiking.
Do what you love, and everything will seem brighter!
4. Spend valuable time with friends or family
I get it, socialising might sound like a horrible idea after a long day of work, but it can give you the boost you need.
Try grabbing a coffee with a friend after work, go for dinner with your family, take a trip out to the cinema or go to a gig. The list is endless, but weeknights don’t have to be spent at home! I’ve had some of the best evenings with friends and family after a long day at work and you can too.
5. Take a moment for self-care
Maybe I should have put this one first as looking after yourself should be priority number one.
Have a bath. Get stuck into your skincare routine. Go for a walk. Do some yoga. Listen to music. Lift some weights. Dance around the house like no one’s watching. Call a loved one. Whatever it is that makes you feel good, do it, and then do more of it!
6. Cleaning (I know, stick with me)
If you’re like me, cleaning jobs pile up throughout the week and most of your weekends are spent cleaning up and the cycle repeats. It’s not fun for anyone. Who wants to be cleaning at the weekend? Not me.
Try and give yourself a little cleaning job to do each night, that way, it breaks it up into manageable chunks throughout the week and by the weekend, there shouldn’t be much to do unless you are forever hoovering up pet hair, I feel you.
Need a hand?
We might not be able to lend you a hand in cooking a risotto, but we can help take the load off your to-do list.