Have you ever woken up wondering, “What did I do last night?” No, I’m not talking about a night out with friends, but an ordinary Wednesday night at home. Of course, while we believe life is meant to be appreciated instead of a long continuation of the working day, we are all for finding more productive things to do to help ourselves learngrow and enjoy the beauty of every moment.
Again, and I can’t stress this enough: there’s nothing wrong with going through four episodes of stranger things (Where the island of lovechoose your own adventure) and catch up on everything the TikToks you missed during the day. We’ve all had nights like these. And sometimes they are more than necessary!
But if you arrive at work wondering where your free time is spent and you feel like your week is all about checking off tasks, it might be time to change the way you spend your free time. You have all the tools to be productive at workso why not at home?
In the spirit of doing just that, we’ve rounded up ideas for easy, fun, and productive things to do that will help you come back to work the next day feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.
Image selected by Kristen Kilpatrick.
Reframe your mindset
You’re too busy to hit the gym, take a Spanish class, or visit grandma, aren’t you? Bad. At least according to Laura Vanderkam, author of 168 hours: you have more time than you think. Vanderkam calls us saying we’re “too busy” to take a class, read a book, or pursue your passion.
In fact, she believes we have plenty of time for everything that matters to us. “Think of it like this: If you work 40 hours a week and manage to get the recommended 8 hours of sleep per night, that leaves you with 72 hours when you’re not working.” That’s a ton of hours that you can use however you see fit.
Reframe your mindset from being too busy to a curious mindset. If you want to start a new hobby or a new project, remember that the hardest part is always to start.
If that still seems impossible, consider reprioritizing what’s really important to you. According to Vanderkam, instead of saying you don’t have time and using that as an excuse not to, she suggests swapping the phrase, “It’s not a priority.” Not only will you feel less guilty saying no, but it will remind you of your priorities. When you think in terms of priorities, you hold your time – and yourself – accountable. It may mean fewer happy hours, but you could become a salsa dancing expert.
Find a workout that (finally!) makes you feel good
Tell me if this sounds familiar: Out of nowhere, you develop a strong, insatiable desire to “get back in shape” and you immediately jump on social media for advice. While platforms have no shortage of fitpo, it’s easy to get caught up in a routine or activity that works for someone else. Instead, take some time to think about what you want to get out of your training journey (keeping a journal can help!).
It could be building strengthhaving more energy, or improve your flexibility. Your goals could also be social – finding a sport with a strong community or something you can do with your partner or friends. Remember: there are many ways to stay active, you can choose what works best for you.
write your heart
Speaking of logging…it’s one of our favorite ways to dream big and live a life guided by intention. Putting pen to paper is a powerful practice for manifesting your dreams and clarifying your direction. Although I like to use my diary to Define aims and map out the steps to get there, it can also be a creative space where you can just doodle and dream. After all, it’s one of the best ways to keep your creative juices flow.
You do not know where to start ? Find inspiration with our favorite logging prompts– with thoughts on gratitude, developing your core values, and more.
Engage in intentional communication
Sure, the occasional text is fun, and sending memes back and forth via DM often satisfies our need for a laugh after work. But nothing weaves meaning and connection into our days like a good phone call (or FaceTime, if that’s your thing!). Like I would for a workout class or happy hour, I like to organize and schedule calls for the week in advance. I recommend no more than two calls per week (one per evening), which gives you plenty of room to relax.
If you don’t know where to start, these are the conversation starters we turn to moments of deepness and bonding.
Organize a more adventurous life
To be clear, this doesn’t mean you have to hop on a plane several times a month or book a luxurious retreat in (insert warm weather, beach or mountain here). Like many things we want to cultivate more of in our lives, this one involves a shift in mindset. Ask yourself: how can I bring more spontaneity into my daily routines? Brainstorm a list of small habit changes that could put you on the path to new people and new experiences. Maybe it’s a new way of working, visiting another cafe, or changing places to eat. Whichever way you get there, accept the change.
Make reading a priority
We all said we wished we had more time to read. It’s been at the top of all our resolution lists every January for the past six years. But if you count how much time you spend each week watching Netflix or browsing social media, I bet you could find time to dent your Reading list.
Farnum Street’s Shane Parrish shares some good news: Reading more isn’t as hard as you think. “When I tell people that I have a life and that I don’t speed up the reading, the question becomes: what is your secret? How do you find more time to read than the average person? Well, first, there is no secret. As simple as it sounds, finding time to read comes down to choices about how you allocate your time.
seize the moment
You can read one book a week. You can take a course. You can travel more. You can learn a new skill every day. The key is this: you just have to want to do these things.
Maybe you have a job you absolutely love (yay!) that doesn’t feel like you only live for the weekends, but maybe you should live the weekends and weeknights. , in another sense. Every hour you’re not at work or doing chores is an opportunity to pursue the things you’re passionate about. And it’s a safe bet that by the time you get to the office, you’ll be feeling pretty satisfied with how you spent last night.
This post was originally posted on July 16, 2019 and has since been updated.