There is a cliché in time management that goes something like this: During the week, we spend 8 hours working, 8 hours sleeping, and what happens to the other 8 hours is one of life’s great mysteries. If you feel like your evenings are slipping away, try these tips:
1. Make dinner easy
Dinner can take up an enormous amount of your evening time, and more importantly, energy. The eating is the enjoyable part. The cooking and the cleaning up is the energy drain. Cooking and preparing your dinners over the weekend can easily add an hour of time into your weekday evenings.
2. Analyze your “morning person” status
Are you a morning person or a night owl? Night owls have an easier time with evening productivity. If you’re a morning person, can you move any of your evening to-dos to the morning when you have more energy? Remember, everything you do is either a Meat (difficult), Vegetable (easy) or Dessert (fun.) Whenever possible, try to fit your Meats into the part of the day where you personally find it easier to focus. A morning person will have an easier time getting up 20 minutes earlier to finish something, than struggling to find the energy in the evening.
3. Add some structure
If it feels like you’re trying to be productive in the evening, but you have nothing to show for it, you may be frittering away your time trying to split your attention between multiple things. We’re distracted in the evening, “I want to relax! But I should pay some bills. But I’m going to do that while I watch TV. But I should really want some family time.” Stop multitasking. If you want to relax, then focus on relaxing! If you want to work, focus on working, and THEN relax.
4. Delay to the weekend
As you’re analyzing your evenings, do you really NEED to do the things you’re trying to do? Or are you better off delaying them to the weekend when you feel more re-charged. Doing something when you’re tired in the evening will take longer than when you’re energized on the weekend.
5. Ride the productivity wave for 30 more minutes
If a task simply can’t wait until the weekend, try doing it right when you get home from work. We tell ourselves that we just want to relax for a moment and then get back to work, but that’s difficult. Once we’ve removed ourselves from “work mode” it’s hard to get back. Instead, finish up a few quick tasks when you get home and THEN enjoy the relaxing feeling of being done for the day.
Remember, The Time Diet is all about balance and that means you can’t work all the time. Helping balance out your evenings is a great start to a healthy Time Diet!
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