How to Be Productive After Work
Some people are highly organized and productive at work but very disorganized and unproductive at home. Staying productive after work must be intentional and well planned. It cannot just happen. But why work so hard in your 9-5 and neglect your personal life?
It is easy to get distracted and live a comfortable, happy life without vision. When you don’t set yourself to achieve specific, measurable, and attainable goals, you will find yourself working for others or giving in to the whims of your friends.
This post points out six problem areas that could be why you find it so hard to be productive in your personal life. It offers solutions to improved productivity, such as learning to manage your time well, writing effective to-do lists, managing stress, the power of positive self-talk, mental health, and effective decision-making.
If you are yearning to grow in your personal life, keep reading.
Why is it so hard to be productive in your personal life?
Everyone gets 24 hours, but some people are more productive. You can’t focus on one task and finish it because you are distracted, bored, and overwhelmed, have no plan or goals, or create small goals that do not motivate you enough.
Here are the factors that could prevent you from achieving personal productivity:
Technology is good, but technology is bad. It wastes time. Five minutes turn to five hours as you scroll on social media or watch never-ending YouTube videos for fear of missing out on the daily dose of information.
Unfortunately, those distractions stagnate personal development.
Failure to strategize how to accomplish a task
Not having a clear road map to guide you towards achieving a task stalls productivity. Individuals often feel overwhelmed thinking about how complex a task is, but they haven’t even started on it. It is a common reaction when confronted with a job that you perceive as being difficult or on which you have no prior experience.
Having too many other things on your plate can make you feel you’ll never get to the task. That’s because your mind is on other thoughts, and it is challenging to focus on the task at hand and complete it.
Boring mundane tasks or overly difficult tasks
Mundane, monotonous tasks are tedious. You may find it hard to be productive because you see the tasks as uninteresting, especially after a long day.
On the other hand, when a task is overly challenging, your response might be to procrastinate until a time when you feel capable enough to handle it.
A long day at work can wipe you out, and you may end up with a long list of excuses, one of them being your energy levels are low, and you cannot handle the task.
Because it is the end of the day
Professionals find it hard to stay productive after work because tackling their personal to-do list happens at the end of the day when their energy and focus levels are low.
Also, they may have a long to-do list that is unreasonable and not enough time to get it all done.
There is also the feeling of needing long hours to accomplish a task perfectly. Since this is not possible because of work, you may feel the urge to postpone finishing it until a time when you have “sufficient” time to work on the task, forgetting that you can break down the task into smaller milestones.
Those five minutes or time pockets can go a long way to finally ticking off a task on your to-do list.
Not setting goals
Without any goals to meet, you have no mind visuals of how you want your life to pan out. Personal development and visual boards are critical to a productive life.
When you have no set goals and timelines, you tend to float through life, and while this may seem happy and comfortable, it is detrimental to productivity.
For one, you’ll find yourself subject to other people’s impulses and demands and you’ll lack a higher purpose to motivate you to work.
Time will fly by, and by the time you realize it, you are in your less productive years, the 50s and 60s, wondering why you have accomplished so little in your personal life.
Wrong goals that are not smart (specific, measurable, and time-bound)
What happened to dream big and bold? Most of us set small, vague goals that fail to motivate us to push ourselves. The outcome is low results and less productivity.
Big hairy daring goals with set timelines are more likely to be met than you think, and even if you don’t get there, you’ll at least get closer to achieving them.
Instead of saying you want to increase your income, say you want to get X amount by X days. When your goals are high and more demanding, you tend to be more motivated and more productive.
Tips to stay productive after work
You can be busy but do nothing, feel stressed and overwhelmed, and stall with your activities. Perhaps you are waiting for those full-hour blocks that will never come (not unless you take an off day). Maybe sometimes, you feel lazy. If you are yearning to be productive amidst all these, here are some tips to help you stay productive after work.
Have a to-do list
Being productive gives you a sense of accomplishment. When you cross something off your to-do list, your body releases dopamine, a natural mood enhancer, making you feel better.
Learn how to manage your time well
Effective time management is key to a productive personal life. It will help you not get distracted and avoid wasting time. You need to organize your tasks with the time you have.
Follow the Pareto Principle. Ever heard of the 80-20 rule? You should prioritize the 20% most important tasks that improve your life and not try to do everything. You could delegate 80% less important but must-do tasks.
You must plan out your day and include breaks. Planning and checking if you have your priorities right helps you keep on track. You could also list the things that distract you and intentionally limit or avoid those distractions.
Learn to manage stress
Stress is a leading cause of unproductivity. When you’re stressed, you cannot stop thinking of what is stressing you. Your anxiety engulfs you so much that focusing is difficult because the stressor occupies your thoughts. You must avoid stressful situations or implement stress-reduction strategies.
You can learn to avoid stress by following these simple instructions.
- First, insist on continuous improvement rather than perfection. Don’t stress yourself trying to have everything done perfectly. Instead, ensure that there is growth.
- Second, avoid multitasking too much. While multitasking helps you be productive, having too much going on is likely to overwhelm you and stress you. Delegate where possible.
- Don’t wait to do something that you can finish off in less than five minutes. Address these mini-tasks there and then.
- Most importantly, do something that you love and enjoy every day. It will freshen you, motivate and improve your positive outlook on life.
Decision fatigue and too much reviewing of past decisions drag low productivity. When you cannot stop thinking that “it could have been this way if I did this” or you have too many choices to make, you tend to procrastinate and get stuck in the past.
It would help if you learned the art of decision-making. It is okay to learn from your experiences, but do not dwell on them too much. Use mind maps or problem trees to analyze and come up with solutions.
Weigh the cons, pros, and opportunity costs, and plan A and B for important decisions. You could also try to see things from the point of view of someone else.
If you feel overwhelmed, listen to music, take the stairs to release some endorphins to make you feel better, or sleep on it. But remember not to procrastinate in decision-making.
Learn something new or take classes to improve on what you already know
Create time to learn something new often. Through learning, we improve our personal lives and feel good about ourselves.
Make it a habit to research something in-depth or join a group to learn a skill. There are plenty of free classes or affordable courses.
Pay attention to your mental health
Your mental health is essential to leading a productive life. Keep your support system (friends and family) close, and often spend time with them. Eat healthily and exercise or take walks regularly.
Keep the company of happy people in your inner circle. Happiness is contagious. Also, get enough rest and take regular time offs.
Practice positive self talk
Overcome unproductivity with the power of your mouth. Keep saying, “I can do this,” until you finish the task. You can also learn tips on stopping being lazy after work and making them a habit.
Productivity skills will help you get much done. When you identify why you are less productive, it gets easier. You avoid wasting time by setting the right goals, using time pockets, and avoiding distractions.
You master effective decision-making techniques, stress management, task planning, and positive self-talk. Furthermore, you also plan around learning new things like how to be more productive. Your mental health is also critical.
If you want to improve your productivity, take the Iris Reading Personal Productivity Course, developed by experts from Ivy League schools like Stanford and Harvard. The video-based course guarantees improved productivity if you follow the tips and tricks from the videos and webinars.