- Your challenge: Handwrite a thank you note to someone and get it in the mail today. In our increasingly digital world, there’s nothing like receiving real mail from a friend or family member to brighten your day. You’ll feel good for having done it, too.
You’ve had a long day at work and all you want to do is go home, sit on the couch, drink wine and eat bon-bons. OK, maybe that’s just me. It’s really hard to stay motivated to do things for yourself once you get home from work. But don’t fret. We have some ideas to help you. Our friends at The Muse have some ideas, including doing the dirty work – your least favorite chores – first,
What I’ve learned, though, is that by doing my least favorite chore at the beginning of each week, it feels entirely more manageable, not to mention frees me of the burden throughout the rest of my week. The feeling of work burnout tends to increase as the week moves forward, so by frontloading your work week evenings with your least favorite tasks, you can reserve the more enjoyable work night activities for the end of the week. Monday is for laundry, Tuesday is for vacuuming and bills, Wednesday is for dry cleaning, Thursday is for a DVR marathon. And so on.
Finally, let’s be realistic about the limited amount of time you have: According to the 2009 Census, the average American’s commute is 25 minutes and the Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2012 found that the average work day was about 7.5 hours. Let’s also assume you are getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep each night and take about 30 minutes to get ready for work. By this math, you will spend roughly 18.5 hours of each weekday on all that is needed to do your job. This leaves you with 5.5 hours to cram in whatever you like after work.
So, think about it: In those 5.5 hours, maintaining an immaculate home, staying on top of all chores, keeping up with a killer workout regimen, regularly meeting girlfriends for cocktails, and getting time to recharge each day sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? That’s because it is. Now, I will advise you to take one lingering last look at that image, accept its impossibility, and get over it. At the end of the day, I’ve found that the true key to after work efficiency is realistic expectations. Do what you can and leave it at that.
Most people talk about motivation on the grand scale, but sometimes you need to get something done now and you just aren’t feeling it. Leaving Work Behind has 18 ways to motivate yourself in the moment. Here are a few of my favorites,
Work For Thirty: If you really don’t feel like working, agree with yourself to work for just thirty minutes. This is such a relatively small period of time that you should have little trouble in making a start. If thirty minutes passes and you’re ready to quit, take a break. If however you’re content to carry on, do so until you run out of steam.
Reward Yourself: When it comes to leaving work behind, you’re not in it to punish yourself. While the work will not always be easy, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t reward yourself accordingly (quite the opposite). When it comes to attacking a task, decide how you will reward yourself when you’re finished. It could be as simple as a brisk walk through the park or a chocolate bar (on occasion!), but assigning a reward to a completed task gives it both a finality and clear event to work towards.
Get Outside: You should never underestimate the power of sunlight and fresh air when it comes to recharging your batteries. If you’re at a productive dead end and feel like doing nothing other than collapsing into a heap, get outside and go for a walk. I don’t care if you’re only outside for a few minutes; it’s bound to have a positive effect. You’ll clear your mind, get the blood pumping through your veins and provide yourself with a burst of energy that might be all you need to get back to work.
Write A Done List: Few things are more satisfying than crossing off items on a to-do list. I’ve already mentioned above that you do not want to be faced with an enormous list of items, but we still want to get plenty done. So this is for those who feel like a big to-do list motivates them. Instead of your normal to-do list, write up a “done” list. It’s simple: before starting each new task, write it down on a piece of paper. When you’re finished, cross it off your list and write down the next task. In my experience, this has an awesome psychological effect. You’re motivated to cross the latest item on your to-do list off, but you’re not overwhelmed by ancillary items on the list. Furthermore, you feel encouraged to complete as many items as possible so that by the end of the day, you have a wealth of crossed-off items.
Do you have any motivational tips? Tell us in the comments section below.