For a lot of American children, American sitcoms set the standards for what a normal life would look like. Take the Brady Bunch, for example. Now, the “Brady Bunch” parents were always busy, but they always had time for fun. After all, who would want to watch a TV show about a family that never has fun? Even while they were busy raising six kids and working, the Bradys still had time to go on vacation, talk about Marcia’s braces, put on plays, go on dates, take vacations, and have guests over. This is the stuff of the American Dream, in which every child would grow up and have a life with a healthy balance of work and fun.
Alas, for many of us, this is not the reality. We find our lives have become an endless series of going to work, coming home, eating on the couch in front of the TV and going to bed. Are you stuck in a rut? Looking forward to a day of fun that never seems to come? Well, there is an alternative. By making just a few changes to your after work routine, you can greatly improve your quality of life.
1. Compartmentalize Work
If your job is demanding, you may have to bring it home with you, but that doesn’t necessarily put the kibosh on everything else. Try to divide work into shifts, taking some breaks for family time. It might also help your productivity, sending you back to work with a new perspective.
2. Be Flexible
Schedules are important but they don’t have to be overly rigid. Time management expert Laura Vanderkam says, “People will say things like, ‘I can’t exercise in the evening because I have a family,’ but you could probably manage it one night a week.” Doing one activity does not necessarily cancel out any other. You can vary your after work activities each day.
3.Turn Off The TV
TV is great, but it really takes up a lot of time. I know you think you really need to see who gets booted off “Dancing with the Stars” every week so you can talk about it around the water cooler tomorrow, but you may find that you will find the trade-off is worth it when you realize how much more you can get done. You can always find out on the internet the next day.
If you’re already super busy, why would you throw exercise into the mix? Because it is necessary for your health. Plan it in advance, consider scheduling it for after work. That way you will be less distracted at home.
5. Plan Fun Activities
Vanderkam says,” It sounds counterintuitive for a time-strapped family, but try having a goal of at least one enjoyable group activity so it’s not just a death march to dinner.” Try to keep in mind that sometimes the quality of time is more important than quantity. It could be a quick trip to the ice cream parlor or a night out. Start thinking of things you can do later on your commute from work,
6.Take Advantage Of The Internet
Online shopping is a definite advantage for the time-strapped. You also can sign up for regular deliveries and get online banking done.
7. Get Plenty Of Sleep
Vanderkam says, “Most people who say they get by on only 4 hours alight are probably lying. Successful people know they think better and make smarter decisions after getting enough sleep.”
We’re sure Mrs. Brady always got her 7-9 hours in. Make sure you do too.