Want to improve your productivity and efficiency at work? Use your time off better — and not by working through the weekend.
The hours you spend away from work have a significant impact on the rest of your life. There are ways to use your breaks that can actually help you to maximize your working hours.
So, if you are feeling behind at work, stop using your evenings and weekends to try to get ahead. Instead, consider putting work aside and trying another strategy. Here are a few ways to use your time off that could actually end up saving you time during your workday.
1. Don’t work, but leave space to solve problems
Taking time away from work is good for you. It helps you to replenish your energy and your enthusiasm for your job. It’s important to lay off the work during your time away. However, one of the benefits of this is very much related to work. Namely, you might find that you have some new and creative ideas when you step away from the day-to-day challenges.
One of the many benefits of downtime is that it helps you to engage your creativity. You might notice that ideas related to solutions of long-standing problems simply occur to you while you’re taking time for yourself and thinking about other things. Jot down these ideas or send yourself an email when they pop into your mind. You can consider moving on them when you get back to work.
It’s so easy to start to compromise the time you’re devoting to sleep when you’re feeling overburdened at work. However, staying up late to try to get ahead — and showing up to work less rested than you would be otherwise — isn’t a very effective strategy.
Sleeping at least seven hours a night helps you to be more productive during the rest of the day. It also supports good decision-making, patience and creativity. So, consider prioritizing your Zzz’s if you really want to get more done.
Even regular meditators sometimes skip a meditation because they’re feeling “too busy to find the time.” However, these are exactly the days when you should prioritize meditation the most.
A busy and racing mind hinders innovation and problem solving. Meditation helps you to calm yourself and focus. Science has proven that meditation improves cognitive functioning. So, if you want to work smarter, rather than longer or harder, try setting aside a little time to meditate during your off-hours.
4. Hang with friends
It can be hard to find time for friends when life gets busy. There just isn’t a lot of time or energy left after meeting the demands of home, family and work. But, investing in your friendships comes with some pretty big payoffs.
Friends help to improve your sense of value and purpose, as well as increasing your happiness and reducing stress. Any of these factors alone could help you to be more effective at work.
Not having enough time is one of the most common reasons folks give for skipping their daily workout. However, prioritizing exercise can actually save you time in the end. You’ll sleep better, eat better, and just generally feel happier and healthier if you squeeze in a little exercise. Even just a 30-minute walk around your neighborhood can do the trick.
6. Clean and organize
You’ll save yourself a lot of time during the workday if you spend some of your off-hours investing in organizing things at home. There’s a little more to it than just getting laundry done and some food prepped in advance (although that’s a great place to start).
Also, look ahead at your week and do some strategic planning in advance. What can you do this over the weekend that will make the week run smoother? There’s nothing better than hitting the ground running on Monday morning feeling well organized and on top of your game.
7. Enjoy your hobbies
It can be awfully tough to find the time to indulge your outside interests when you’re busy at work. But, investing in your hobbies, even just a little, could actually help you professionally.
First of all, these days hobbies turn into side hustles all the time. Even if you don’t end up making money as a result of your investment, your hobby could help you hone skills that could come in handy at work, like patience or creativity.
No matter what, taking time to do what you love will make you happier. And, that’s always good for business.
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How do you use your time off to help you maximize your working hours? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.