It’s late afternoon on Wednesday at the office. As I start wrapping up some last minute emails, I start to think about my after work plans.
“Do some exercise, make chicken lettuce wraps for dinner, laundry, finish up some reading and writing, prepare lunch for tomorrow…”
Twenty minutes later, I arrive home by bike. I enter my living room and make eye contact with my couch. It’s a four-year-old, three seater made with soft, creamy Italian leather. The kind that envelops you in coziness from the moment you sit down.
“Ah I need to relax, I’ve had a long day,” I think to myself.
Little do I know that the second my bottom touches the couch, all my energy gets sucked into the cushions at warp speed. The sit-down eventually becomes a lie-down. I try to use my couch’s armrest as a hard pillow. Then, the beginning of a downward spiral of self-destruction ensues, aka watching re-run episodes of “Gilmore Girls” on Netflix.
By the end of the night, I feel as motivated as an amoeba (a single celled organism for you non-nerds). I have now pasted myself onto the couch like a mushy pea, developed a headache from the Gilmores’ fast-paced ramblings, and I’m 100% sure that the frozen perogies I quickly “cooked” are churning together into a large giant conglomerate of starch, sinking deep and heavy into the pit of my stomach.
At this point, it’s obvious that my evening to-do list has dissipated into the void. I’m lucky that can I muster up enough energy to actually go to the bathroom.
If you’re anything like me and you can relate. Here are 4 of my tips for how not to end up like a lazy blob the minute you enter your home. Trust me, watching Rory make bad life decisions gets annoying after a while.
At least she didn’t wither away on her couch all night!
1. After Work, Rest, But Not On Your Couch
I know, I know. We all love our couch and it knows our bottom all too well. It’s there to comfort us when we’ve had a long and demanding day, exhausted from answering incoherent emails or putting on a fake smile at the office.
However, your couch can backstab you worse than Stacy McRae did in the fifth grade when she told your crush (to his FACE) that you liked him. It will drain out your momentum and suck the life out of you.
So the minute you step into your home after work and actually plan on being a productive human being, for god sakes fight the urge to sit on your couch.
Don’t think about it, don’t go near it, don’t even look at it.
Instead, grab a cup of water and rest for a few minutes while sitting on a chair. A good ol’ sturdy chair that will give you back support. Something you would find at grandma’s house and won’t let you sprawl.
Take this time to relax, breathe, clear your mind and plan your next move.
2. Exercise Right Away
Personally, I like to exercise right after work before I start making dinner. It forces me to get it done right away and eliminates the whole “should I or shouldn’t I?” thinking that can plague me throughout the night.
So after work, as soon as you get home, rest for a few minutes on your sturdy grandma chair and immediately put on your exercise clothes. If you need more motivation to get moving, lay out your clothes the night before and leave them by the doorway. That way you’ll see them right away and hopefully won’t just step over them.
Even if you’ve had a long, mentally exhausting day, train yourself to dedicate just one minute of exercise to help you get started. One minute only!
Also, the whole “but I’m starving when I get home…” problem can be simply fixed by keeping a good stash of snacks that you can munch on around 4 pm to help tie you over. Healthy nut bars, trail mix, oatmeal, or an extra peanut butter sandwich are some good options. Munch away!
(By the way, if you need more fitness tips, check out Stephanie’s article here!)
3. Plan Your Meals
Raise your hand if you’ve come home, melted on your couch for a bit only to sluggishly make it to your kitchen and decide that you have absolutely nothing to eat?
That is your tired brain thinking for you.
A solution to this problem is to think ahead. You can prepare a “meal schedule” on Sundays so that you have time to shop for any missing ingredients.
If that’s too much planning for all you “spontaneous” types, you can opt to just think ahead a few hours. Then, at least you’ve created somewhat of a plan in your mind and can avoid the whole “oh I have nothing so I’m just going to order KFC” debacle.
4. Personal Projects
No, completing all 6 seasons of Downton Abbey doesn’t count.
I’m talking about things like getting your professional designation, taking an online class, working on your blog (ahem), learning a new language, focusing on your hobbies etc.
You know, personal growth stuff we all gotta/wanna do…to grow.
If you happened to be sitting on your couch at this point and want to start working, it might feel like you’ve got to move mountains in order for you to begin
However, the best way is to tell yourself that you only need to start for 10 minutes.
So, use all your strength to break free from your couch. Break free just like broke up with your first boyfriend who used to smoke in front of your mom (who does that?) and head towards your grandma chair. Think to yourself “I’m only going to work for 10 minutes.”
Then once you start, just let the wheels turn themselves.
So while everyone has their own unique home situation (if you have kids then I think all you want to do is sit on the couch right?), try exploring a few routines to see which works best for you to have the productive night you want.
Some important things to consider that will impact your mood and energy after work to get stuff done include: getting a good night’s sleep, frequent movement throughout your work day and your diet. You can also motivate yourself to think that your couch time will be there waiting for you after your tasks are completed.
Just remember, there’s no such thing as “I’ll just sit down and watch tv for 5 minutes…”
In the comments: What are some of your habits for getting stuff done after a long work day? Also, does anyone else love their couch this much or is that just me?