Top tips to make the most of your evenings

How to improve your work/life balance

For many of us, our evenings consist of getting home from work and quite literally just recovering from the day we’ve had. We may also have to deal with sorting out dinner, by which time we may feel there is very little time left to do anything.

It’s often tempting to sit down in front of the TV, crack open a beer or a bottle of wine — often a hugely enjoyable experience and your reward for the day you have endured — but if you repeat this frequently there is a danger it will become a habit and rather less of a treat to yourself.

After a number of evenings like this, you may be left thinking that you could do so much more with the time that lies between coming home from work and going to bed. Admittedly not everyone has time on their hands, but don’t you think you owe it to yourself to make the most of your evenings?

Here are some of our top tips on how to go about maximizing your evenings:

Think about your sleep

One sure-fire way of maximizing your evening would be to sleep less. By thinking about how many hours of sleep you actually get, you may find you are actually having too much. Most people need perhaps no more than eight hours, so if you cut down on the amount of sleep you are having, you can instantly free up more time for doing things in the evening. Too little sleep, though, may mean you are constantly tired and not really up for doing anything once you get home.

Consider your requirements

The job or role you perform in the daytime will inevitably have an effect on what you feel like doing in the evening. If your job leaves you physically knackered then it’s unlikely you’re going to want to head to the gym, whereas if you have had a particularly mind-numbing day then you may want to go and let off some steam with some physical exertion. However, if all you really feel like doing is just relaxing, then listen to your body — it is usually the best at telling you what is best for you. Don’t drag yourself out if you really don’t feel like it.

Control your chores

Don’t let the daily chores rule you and take over your evening. It is best to try and plan to do a little each evening, leaving you time to do other things, rather than setting yourself a huge task which will probably feel like a severe chore by the time you have completed it. Try to take some of the sting out of chores by delegating to others. You could get the partner or the kids to help out, even if it just involves something as simple as getting the dog out from under your feet so you can have a clear run at tackling a particular job.


Make chores enjoyable

You can take the boredom out of routine chores by adding some enjoyment. Doing the vacuuming or DIY with some music blaring out will guarantee the job gets done much quicker. The ironing will seem less like tackling a mountain if you bring the ironing board into the living room and watch the TV while you do it. Even doing the cooking can be more fun if you actively engage others in the process, and then get them to do the washing up! If you are the one who cooked, then don’t be the one who cleans up afterwards.

Get active

If you really want to set yourself a goal of getting more physically active, then think about when the best time is, according you how you feel. Often, if you come home, then by the time you have sat down all thoughts of exercising quickly go out the window. Taking your kit with you and going straight from work will help keep you motivated. Alternatively, you may feel the need to get home and unwind first or the time of a particular activity may dictate when you can participate. In those circumstances, don’t go home and stuff your face — eat something light instead, so that you still feel up to exercising, even if it just involves going on a short walk or participating in a yoga class.

Activate your mind

Some of us are just not made for or feel like a large amount of physical exertion, and like to try other more leisurely or intellectual pursuits. Think about signing up for an evening class — whether it involves learning a musical instrument, learning a new language or even taking a local history class.
There is something of interest for everyone out there, and many of the classes are subsidized and are easily affordable. They are also a chance to meet like-minded people. At the very least, you could activate your imagination by reading a book, rather than just watching another predictable soap opera or reality TV show.

Discover a passion

There must be at least one activity you have heard of or participated in and have always thought ‘I wouldn’t mind doing that’. The only thing that is stopping you taking this activity up regularly is yourself. You may have enjoyed doing a particular activity when you were younger, and fancy getting back to it — so do it. Alternatively, it may be something you have never done before, and you just keep on putting off having a go for no apparent reason, usually using the excuse that you haven’t got the time. Ask yourself what you are interested in and follow it up.

A final word …

Remember, you are the person who should be in control of your evenings, not somebody or something else. While everyone has responsibilities, they should not all rule your life and prevent you making something of your evening. The fun part of your day should start and not end the minute you walk through the door. Either make sure you walk back out of it, or sort yourself out with something a little more stimulating than chores, bad TV and cheap wine.

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