While rewarding, running a business is extremely challenging, not to mention stressful. Any business owner can agree that their brain is continuously going at a hundred miles an hour – even when they’re technically not working. Budgeting, personnel problems, and operational hiccups are just a few of the things that keep them up late at night with anxiety.
A post-work routine can give you the time you need to reset and unwind. While some days your workday might not end until your head hits the pillow, you should strive to dedicate at least some time in the evenings to non-work-related tasks. This will help prevent burnout and will likely only help your productivity improve.
Just as your daily schedule can be sporadic, your evenings will likely look different as well. This article will detail an ideal post-work schedule for you to hopefully incorporate into at least some of your evenings. Feel free to follow it to a T or apply some parts of it to your routine. Read on for a tentative post-work schedule for the less-stressed entrepreneur.
5:00 – 5:45 PM
The workday is coming to an end, and while you probably still have several things left on your to-do list, remember there’s always tomorrow. Once the clock approaches 5:00 PM, start putting a bow on that day’s work: send out any urgent emails, track expenses, and complete anything else that can’t wait until the next morning.
To make it easier to leave work, set a hard deadline in your schedule, and then do whatever it takes to stick to it. Once your workday is over, close out your email, turn off Slack, and make sure employees know only to bother you if it’s something urgent.
Enough about work – time to relax and clear your head.
5:45 – 6:45 PM
Now that your workday is finished, you should plan for dinner before you do anything else. For time’s sake, choose a meal this isn’t complicated and is quick to make. If you lack proper ingredients, there’s no need to schedule a trip to the store. You can use an online service to order same-day food delivery and have ingredients, drinks, and other essentials delivered to you in minutes. This can be a great time saver and is especially useful if you hate shopping.
Now that you have a plan for dinner, it’s time to refresh your mind. After a long day inside, there is nothing quite as stimulating and refreshing as nature itself. Take some time after you finish work to go for a walk, a run, a bike ride, or any kind of activity that gets you moving outside. Fresh air and exercise provide your body and mind with a chance to reset and unwind. Exercise is also known to have great benefits for your physical and mental health, so it should be something you prioritize each week.
Use this period to focus on things non-work-related and do whatever it takes to keep your mind off of your job. Listen to music, a podcast, or if you prefer, don’t listen to anything. If you like to use this time as a chance to socialize, have a workout buddy, or talk to someone on the phone. Make this hour as enjoyable and as peaceful as possible for you.
6:45 – 8:00 PM
At this point, you’re probably ready for the dinner you planned earlier. Dinnertime is a perfect chance to catch up with friends and family. If you have a partner, children, or roommates, a conversation around the dinner table is ideal for connecting with others. If, however, you are eating alone, you can use that time to catch up with someone over the phone or Zoom. Reconnecting with people, especially in a time as isolating as COVID, can be beneficial for your health and mental wellbeing.
If you would rather not eat with anyone, you can also use this time to catch up on your favorite show or read for pleasure. There are many ways you can incorporate downtime into your dinner, allowing you to decompress and enjoy your meal.
8:00 – 10:00 PM
This two-hour block is the bread and butter of downtime. Work is done, you made time for exercise, your stomach is full, and now you have no more responsibilities left in the day. The possibilities are endless for you during these 120 minutes.
You can use this time to work on a hobby. Do you like to draw? Play music? Work on puzzles? It is important to work on something that you can be proud of, but isn’t associated with your job. If you don’t currently have any hobbies that immediately come to mind, think about things you used to do that you enjoyed. Try picking up an older hobby and see if you still enjoy it. You’ll be surprised by how quickly it comes back to you.
Another option is to simply sit back and enjoy a movie, a TV show, or a book. You know yourself best and can decide what activity will help you relax the most.
10:00 – 11:00 PM
It’s time to start winding down for bed. Remember, it’s important that you don’t watch TV or look at your phone for at least 30 minutes before going to bed. It has been found that the blue light emitted from screens can be harmful to your health, and can throw off your sleep cycles. With this in mind, do your best to limit any exposure to screens before bed, especially in a dark room.
Fortunately, there are other things you can do to help you fall asleep. For example, try going to bed at the same time each night, which helps regulate your circadian rhythm. Instead of watching TV right before bed, choose to read a book, meditate, or practice yoga. This will help alleviate stress, aiding you to fall asleep faster. Lastly, avoid caffeine as much as you can around 6 hours before bed.
Now, time for bed. You have another busy day tomorrow!