It’s been a busy day at work, but you’ve got an even more hectic one scheduled afterward. The problem is, once you’ve left the office, the motivation to keep accomplishing tasks goes downhill. You’d rather grab a bite to eat, change into something comfortable, and settle in on the couch.
While binging on your favorite series is a good way to unwind, it can lead to unfinished tasks. Household chores, lawn care, hobbies, errands, and your workout routine won’t take care of themselves. Plus, you might need to log some work hours at home for an urgent project your boss called you about.
For these reasons and more, remaining productive outside of the office can be even more critical than when you’re there. Borrowing some of the same tactics you use at work, such as using an online calendar, can help. But there are also a few ideas that you might have overlooked. Staying on task once you leave work doesn’t have to feel like an insurmountable obstacle. Here are three ways to do it.
1. Upgrade to Adaptive Wi-Fi
You might not have given a lot of thought to your Wi-Fi connectivity at home. There were a couple of providers to choose from, and the one with the best price or reputation won. A tech came out to install a modem or router and turn on the service. After that, you learned to live with some of the issues that seem to be par for the course.
But what if you didn’t have to deal with spotty signal strength in the basement rec room? Or worry which device is going to disconnect or experience buffering between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.? Many people try a signal booster or extender to try to prevent these problems. Others purchase additional pods from their ISP, hoping they’ll finally get a dependable connection in their home office.
Although these solutions can help alleviate Wi-Fi connection problems, they don’t boost performance in all scenarios. Dependable in-building coverage is more difficult to achieve in larger homes and those made with materials like brick and concrete. Households that connect a lot of smart devices, gaming consoles, and computers are also more likely to experience bandwidth problems.
Adaptive Wi-Fi solutions solve both signal strength and bandwidth capacity issues because they learn how a household connects. Using AI, these solutions route capacity to the rooms that need it. Bandwidth is also allocated according to when more devices connect. Quality metrics that are part of adaptive Wi-Fi determine which devices require more speed and capacity. As a result, a gaming console’s connection won’t end up interrupting the project you’re finishing on your laptop.
2. Prioritize Tasks
Thinking about everything that needs to get done at home can overwhelm anyone. But looking at the big picture without prioritizing which tasks are most important might lead to procrastination. Research shows that nearly everyone delays tasks occasionally, but 20% of the population are chronic procrastinators. People tend to put off things they associate with stress, boredom, or negative emotions.
Mowing the lawn on a hot summer day can bring up negative feelings, but letting it go might be worse. It could result in a citation from the city or a fine from your homeowners association. Your grass might become so overgrown that it takes you longer to mow or overheats your mower. And this causes you to miss an important doctor’s appointment you scheduled weeks in advance. Procrastination can lead to so many domino effects like this one.
Making and keeping a running list of what you need to get done can help you prioritize chores and responsibilities. Some people prefer to make a mental note of things they notice around the house. However, these can be easy to forget. Add such items to your to-do list and evaluate each of them every week. Things that are both urgent and important should go to the top, with non-urgent but crucial items next in line.
Tasks that are important but not urgent can be shared with or delegated to others. Perhaps the carpets need to be cleaned this month but can wait a week or two. Your partner can get the ball rolling by reserving a steam cleaner or hiring a local service provider. Jobs that are not urgent or important go to the bottom of the list. Move them up once everything else is accomplished.
3. Make a Schedule
Planning your time outside of the office might sound counterintuitive. Isn’t this supposed to be free time that’s spontaneous and doesn’t involve any work? To some extent perhaps, but scheduling what you do in your personal life will help ensure you focus on what’s most important. Without a schedule or planning, it’s difficult to keep an exercise routine going or make sure home maintenance gets done.
A schedule should align with your list of priorities and help limit distractions once you’re home. You don’t necessarily have to designate strict time windows for each activity; knowing which day you’ll accomplish them can be enough. For example, pencil in Sunday through Thursday for working out. Designate Friday evening for a get-together with friends and Saturday for cleaning out the garage.
You can also try applying the Pareto Principle to your personal life and priorities. This strategy is also known as the 80/20 rule. The idea is that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. Under the Pareto Principle, you determine which 20% of what you have to complete is most important. Then you streamline 80% of your schedule to focus on the highest-priority tasks.
Achieving efficiency outside of the office might not be everyone’s cup of tea. But for many individuals, it’s a necessity. Singles with competing priorities and families full of responsibilities can’t always randomly tackle items on a mental to-do list. Organizing and making the most of their personal time boosts productivity and lowers stress levels.
Yet organization and productivity don’t happen on their own. Evaluating and upgrading some of the tools you rely on at home, prioritizing, and planning are ways to stay focused. By using these tips, hopefully you’ll notice more progress and fewer delays.