How Changing Up Your Afternoon Routine Can Make a Big Difference

Work weeks during the winter are rough, right? We've officially entered the worst part of the year (at least in my opinion). Daylight is limited. There are no more holidays to look forward to (nope, Valentine's Day does not count). And you're stuck with the realization that if you want to see anything green or the sun then you're going to have to book a plane ticket. Unless you live in one of those places and then you're going to need to invite me over. 

This January hit me harder than before. Between migraines, a busy work schedule, and not being a big winter fan, it's been a bit rough. But despite wanting to curl up in a tight ball and unfurl when its finally spring, I can't sit around and do nothing. Miserable is not a look I'm going for this season. 

Knowing that all great journeys start with a single step, I decided to choose one part of my day that I could change. That led me to changing up my afternoon routine and making a big impact on my happiness and health. 

Why my afternoon routine?

Afternoons are what I consider "my time". Post-work day, pre-cook dinner and get things done, the afternoon has the potential to be peak productivity time. 

But I found that a lack of structure was keeping me from actually being productive. While relaxing on the couch and doing nothing is fun, it's not an everyday routine, especially when you've got other responsibilities and don't want to be stuck inside all weekend catching up!

So I focused in on afternoons and making small tweaks to make a big difference in my happiness, productivity, and overall health. 

Little changes that led to a big difference

How Changing Up Your Afternoon Routine Can Make a Big Difference
How Changing Up Your Afternoon Routine Can Make a Big Difference

Spend 15-20 minutes doing anything you want, right away

I used to come home and try to transition from work to, well, more work. Like writing out a whole blog post. Or putting together all my materials for tomorrow's lesson. 

BIG fail. Getting back to work, even if I'm not actually at work, makes me exhausted. Then I start scrolling through Facebook and before you know it, I'm not doing anything at all and it's almost time for bed. 

Instead prioritize some much needed down time. Choosing an activity that helps you relax is the reward you need after a long work day. My personal favorite is catching up on Instagram stories that I missed all day. A time limit is necessary too so you don't get carried away.

Choose one must-do task and no more

Guys, I love my planner. My in-laws bought me my much-requested Happy Planner this year and I'm OBSESSED. Along with my flair pens and ban.do stickers, I love scheduling things and making lists. And because it just looks so pretty, I fill it up with things to do. 

Even though I love having a ton on my to-do list (if only for the pretty colors), all those tasks are overwhelming and rarely get finished. Sometimes a few tasks get halfway done and that doesn't help me at all. 

Instead focus on one task that has to get done. When I put my energy and time into getting one thing done instead of pushing through five, I'm much more focused. 

How Changing Up Your Afternoon Routine Can Make a Big Difference
How Changing Up Your Afternoon Routine Can Make a Big Difference

Have an at-home "uniform"

My favorite thing about coming home is getting into my home "uniform." The best way to transition from my day job to my nighttime productivity is to put on something that's comfortable and feels like me. 

Someone once asked if it was worth it to invest in comfortable lounge wear, especially if you spend most of your week in business casual attire. I know what it's like to be a lady on a budget but invest in some non-ratty clothes to spend time at home. I look forward to changing into them and getting down to business...at home. 

Meditate...in your own way

I'm going to be real honest. Meditating is not my strong suit. It's something I'm kinda working on for 2018. Right now I'm going to meditate in my own way. For me that means sitting quietly and doodling or writing. Not writing a blog post or drawing something for school. Just writing about my day or sketching. It quiets my mind and I feel myself instantly relaxing.

Cultivate a relaxing habit that lets you "meditate" to get rid of the day. Or you could just actually meditate.