Productivity at work and in life can depend on several factors that are outside of our control, but there are aspects of our productive nature that we can, in fact, influence. Numerous studies have shown a general correlation between home and free time relaxation and increased effectiveness at work.
Small business owners and entrepreneurs, in particular, have a difficult time finding relaxation space due to the strange nature of their working hours — owning a business can feel like a 24/7 endeavor, but it is imperative to take time for oneself outside of traditional work hours. Here are a few strategies that can help you maximize your relaxation hours and better prepare yourself for your next work day.
Find a Hobby You Enjoy and Stick With It
Maintaining extracurricular hobbies is an excellent way to create a barrier between your work life and your free time. Even if you enjoy running your small business or company, extraneous passions are a key part of relaxation. These hobbies can be personal endeavors like painting, sculpture or video games, or they can involve other participants and players — think intramural sports leagues like adult basketball and kickball, or dance and yoga classes. Finding interests outside of work is essential to our idea of ourselves as fully formed social beings.
Create Third Spaces for Yourself
Third spaces are places in our lives that are not part of our work life, and technically not part of our home life. Typical third places include theatres, restaurants, or gymnasiums. The dichotomy of home and work life can actually negatively affect how much and how often we are able to relax — both home and work spaces are places of responsibility and task performance, and attempting to relax in these spaces may create task anxiety.
Creating third places goes hand in hand with maintaining hobbies — if you enjoy working out, join a gym and cultivate relationships with the regulars and employees there. These relationships that are external to home or work will allow you to relax because your brain does not associate them with either place.
Although meditation causes scoffing in some circles due to its association with bald monks or overly enthusiastic yoga instructors, daily meditation is actually an excellent chance to let go of the day’s trials and travails in order to focus more fully on oneself. Even 10-15 minutes of meditation after work is likely to relieve stress and ease the transition into the evening at home. It can also serve as a way to reflect dispassionately on the work day and focus your thoughts on the evening ahead — how you want to feel, what you want to do, and where you want to do it.
Read Before Bed Rather Than Watching TV
This one is slightly controversial, but many reliable studies by sleep institutes and independent researchers have found that reading before bed is a better option than watching TV. This is because TV stimulation is active stimulation — there are lights, sounds and movements that are changing every second. The brain actually has to work extremely hard to keep up with the stimulation, meaning that it has a harder time de-stimulating after the TV has been switched off.
Even turning the TV off half an hour earlier and spending that time reading can have a tremendous impact on the relaxation level of your night’s sleep. Reading a book can provide mental stimulation without sending the brain into sensory overload territory. Even if TV helps you relax earlier in the night, let a book share the entertainment load later in the evening.
Make Sure Your Financial Situation is Secure
It is very difficult to properly relax at night if you know that your company’s finances are tenuous at best. Advance Funds Network provides business clients with loans up to $3 million that are approved incredibly quickly, sometimes even within one business day. With over 350 satisfied clients funded monthly, and a past client roster that includes Subway, Citgo and Papa John’s, Advance Funds Network is a trusted player in the short-term loan industry. Relax more easily knowing that your company’s bottom line and financial future are under control.