There is much written on workplace productivity. But once the workday is done your time is your own to spend as you like. Of course family obligations and the needs of life can intrude on your down time, but a little intention can still go a long way in getting you where you want to go.
Unfortunately many people don't think about how they spend their time after work. Later they just wonder why others have achieved success and left them in the wake. Here are 10 activities that severely disrupt the path to success. If you are guilty of a few it might be time to make some changes.
1. Obsessing on Dating Sites
Of course if you are single and looking, you want to set up dates on Tinder, OkCupid or Grindr for the weekend. But too much time spent swiping right or left, catching up on messaging, texting and sexting takes up more time than you realize. Next thing you know, it’s two in the morning and you’re still awake, and useless the next day. Set aside a half hour or an hour at most to check your messages and make plans, and then actually meet your dream dates in person instead of staring at your screen.
2. Binge Watching.
An hour or two of TV can be a great relaxing way to rest the brain after a stressful or thoughtful day. I myself find TV to be like comfy foam that fills my brain when I have been overthinking things. But somewhere I lost a few days last year binge watching The Wire. I was certainly entertained, but it felt like empty calories and I took weeks to get back into my productive rhythm. With so much content available now, prioritize your watching and weigh the gain against beneficial activities.
3. Extending Happy Hour.
Drinking a glass of wine or a cocktail after work to unwind helps release the stress for many. Powering down for 5 straight hours every night will take its toll on your liver, your brain and your beer belly. Moderate, and integrate bar times into your life in a way that keeps you alert, healthy and productive. The days and ways of Don Draper are long over.
4. Consuming Social Media.
Some people get home and start right in switching back and forth between tabs, checking Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, and then back again. Soon they look up at the clock and realize it's been 4 hours and they haven’t even considered dinner. There’s nothing wrong with keeping up with your friends, but there is physical life and interaction around you. Engage with it.
5. Late Night Partying.
A party once in a while is a great way to blow off steam and enjoy the company of friends. But raving 5 nights a week will exhaust you and keep your senses dull during the day. You need good rest to do your best.
6. Hanging with the Wrong Friends.
Speaker and author Jim Rohn said: “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” Take a good look at the 5 and improve the average, or quit complaining about your status.
Many people believe the path to success is paved with hard work. I have found over time that those who work smart take bigger steps and easily step over hazards. Put more time into solving systemic problems and less into fire fighting. Soon you’ll find that your time is your own.
8. Playing Video Games.
The average American plays more than 6 hours of video games per week. Once you eliminate most people over 50 from the stat, that makes for gamers putting in a lot of hours on Call of Duty and Candy Crush. Sure your time with Grand Theft Auto is satisfying but why not use that brain and time to plan a future that goes beyond sitting on the sofa?
9. Overindulging in Substances.
I did my undergrad at Humboldt State University where cannabis agriculture was considered a popular and unofficial, intramural sport. I’m not a partaker but I carry no judgment on those who find marijuana a soothing release. Still, the loosening of pot laws means there is one more easy, attractive distraction to your success. Occasional recreational use of any legal substance should be no more than just that… occasional and recreational. Habitual abuse of any substance is the surest path to failure.
10. Tolerating an Unhealthy Home Life.
Over the years I have witnessed the ups and downs of many successful friends and colleagues. A common factor has been the happiness of their home. Sure some achieve amidst affairs and abuse, but rarely for long and they tend to be in their most unhappy state. Whatever a happy home looks like to you, build and sustain it first so you have a strong foundation for success.