How I stay productive after work

Duracell, lasts longer.

I have a day job and I run an online business on the side (of which WeekPlan is a product). Often in conversations about starting a business, I hear someone commenting on the fact they don’t have enough energy after work to start a new business. I thought I would address this challenge in a blog post and explain how I deal with it myself.

1. I hack my body

I noticed that depending on the activity I was doing straight after my day job had a big influence on how I would feel about working another 4 hours in the evening. for example, sitting in the couch and watching TV would definitely kill me for the rest of the evening.

Here is a list of activities I use to reboot my body and mind after my day job:

– I commute by motorcycle and I noticed that accelerations triggered a release of adrenaline in my body. The release of adrenaline make me feel ready for another day of work 🙂 I don’t suggest that you all drive like crazy and take risks just to get your adrenaline rush, there are actually risk-free activities that have the same effect.

– I play video games (shooting games especially): After playing about half an hour, I am ready for another session of work. This is a double edged sword though as you might end up playing more than necessary. The trick is to time-box it (actually setting an alarm can help commit to the 30 minutes) and to play a game that is actually not that good so that you get bored if you play too much of it.

– I watch an episode of an action anime like Bleach: It does about the same thing as playing a video game and it is already time-boxed by the nature of it.

– I take a cold shower: this helps me remove the heaviness of the day and makes me feel like it is the start of the day again.

2. I have people depending on me

I launch my new products early in the creation process for two reasons: I want to get early feedback on what I am doing, but also, as soon as users start using my new product, I start to get bugs report and feature requests that keep me going. Instead of needing to be self driven, I can rely on other people waiting on something from me. Now that I have many users on WeekPlan and a few contractors working with me, I always have something to do to unblock someone (which is probably something I may need to solve at some point if I want to be able to scale :)).

3. I have plenty of rest

I have my 8 hours of sleep most nights and I believe it is very important. When I wake up in the morning, I don’t feel groggy, I ready to start the day straight from the moment the alarm clock rings.

I also do a lot of activities that require me to focus. Although it is hard to 100% switch off from work sometimes, my hobbies and activities help me think of something else and they act like mini holidays. When it is time to work on my projects again, I am actually eager to do it because I have been “held back” by my other activities.

4. I have a vision

This may sound corny but I think that having a goal that is bigger than just making money helps me put in a little extra effort. It makes the “sacrifices” worth it.

For example, when I was a student, I was saving to go travelling for a year. Once I had the goal and a departure date set, it was so much easier to say no to certain expenses and to make some certain compromises.

My personal vision currently is that I want to create time freedom for me and my family. If I ever have kids for example, I want to be able to spend as much time with them as I want. I want to be time rich.

What else do you think would work? Any suggestion?

  • art

    Good article!

  • Good article Aymeric! I find having the vision is really paramount to keep going. I’ve been struggling with it for some time and lately I’m trying to define more clearly my long-term objectives (BHAG: Big Hairy Audacious Goals) and connect it to medium-term milestones. For example, in terms of income, I have some objectives for long-term income (1 year from now) and defined some intermediary milestones to keep myself in check if things go off the rails.

    Also, on a related note, good job with keeping the blog updated. Slow but steady wins the race. Keep going!

    • Thanks Tommy 🙂

      Yes, for me I call my medium-term milestones my Road Map. I have a clear road map for weekplan for example.