Starting your first job after college feels amazing- you have ample free time to do all the shopping, weekend trips, and lounging on the couch that you longed for during your last four years of college. After that initial “honeymoon phase,” though, you might feel like you’re falling into a mundane pattern. You’ve probably switched to a regular work schedule that varies greatly from sporadic classes, club involvements, and sports practices, so what should you do to make use of those set chunks of time once you clock out for the day? Here are some ways that you can switch up your daily routine and maximize the free time you have.
Designate specific days for personal tasks
Although you’re free of paper deadlines and exam dates, you will still be faced with soft deadlines of your own for things like grocery shopping, cleaning, car maintenance, and any other responsibility that comes up in our everyday lives. Try designating a specific day of the week that you plan to get them done- whether you work best on a Wednesday night after work or a Sunday afternoon before you start the week is totally up to you to decide.
Join a workout class/club
You’re probably sick of seeing workout posts on all of your social media feeds and hearing about your coworker’s latest CrossFit workout, but it’s been proven time and time again that exercise is a crucial component to a healthy lifestyle and improved productivity at work! Many gyms don’t require you to have a full membership to attend their classes, plus the structure of a class will help keep you motivated to continue coming back.
Volunteer your time
There are dozens- maybe even hundreds- of step-by-step guides to volunteering your time to others, it’s just a matter of putting yourself out there and getting started! Volunteering is a great means of filling your time for several reasons- it allows you to help the community, it’s typically a flexible activity in terms of time commitment, and it can help you develop key skills for furthering your career. You can even try to get some of your coworkers involved as well, making your volunteer work both helpful for the community and your workplace relationships!
Join a book club, or any club you’re interested in
Websites like Meetup make it easy for you to meet people in your local area who share similar interests. Whether you’re looking for a book club, a pick-up soccer game, a running buddy, or a few people to create a trivia team at your favorite bar, there are plenty of opportunities for you to make new friends outside of work. This can be especially helpful if you relocate after college and find yourself missing the close friendships you enjoyed when you were still living on campus.
Plan a budget-friendly trip each month
If you feel like your weekends are primarily spent binge-watching TV on the couch, try designating one weekend out of the month to do something exciting! Whether its a beach trip with friends or a hike you’ve never tried before, switching things up once in a while is great because it gives you something to look forward to every few weeks.
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