What’s Your After-Work Routine?

After Work Routines Here’s a fun topic: what is your after-work routine?  Do you have one that’s necessitated by outside factors (must walk dog, pick up kids, etc) or internal factors (must put on gym clothes and go to gym immediately)?  Do you find that it helps you transition your mindset to a more relaxing one?  What do you do at the beginning of the day (prepare food, lay out clothes, etc) to help your after-work routine along?

As I’ve mentioned before, I do think an after-work routine can be a powerful way to segue from workmode to me-mode.  My own after-work routine always involved changing into jeans when I got home from the office — it helped me feel like I could “be myself” and relax without putting pajamas on; I also found that I was more capable of hanging up dry-clean only work clothes neatly if I did it before total exhaustion set in.  (I usually had already eaten dinner at the office or out and about with a friend.)  I’ve never been great about being productive in the evenings (unless you count socializing), and personally workouts only happen if I exercise in the morning (sigh).  These days, with small kids, my after-work routine is mostly driven by outside factors — reconnect with kids, make/buy/eat dinner, bathtime/bedtime GOGOGO.  By the time the kids are asleep I usually space out for a while, watching TV and fussing with my iPad.  I’ve discovered that I get a second wind around 10 PM, when I’ll sometimes work on personal projects (family albums, family research and planning, etc) or try to shop for future TPS/coffee break posts — but I’m starting to realize the better move is to go to bed before I get that second wind, hopefully so I can get up early to get focus work done, like writing (or, hey, working out) before the kids get up around 6:30 am.

How about you, ladies — what is your after-work routine?  Do you have a schedule of after-work activities (gym class, book club, etc)?  Given your druthers would you prefer relaxing time or productive time — and at night, or in the morning?

Pictured: Atlanta,Georgia,downtown skyline, dusk, originally uploaded to Flickr by apple.white2010

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Comments

  1. Pick up dog, drive home, change, feed dog and eat my own dinner (premade), sit on the computer/read/watch netflix for about an hour, take dog out, go to bed. It’s about 2-2.5 hours from the time I get home until I get in bed, so not really time to do anything else. Riveting life I lead, I know.

  2. I change into my workout clothes as soon as I get home, then get my outfit ready for the next day (I typically have a few outfits picked out from the Sunday before, but decide on which one I want and get underclothes and accessories ready the evening before). I’ll have a quick bite to eat (usually premade on the weekend) and pack my lunch for the next day, then go out for a run with the dogs. A couple nights a week I’ll also lift weights in my basement gym. After my workout I’ll shower and read with my son if it’s a school night. It’s usually about time for bed at that point, as I only have about 3 1/2 hours between getting home from work and bedtime.

    • I like the idea of picking out your outfit the night before, I might start doing that.

  3. I am single, childless, and dog-less, so my days are somewhat free of obligation. I don’t have a specific routine each day, but my weeks are generally consistent. On Mondays, I pack my workout gear and I go play ultimate frisbee with work folks for two hours. After that I go home, feed the cat, shower, catch up on the internet, etc. Tuesdays, I pack my barn gear and running gear and go straight to the barn where I either run before I ride or ride then hit the gym on my way home. Wednesdays, I have therapy once a month, and I hit the “mountain” to run the trails regardless of therapy or not. On Wednesdays I usually go home to change and feed the cat prior to any appts or running. Thursdays, repeat of Tuesdays. Fridays, I usually go home after work, change and either settle in with dinner and a book or meet up with friends/go on a date.

    Each night my routine is to read right before bed, so I am consistent in that way!

    • TrousseauHorse :

      High five for being an after work horse person! I’m finally at a barn where there is a strong after work crowd instead of an “oh, you work?” vibe. It’s also a lot less scary to ride when there are other people around. It takes me 1.5-2 hours to get to the barn straight from work though and most of the time I end up having to change in my car in the train parking lot because a) if I go home I won’t be able to leave again and b) my house is not really on the way to the barn.

      • High five back! We have a mix of doesn’t have to work and has to work and is horse poor. My trainer does almost all the lessons after work hours (minus the older lady group in the mornings), so I see lots of people in the evenings when she is in town. I do really like my alone riding time though! I can get my alone riding time fix when she is at horse shows and usually on Sunday mornings :) I am lucky that I live in an area where traffic isn’t so bad – I can jump on the turnpike and get to the barn from work in 45 minutes, 30 minutes to get home afterwards.

  4. Senior Attorney :

    Generally, what I shoot for is leave work, go home and change into workout clothes, go to the gym (trainer session or boot camp class), maybe do an errand or two on the way home (grocery shopping or whatever), then home for dinner and a little TV/computer time before bed. I enjoy my solitary down time in the evenings and often I’ll do some puttering around — laundry, small house chores, etc.

    Lately for some reason my social life has been in super high gear! Last week during the week I had one Rotary after-work event, one girls’ night at my house, and a weeknight dinner/sleepover with Gentleman Friend, plus a full weekend of fun and frivolity starting Friday night and going until Monday morning. Gah. It’s undeniably a ton of fun but my chores are going undone and my weight is up. I am determined to dial it back this week.

    Really. I am…

    • I am a lot like the Senior Attorney. I walk home every day, wearing my Nike Air’s, and then I change into workout clothe’s, which include short’s in the summer and tight’s in the winter time. I usueally drop off my clothes I wear for the day at the dry cleaner’s, and pick up whatever is there for me. I used to get my housekeeper to do that, but she onley comes once a week, and I had to much dirty stuff waiting for her. Now I have the flexibility to wear stuff I get back within 5 day’s that I drop it off. This is good b/c I have brasf I realy like wearing in the summer and do not want to have to wait for her to drop them off and then wait again for the dry cleaner. FOOEY!

  5. I pick up dog from a doggie daycare near my office and have a 1 hour commute home (I listen to books on tape during my commutes). When I get home, I change out of & put away work clothes/unpack & repack work bag/change into workout clothes as soon as I walk through the door. I eat dinner and watch 1 episode of a television show to unwind then walk to Pure Barre (its less than a 10 minute walk from my apartment). After Pure Barre, I take the dog out, shower, and go to sleep. If I have after-work obligations, I’ll go to a morning Pure Barre class.

  6. Change to workout clothes, run/gym, home, sweatpants, make dinner, Netflix, wine, bed.

  7. Kelly Andthen :

    I get out of work around the same, reasonable time every day (between 5-6pm), commute home on the bus for about 20 minutes, and between the bus and home, usually run an errand or two. Mondays, it usually means I’m at the grocery store for 20 minutes picking up that week’s staples (…with everyone else and their mom and their kids…), but then I’m done. I walk about 1/2 mi home, put the groceries away and wait for my husband to come back from walking the dogs. I usually change, prep some dinner with a glass of wine, and then we eat at the table. Then, we watch whatever it is we’re watching (Veep now, Parks and Rec sometimes, Ballers other days) until about 9:30-:45, and then I usually take the dogs out for a really quick walk so they can do their business. We’re in bed around 10pm every night, but I’m usually up reading or watching tv on the iPad until about 11.
    That’s the default. However, being childfree and living in a pretty well-located area with few responsibilities, we meet out for a drink or hit the rooftop pool a few nights a week without a plan. It’s great.

  8. Make dinner while husband picks up kids, eat, bath time, pre-bed kid show, kids bedtime. Change into workout clothes, roll out bike, ride bike for hour while talking to husband or watching TV. Relax and stretch then shower, then bed.

    Cooking is my alone “me time.” For dinner, I plan out all the meals on Sunday and they are 30 min or less meals start to finish. Sometimes on the weekends I will make huge portions of meals so they can be reheated during the week. The best days are crock pot days, where I put everything in the pot in the morning and when I get home I get to have that time all to my self.

  9. Leave my desk at exactly 5:30. Take Metro to stop near my house. Drive home from Metro (total commute 50ish min.). Try to walk into my house by about 6:20ish. Say hi to kids and au pair in living room. Head upstairs and change into toddler-friendly clothes (yoga pants and t-shirt). Remove jewelry and put hair in ponytail. Spend 10-15 min sitting on the floor with my kids and the au pair. We chat about the day, she tells me anything important about the kids, meanwhile my kids are climbing on my lap, showing me toys, patting me, pawing at my face, trying to climb my back so they can get a piggy-back ride, saying “mamamamama,” and doing other sweet toddler things. Au pair heads upstairs to relax. I make end of the day bottles and take the boys upstairs one at a time. We do stories and milk, then brush teeth, pj’s, snuggles, and finally songs and lights out. It’s usually 7:00pm or just after. I go downstairs and start cooking dinner for the adults (the boys eat around 5:30). I listen to a podcast (usually work related) while I make dinner. Sometimes I’m sick of cooking, but honestly this 45 min or so is my time to be alone and unwind. Husband arrives home sometime before 8:00. Dinner is usually ready by 8:00. Husband goes and knocks on au pair’s door to let her know dinner is ready. We all work together to set the table and serve the meal. After dinner, all three of us put away leftovers, load the dishwasher, clear the table, etc. Au pair goes upstairs to call her family or watch TV in her room. Husband and I might watch TV or read. I head upstairs by 9:30, bed absolutely no later than 10:00 (since I get up at 5:00 to work out and walk the dog before the boys wake up at 6:00).

  10. 5-6pm, drive home; 6-7pm, go to gym or for a bike ride; 7-8pm do chores around the house-laundry, cleaning- while my husband cooks dinner (he works part time and thus is home early enough to cook most weeknights; but if he’s not around to cook then I skip chores and make dinner), 8-9pm, eat dinner, hang out with husband and play with dog, help clean up kitchen; 9-10pm, read or watch netflix in bed with a glass of wine until I fall asleep.

    The worst part of my post-work routine is the hour of driving home, I hate it so much. But I love where I live, and would never live in the town where I work, so I’m stuck with it for now.

  11. Chicago Bean Accounter :

    Live with my boyfriend, no children and no pets. He has a 12 minute walk home, mine is about 25 minutes. Our after-work schedule depends on the day. I generally get home first and straighten up/unload dishwasher/fold and put away any clothes that were hung to try the day before. If we’re going to the gym, I’ll change and get my bag ready, and if I’m going to yoga, I’ll eat a granola bar and run out to class. If we’re sailing, I’ll start prepping food for us to eat before we head to the harbor. If we go to the gym or it’s my yoga day, we generally eat random mishmashes of leftover foods in our fridge (I tend to cook a lot on Sundays so the weekdays are easier).

    I am pretty much useless after 9:30pm and will be in bed by 10, whereas my boyfriend will occasionally stay up and do who knows what on his computer (he’s a software developer so there’s a definite tech addiction) or watching some treasure hunting show on Discovery.

    • Chicago Bean Accounter :

      I forgot – I also pack our lunches for the next day once we finish eating dinner while he clears the table.

    • Anonymous :

      I want a life that includes evening sailing.

      • Right? I consider any night with more than Netflix on the agenda to be a big success.

  12. My routines have always varied with the weather. When it’s nicer out, I’d go get drinks or dinner with friends, or walk halfway home, window shopping along the way. If I’m going straight home, I usually pick up something to cook for dinner, walk the dog if I’m the first one home, cook dinner, watch some TV and take the dog out again before bed if it’s nice out (or let Mr. AIMS take him alone out if it’s not). I change into one of my “housedresses” immediately when I come home. Prior to getting pregnant, I would almost always have a glass of wine when I got home or maybe a martini. Cooking while drinking was/is a bit of a hobby. Now, I tend to just have some seltzer which is a lot less fun. But on the other hand, whereas we used to save dinners out for the weekends, now we’ve been trying to make the most of this time we have alone and going out for a nice meal midweek, or to see a show or to do something else we won’t have time for once the baby is born. Getting a dog, too, has been a huge game changer. So much more coordination required to do anything at night.

  13. Half an hour or so of winding down/visiting with my husband/doing anything that must absolutely be done. Sleep. (Biglaw 5th year) I know Senior Attorney recently said that this ends eventually, but boy it doesn’t feel like it right now.

    • beats unemployment, right? :

      I’m more junior than you and also in biglaw. I was getting depressed reading all these responses. My nights are like, “get home at 11 if I’m lucky. Drink wine with a view to the fact that at 8:30 i need to be a somewhat functional human being. Go to sleep. Repeat.”

      • Ugh. Thank you. I’m in graduate school and I never manage to work out as much as some of these lawyers.

      • Oh I did none of the fun things when I worked in a law firm. My schedule was work, drink to forget working, get up and work again, with a side of maybe see my horse on the weekends.

        • beats unemployment, right? :

          Thanks. At least I no longer feel alone about my unhealthy work/drinking balance (forget “life”). Lol.
          Also filled with hope as I’d LOOOOOVE to have a horse again someday.

  14. Married; no kids.

    I generally leave work around 5:30-5:45 and have a very brief commute, so I’m generally home in 10-15 minutes. On the days I work out (2-3 days a/week), I normally change quickly and head to Pilates or barre class. I’m normally home by 7:30 and I’ll have something small for dinner or graze on a bunch of different things since I’ll be too over it to put together a meal. My husband is normally home by then (he does his own thing for dinner when I work out) and we chat for a few minutes before we head to different rooms for some individual downtime (this is what happens when two introverts get married!), which I spend reading, catching up on blogs, or watching some guilty pleasure TV. Then we’re normally in bed by 9 for some more talking/TV time and asleep by 10 (though I typically stay up later to read on my Kindle in the dark once my husband is asleep- it’s hard for me to fall asleep without reading!).

    On the days I don’t work out, I typically run errands and try to cook an actual dinner for my husband & I, or I’ll occasionally meet a friend for happy hour or dinner. On rare occasions, I immediately head straight home after work and am a total sloth for the remainder of the evening (sometimes, you really just need to do nothing).

  15. Anonymous :

    Change into something comfy, pour a glass of wine, hit the pool or go for a walk, chat to my BFF/mom, watch tv, bed.

  16. Woods-comma-Elle :

    My after work routine is all over the place (thanks, Big Law).

    On a night when I’m not working late and I don’t have any social plans with friends/SO, it tends to be walk home from the office (about 40-45 minutes), eat something that is quick and easy to make (I don’t generally tend to cook at home in the evenings, so it’s more just a snack), followed by Netflix and bed. I find it very difficult to do anything productive in the evenings, unless I get home super early, which is rarely the case, as the days when I tend to leave the office earlier are days when I have somewhere to be.

  17. Usually home between 5 and 5:30, make dinner, watch some tv with my husband, and usually read before bed (upstairs around 9:30 or 10:00). I like to have some type of activity at least once a week, but I’m trying to get in as much sloth time as I can before the baby comes in October.

  18. No kids, Cohabitating with my boyfriend who is a Pilot, so my after work schedule is dictated by 1) the gym schedule….and 2) his schedule.

    My gym offers only group fitness classes 7 days a week, and the schedule changes a bit, so I pack workout clothes in the morning to go immediately to the class that starts when I get off work (Some days its the 4:55, some days its the 7pm), and that gets me in the gym 4 nights a week. Do not pass go, do not hit the fridge, go straight from the office to the gym.

    After the gym, if he’s in town, we usually make dinner and eat together. I’m big on fitness and cooking at home.

    On non-gym nights I make the effort to walk the 25 minutes home from the office to unplug and reset the mind for evenings which can include dinner out, with friends, bike rides, the possibilities are limitless since we have no kids (yet). I try to fall asleep by midnight and up at 7.

  19. Anonymous :

    Commute 45 min home. Alternate with partner for childcare pick up or dinner prep. Eat dinner as a family. Try to do something fun with kids (color, play dolls, etc) even if for 15 minutes. Start kids’ bedtime routine. Clean kitchen and prep for the next day. Spend 15-60 minutes doing one thing (grooming, work, tv, project, finances, etc).

    Long ago, before kids, the routine was meeting partner at the gym, then cooking a meal together over a glass of wine or spontaneously eating out, then doing whatever we wanted for another 2-3 hours. Much lower stress ;)

  20. Single, no kids and I workout at lunch. Get home. Right now while it’s so hot I strip off my clothes and turn on the a/c. Then I start dinner and put on Jon Stewart or at least that’s what I did until today. Have no idea what I’m going to do going forward…

    I might have to start over and watch The Daily Show from the beginning or maybe I’ll just watch the final episode every night this week and postpone the decision until next week…

  21. Anonymous :

    pick up kids by 5 and get home to start them on homework. Start cooking dinner and eat dinner as a family 6-7. Give kids bath or finish up on last on their HW7pm. Bedtime routines start at 8 with me reading to my kids for 20 min. Once they are tucked into bed, I make lunches change out of my work clothes. I zone out with Netflix until 1 am and wake up at 7am.

  22. OttLobbyist :

    Single, with dogs.

    If it’s a normal day with no specific evening plans or work commitments: commute; collect mail; make a goofy fool of myself greeting dogs; let them out and feed them; change into casual clothes and wash face (this is key for some reason to make the work/home break); prep and eat dinner; one last work email check; short walk for my senior dogs; long walk or a swim for me ; personal emails/calls/web browsing; listen to music and read.

    So neat to read everyone’s routines!

  23. TO Lawyer :

    I do love these threads! I occasionally try to hit the gym after work but that doesn’t always happen. My new favourite thing has been meeting my boyfriend after work for a drink at a bar. I find we get really good conversational quality time about our days that sometimes doesn’t happen if we meet at home. Otherwise it depends on the day – sometimes gym, sometimes cooking, sometimes drinks with friends.

    I expect it will settle down once we get more used to being together and once the summer ends and we’re back in a fall routine. (And once work is busier and all I can imagine doing is going home and watching netflix and drinking wine.

  24. Anonymous :

    Leave work by 5:45. Arrive home 6:30, which is also approximately when my spouse and the baby arrive. One of us will play with baby – quick trip to park, rolling around living room, etc. The other one will quickly prep dinner, either something very simple like eggs or something we made on the weekend. If the baby’s not too tired, eat dinner before the baby goes to bed. One of us will then put the baby to bed while the other does the dishes. Baby is in bed around 7:45; we both work for 1-3 hours after that. Both try to squeeze in quick workouts (basement or go for a run) as well before going to bed around 11. One night a week each of us gets “free” to work late at work, participate in a hobby, etc.

  25. I’m a Sunday night “plan all my outfits for the week” girl, so that helps. I come home from work, go for a walk with the dog, pack my lunch for the next day, then enjoy dinner (which I either threw in the Crockpot that morning or my husband helpfully made (he’s a chef).

    We live about 5 minutes from DisneyWorld, so many nights after work we’ll go to the parks to watch the fireworks, people watch, or hop on a ride or two if it isn’t too crazy. It’s really nice to chill out on the Disney beach at the Boardwalk and watch fireworks–it’s hard to get stressed about work!!

    Then we come home, take pup for a short walk, and bed.

  26. Married; no kids.

    Leave work at 6. From 6 to 8, I’m generally doing some combo of the following: gym (next to my office), going for a run with a friend, playing at a rec softball game, going to a networking or other event, drinks with a friend. I usually walk home, stop to pick up some food to make for dinner, and have dinner with my husband around 9/9:30. Sometimes we’ll have a friend or two over for dinner too. If it’s just us, post-dinner we’ll either go for a walk or putter around at home, talking, reading, working on various projects. I’m usually in bed at 11:30 and then up at 7:30.

  27. Kids. Full time job. That means I leave work at 5:15, pickups and driving to other activities, get home, start dinner, remind kids to practice their music, sit down with family, get kids to bed, then sit on computer and work or relax until bedtime. Often I’ll crawl in bed early and read. During the school year, it ramps up with soccer, homework,etc. Makes me exhausted just to think about it.

  28. TrousseauHorse :

    Married, no kids with a 1.5 hour commute. I’m starting a new routine because I started a new job that has separated me from the yoga studio I really liked that I could go to over lunch two jobs ago. Sigh. I strongly preferred exercising over lunch because it really perked me up in the afternoon.

    Mondays and Fridays I go to the gym after work. This is the new part. So far so good! The gym is five minutes from my house. I just do the elliptical for 30 min and watch whatever random thing is on tv to zone out. Tuesdays and Thursdays I ride my horse. It takes about two hours to get there from work (normal commute + 30 min) and half an hour to get home after. Wednesdays during the school year I play in an orchestra, but I’m taking a language class on Wednesdays this summer. We typically cook three big batches of food, usually Sunday, Monday, and Thursday and eat the leftovers for dinners and lunches. We sometimes freeze some and defrost something else for variety. Although lately we’ve been exhausted and getting too much take out which is delicious but expensive and making us gain weight.

    In an ideal world I would be going to bed at 10 so I could get 8 hours of sleep, but it literally never happens. We usually end up watching something stupid on tv and then when we go to bed we end up looking at funny stuff on reddit and then all of a sudden it’s midnight and it’s awful the next morning and we swear we aren’t going to do it anymore. But I feel like otherwise I would just come home, shove sad microwaved food down my throat, and go straight to bed. Like I enjoy all of the things I do after work but none of them are mindless relaxation, which I feel like I need. But then if that’s all I ever end up doing I feel guilty.

  29. SoCalTraffic :

    About an hour commute each way so get off work around 5.30ish, get home around 6.30ish and then, depending on parking situation (woo hoo LA permit parking) wander for 2-20 min looking for parking. Usually prep dinner with the fiance and start eating around 7.30ish with some Netflix streaming. Around 8.30/9 is the crucial time where can get sucked further into more episodes or work out or work on wedding plans/other productive things. More episodes tends to win out most of the time. Sleep around 10ish.

  30. This is fun!

    Gov’t lawyer, married, toddler. Leave work between 4 and 430 to pick up kid from daycare, 15 minute commute. Play with kid until dad gets home between 530 and 6. Kid eats at 6, bath time at 630, kid bedtime at 7. Hubs and I make dinner, eat by 8, watch t.v. / work second job (contract writing for another law firm) until around 10. Shower before bed, pick out / hang up clothes for the next day, bed 1030/11. I workout during lunch 2-3 times per week, drinks with friends 1-2 times per mo. after kid is in bed. Living the dream.

  31. Great question, loved the responses, renewed admiration for those kryptonite-infused working moms. I used to feel guilty for being a SAHM, then for being a going-to-law-school mom. Now I realize, I’m probably just my own worst critic.

    I’m in-house counsel, divorced, kids in college or are old enough to subscribe to Corporette. ;)

    1. Off around 5 (huge flexibility in my hours…tacit understanding with my boss that this is in lieu of being paid 50th percentile of what other lawyers in my field make for the same job). Try not to feel guilty that I have left too early/late.
    2. Drive home 20-25 minutes (as I drive over a pretty bridge try to appreciate fact that I live in beautiful part of the country and people pay lots of money to vacation here and remind myself of #1). Try not to feel guilty that I have been sitting inside all day and life is passing me by.
    3. Try to call parents or a child during drive because once I get home I’m usually in full introvert/decompression mode. Ignore Mom’s “Wait? Who is this? Charles…did you know we had a DAUGHTER?” joke as she answers phone. Try not to feel guilty for being mentally exhausted.
    4. Get home, feed dog and cat (dog will never go to pee before eating…he’s so weird and adorable, and not thin). Try not to feel guilty that dog needs more exercise.
    5. Try to go for run or do work-out video 2-3 times a week. Try not to feel guilty because I am leaving behind pitiful, sad-eyed dog who is horrible running partner.
    6. If it’s not summer, spring break, or Christmas break (with college kid(s) at home), then will try to eat something simple and/or healthy (tuna fish, cereal, popcorn), depending on what I’ve had for lunch. Try not to feel guilty for not eating more fruit and salads.
    7. On at least one non-work out days, I allow myself a couple (large) glasses of wine, some easy food (see #6), and then mindless TV/internet time. What’s NOT to feel guilty about?
    8. Sometimes after work I meet friends or a date for drinks/dinner/watch baseball game after work. Feel guilty I am not working out. Feel guilty that I want to see the guy I am “casually” dating more nights a week.
    9. One night/week during school year, I go to a Bible study. Feel guilty that I was too talkative, no, too quiet, no, ate too much snack food without eating “real” dinner (and that would be…cereal??!).
    10. After work-out/eating, I clean kitchen, pick out clothes for work and sometimes even iron said clothes. Watch pre-planned mindless TV that I’ve DVR’d, or schlep around on laptop/shop online. Feel guilty that I have just spent $190 on AnnTaylor.com during their self-proclaimed Best Sale Ever. Rationalize that it might make casual dating guy want to see me more plus I deserve it because I work in okay job where most exciting part is sometimes wearing cute clothes.
    11. Shower by 10, read Bible/devotions, try to get into bed by 11 to play 15-30 minutes of Candy Crush. Feel guilty that I am addicted to such a stupid game.
    12. Fall dead asleep, exhausted from over-thinking.

    Up at 7:45. Realize again that I have an awesome life.

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