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Professional success should extend beyond the workplace. While working late to complete a project could aid your performance and going above and beyond in your role might impress an employer, it’s your actions away from your job that could be critical to your career.

Rather than wasting your weekends and evenings watching endless TV boxsets, you must aim to use your time more wisely. Read these six ways to better yourself in your spare time.

1. Grow Your Skillset

Instead of throwing yourself down on the sofa every evening to immerse yourself in the latest Netflix series, you should attempt to grow your skills. Developing new skills cannot only support your current role, but it could help you to develop an impressive resume, gain a well-deserved promotion, or to enter a different role.

For example, if you’re a registered nurse, you should consider the various online nursing programs that can help you grow in your career and become a leader. If you are committed to non-stop learning, there will be no limit to the success you can enjoy.

2. Network with Others

While you don’t need to dedicate every evening or weekend to networking, you should regularly meet with other professionals outside of corporate hours. For example, you could ask a skilled professional to meet you for drinks after work or a coffee on your lunch break.

It will help you to build stronger, friendly relationships with various people across a sector, who could shape your career in the future. The bigger your network, the more opportunities you will be able to choose from in the future.

3. Make Time to Read

Many successful people understand the importance of reading new books. It doesn’t matter if you prefer fiction or non-fiction, books could help you to embrace new ideas and philosophies, which could alter your outlook on life. Reading can also expand your vocabulary and even provide a topic of discussion with your colleagues or clients.

4. Set Time Aside for Exercise

A demanding working life can place great pressure on your physical and mental health. Rather than piling on the pounds at work or struggling with a low mood or depression, aim to enjoy at least half an hour of exercise each day.

For example, you could:

  • Hit the gym
  • Go for a run
  • Cycle to work
  • Workout at home

Physical activity will help you to burn many calories, get your endorphins flowing, and boost your self-confidence. Plus, it could lead to greater mental clarity, which can help you to combat stress and improve your focus at work.

5. Practice Mindfulness

A hectic workplace, a seemingly endless to-do list, and a demanding employer can take its toll on your mental health. You can, however, combat the chaos by practicing mindfulness. It requires you to sit in a still position to focus on your thoughts, sounds, and physical sensations.

Aim to practice mindfulness for at least 20 minutes per day, which you can perform every morning or before you go to sleep. It could relax your mind and body, lower your rising stress levels, and improve your general wellbeing.

6. Watch a TED Talk

Tuning into various TED Talks could have a positive influence on your life. There are many insightful videos available that could motivate and inspire you in your career and/or personal life.

For example, you could watch Amy Cuddy’s Body Language TED Talk to learn how your posture and attitude can be interpreted by others and affect your mood. You could then learn poses that can boost your confidence and lower your stress levels.

Other superb TED Talks to consider include:

  • How Great Leaders Inspire Action by Simon Sinek
  • How to Speak So People Want to Listen by Julian Treasure
  • The Puzzle of Motivation by Dan Pink
  • The Happy Secret to Better Work by Shawn Anchor
  • Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator by Tim Urban

Watching one or more TED Talks could provide you with a new outlook on your goals or actions, which could support your career development.

If you are guilty of wasting your time once the working day is over, you could be holding yourself back in your career. Instead, you must aim to use your spare time more wisely, such as improving your education, reading a good book, exercising, or practicing mindfulness. A few small changes to your daily routine could lead to a healthier body, a better career, and a positive outlook on life.