Since nowadays I spend most of my time at work, and therefore have very limited free time that I have to divide between a bunch of activities such as writing, reading, consuming content, playing games, etc, I sometimes find it difficult to make room for a little bit of extra work on the things I care about.
Relaxing has always been a double edged sword for me. On one hand I get to forget about work and just do something fun. One the other hand I feel guilty for not being more productive and for not doing something extra outside of work that would help me move forward with my projects.
The fact that I am also a big procrastinator doesn't really help things. When I come home from work during my break and I sit on my bed with my laptop, I tend to forget about the things that I said I would do, and instead waste my time on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter or other websites, convincing myself that I'll soon start to work and that at the moment I need a short break from my actual job.
What ends up happening is that I will spend half, or more, of my break procrastinating and doing nothing at all, and then try to do everything I initially wanted in the remaining time. This means that I rarely do all the things I initially planned.
The only way I can avoid all this procrastinating loop is to have a well defined plan, or a well made list of tasks that I want to take care of during my break, and to start working as soon as I turn on my laptop.
I don't check any websites, be it social media, email or anything similar, and I just do the tasks that I decided upon. I finish them as quickly as I can and only then I allow myself to waste my time doing nothing and to relax until I have to go back to work again.
This helps me especially at night, after I'm done with work for the day. I get home at around 21:45 and it's almost always 22:15-ish once I finish with the bathroom, with taking a shower and changing my clothes. I go to sleep almost always at around 00:30 so I only have around 2 free hours at my disposal to spend however I wish.
If I want to do anything productive in that short amount of time I have to be quick and to not let myself get drifted away by other insignificant activities.
Don't get me wrong, I love to procrastinate because it's relaxing and I simply enjoy spending my time consuming content and forgetting about everything around me. But I also love being productive and see the progress I'm making after some time spent working.
To make everything easier I usually break a longer goal into smaller ones, and I try to tackle whatever tasks I have in my free time. For example, I might write an article during my break and edit + publish it at night once I finish work. Or, I might do both during the break and have my night free. Once in a while I'll do a few other things at night, but not always.
The idea is to be quick and precise with your actions regarding the things you want to do. You should have a well thought plan about what you want to do and what you want to get done, and start as soon as you can before giving yourself a chance to procrastinate.
It will be uncomfortable at the beginning, because you might not feel like doing it, but you'll be really glad you used this strategy once you're done, because you'll have both finished some work and you'll also have extra time at your disposal to either waste, or to do something else with.