5 Simple Ways to Combat End-of-Day Fatigue

Have you ever come home from work, feeling totally exhausted, only to realize that now you have to take care of your kids and respond to your spouse’s needs? A lot of people view this as their most important responsibility, but I, for one, often find myself so terribly depleted of energy. Now that your work outside of the home is done, your work inside is just beginning. There is homework to help with, horse rides to give, walks to go on, talks to have, and spouses to support.

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Fatigue at the end of the day is not unique to fathers. In fact, I know it is something that many parents experience. We work and work and work to provide something great for our families and tire ourselves out so that when we come home, we don’t feel up to much of anything.

I know it’s really easy to let being tired get in the way of spending the short time that  Here are a few things you can do to make sure that this time is spent in a meaningful way.

  1. Make a plan. If you make a plan before you get tired, it will be easier to do something productive with your family when you are tired. If you wait until you are tired to make the plan, it’s more likely than not that you will do what I do and resort to watching tv, browsing Facebook, or any number of “easy” things. If you fail to plan, your default will likely be something that is not productive and something that doesn’t build deep connections with your family. Don’t take a chance on letting the “tired you” do what’s right for your family. Make a plan with your family at the beginning of the week, or write down a quick plan at the beginning of the day. Put it on a 3″ x 5″ card and place the card where you’ll see it first thing when you get home. Not only will this make sure that you your default is something meaningful, it will give you something to look forward to throughout the day.
  2. Don’t lay down. The second I lay down, I don’t want to do anything else. I have lost the battle, and there’s no changing courses. We have a couch in our living room that is not incredibly comfortable until it’s the end of the day, I’m tired, and I don’t want to be doing anything else. So, I put a coffee table in our living room. When I’m sitting down, even if I’ve got my feet up, as long as I’m not laying down, I’m more effective. It’s not a perfect solution, but it keeps me out of the trance imposed by laying down.
  3. Go outside. If you’ve been cooped up in your office all day, what’s more fun than running around outside? We have visited parks and played on playgrounds. My son loves both of these, and we always have a lot of fun. When we don’t have time to go to a park, we wander around our apartment complex. When our son was just starting to work on walking and running, we took him to the tennis court and let him run around on a flat surface. He loved it.
  4. Exercise together. Family yoga, push-up contests, sit-ups, sports or anything else that involves movement. Doing this outside is a great idea (see #3 above), unless it’s too cold or too hot. If that’s the case, exercise inside can be just as fun. Move the furniture out of the living room and you’ve got a great space to get moving.
  5. Have a family project that you all work on together. This can be working in a garden, putting a puzzle together, woodworking, or working on a service project for someone else. Just make sure that you’re doing it together. The possibilities and options are endless.

*Bonus: Avoid personal electronics. Why? They exclude everyone that is important. It’s hard to share Facebook posts or your Twitter feed with everyone in your family. If you need this “me” time, save it for a time when the rest of your family is in bed or doing other things. If you absolutely need the “me” time, set a time limit.

What do you do to beat “end-of-the-day fatigue”? What suggestions do you have?

The first, and most important step, to building intellectual curiosity.

In my last post, I talked about how the Wright brothers, the ones who invented the airplane, had a distinct advantage over other Americans because they had a family that encouraged intellectual curiosity. This led me to think about how I can do this for my kids. I discovered that it can be incredibly difficult in a very busy world, but there are some easy things that can be done to encourage intellectual curiosity in our kids.

The first step in encouraging intellectual curiosity is managing your kids’  entertainment time against their learning time.

People crave entertainment. One report from June 2015 stated that Americans spent 2 hours and 49 minutes watching tv! This study found a correlation between watching lots of tv and lower levels of happiness. Parents look for ways to keep their kids occupied. Too often, this takes place by sitting kids in front of the tv or computer. A couple of months ago, I was talking with one of my co-workers. She told me that she was getting a 96″ tv for her young son’s bedroom. I guarantee you that he was not going to be spending hours watching documentaries.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m just as guilty as the next person. Sometimes you just need the peace and quiet that a good Sesame Street video provides. But next time you turn that video on for your kid, watch as he or she gets sucked in. I’ve done this for my son, and you have to work to get him to focus on anything else. The fact is, that by doing this you are helping your kid build habits. You have to think about whether these habits encourage or discourage intellectual curiosity.

Recently, I read the following quote: “Ordinary people seek entertainment. Extraordinary people seek education and learning.” Read more about that quote here. Adapted for great dads: Ordinary dads seek to always entertain their kids. Extraordinary dads seek to educate and help their kids learn, to develop their intellectual curiosity, with some healthy recreation thrown in there.

At some point in our lives, we all dream of doing or being something great. As we get older, we hope that our kids will do or become something great. Unfortunately, for a lot of us, we don’t realize the effect that our daily decisions the realization of those desires. A book by James Allen, As a Man Thinketh, illustrates that what we tend to think about is what we tend to become. If your thoughts and actions, or your kid’s thoughts and actions, are so focused on entertainment that we never focus on intellectual curiosity, then we run into problems.

Next time you reach for the remote or direct your browser to your favorite sports site, look at your kids and ask yourself if there isn’t some way you could be encouraging their curiosity.

How do you encourage your kids’ intellectual curiosity?

How do you get work done around the house without turning on the tv? What activities do you do with your kids instead of watching tv?

The Pros and Cons of Doing Online Surveys for Money

A common suggestion is getting paid to take online surveys. This was something I tried for a couple of years. I didn’t make a whole of money doing it. I made a little bit of money doing it. There were some things I liked and some things I didn’t. Over the course of about 3 years, I used 3 different online survey services and made about $200.

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Pinecone Research is an invite only service. I was lucky enough to get an invite, but once I started using it, I decided I didn’t like it. As you took surveys, you earned points. The site offered a lot of high-end products that could be purchased with  The problem was that everything on the site cost so many points that you would have to spend hours every day to get enough points to “buy” something worthwhile. At the end of the day, I did not see this as a great way to earn extra cash. If you have extra time and want to get some fancy things without spending money on them, this is not a bad way to go. If you’re looking to make some extra money, keep looking.

E-rewards was another service I used. I used it off and on over the course of a year and a half. This service did not allow you to get cash. It allowed you to get gift cards to places like restaurant.com, airlines, and for magazines. I stopped using this service because I felt like my return on time spent was not worth it. I didn’t think that the amount of points I was getting for each survey completed was worth the time I spent on each survey. On top of that, I was not really interested in the rewards they offered. The best reward I got was a one year subscription to the “Entrepreneur” magazine.

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Opinion Outpost was by far the best service I used. I was able to exchange my rewards for cash or on websites that I actually use, like amazon.com. In the end, though, I stopped using Opinion Outpost because I did not feel like the return I received on the amount of time I spent was worth it. I would get about 50 cents for every half hour I spent–not a very good wage.

My opinion is that if you’re looking for something to fill your time, you want to get something but you don’t want to spend money to get it, or you really only have a free half hour every day, online surveys are great. But, I decided it wasn’t worth my time. I decided that I could get a better return on my time, by spending my time with my family, developing new skills, learning new things, or working on other projects.

Have you used online surveys? What do you think about them? How have they worked for you?