Preparing well. That’s what the evening routine is all about.
I know, I know! That sounds like more work. And you’re thinking “I just got done with all of the laundry/work/chores/everything by the evening. I don’t want to do more.”
Preparing well can serve you well that evening and it sets you up to be able to cultivate what really matters the following day. When you are cultivating what matters, you positively impact everything about your life and everyone in it.
Before we jump in, let me say this: everyone’s night routine looks different depending on your life, but the key is to find what works for you and cultivate those habits each day. Consistency creates habits that ultimately determine the flow of your everyday life, and an evening routine is a great place to start. I'm excited to share six must-dos for my evenings, and I hope it helps you start to think through your own personal evening routine.
Something to straighten up. For me, it’s the kitchen. If the kitchen is straightened up—dishes in the dishwasher, clutter-free counter, things put away—it's much easier for me to relax. Take a quick few minutes to pass through your space, and put away random things that need to be put away. After you're finished, set out only what you will need for the morning. For me, it's a packed lunch to take to work, water bottle for an AM workout, or a sticky note of things to remember for the following day!
Something to help you plan ahead. Each evening, I spend five minutes running through the next day's calendar to see if there are any schedule changes, high-level to-dos, or something out of the ordinary that my husband and I need to remember. These are things like getting gas on my way to work, running an errand before heading to the office, or picking up something specific at the store for dinner. I write these things down on a sticky note, and I put it somewhere I see first thing in the morning so I can get off to a productive start. I also take a few moments to look over my PowerSheets Tending List to mark off my daily goals.
Something productive. While I'm going through my schedule, I ask myself if there are any tasks that can easily be done that evening. Whether it's dropping mail in the mailbox, prepping the next day's dinner, signing a document, or folding the lingering laundry in the dryer, I find that finishing one productive task not only helps me feel accomplished, but it keeps it from building up on the weekends. My best advice? Don't try to tackle huge project. These should be small and achievable tasks that take no more than 15 minutes.
Something encouraging. This one is my personal favorite! I try to take a few minutes to do something that encourage myself or someone else. I might write a note for my husband's lunch or send a quick text to a friend or loved one just to say hello and that I miss them. Sometimes, I'll spend time in my Write the Word Journal, taking note of what I'm grateful for in the "On My Heart" section. Whatever it is, this activity should be uplifting and help you set a stress-free tone for the evening.
Something restful. A great way to wind down before bed is to do something that helps your mind start to slow down. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but it should be something that works for you. Maybe it’s reading or journaling. Maybe dimming the lights and putting on a bedtime playlist of soft tunes while you brush your teeth and prepare for bed. Whatever it is, the idea here is that it’s calming, relaxing, and creating an environment conducive to getting a great night's sleep!
Something tech-free. We talk about this one often, but it's because we believe it's essential! Designating the last hour before bedtime screen-free helps you get better sleep. A few tricks: make the very first thing you do before all of the nighttime necessities—brushing your teething, washing your face—putting the phone away. In the closet. In the bedside drawer, or across the room. This not only frees you from distractions but is also a nice mental cap on the end of the day. Hint: If you use your phone as your alarm, try replacing it with an affordable alarm clock. You eliminate the distraction entirely, and you can charge your phone in a nearby room.
I’d love to hear from you! Do you have an evening routine? What are the best aspects of your night routine? Leave a comment with your best tips and tricks!
Want to embrace mornings and make them productive, too? Check out eight tips for embracing mornings!