Once upon a time, I had never even heard the term “evening routine”. My life was chaotic. I never managed to have everything together when it was time to leave the house. This wasn’t due to sleeping in, in fact, I’m an early bird, so it all came down to my stunning level of disorganisation. I had no plan, no idea, what I was up to on any given day.
I started reading, as I do, about how to get organised in the morning, and it turns out that everything I thought I knew about organising my mornings was wrong. Guess what! I found out that a calm, organised morning only happens if you plan for it before you go to bed. Not even kidding.
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So let’s chat about evening routines. An evening routine can be as simple or complex as you make it. I like to keep mine simple, so for me, about an hour before bedtime I switch off all screens. Just do it. Studies have found that blue light (like your phone emits) actually makes it harder to sleep. The best option is to keep all screens out of your bedroom. I know some of you enjoy watching telly in bed, but you could probably pick up a couch on gumtree and set up your TV in the living room. Just promise me you’ll think about it, okay?
If I’m working the next day, I make my lunch and pack snacks so that when I get up in the morning I don’t have to think about it. Seriously, who wants to think about lunch first thing in the morning? For that matter, who wants to get up earlier in the morning just to make lunch? I don’t even want to do that, and I’m one of those annoying morning people. I also like to make sure I know what’s for breakfast, even if it’s just toast or muffins.
Next, I make sure the kitchen is clean for the morning. I quickly go through the living and dining rooms to make sure all the dishes have found their way to the kitchen, and then Boyfriend and I wash all the dishes, and wipe down all the benches and tables. Incidentally, this helps keep all the ants, cockroaches and mice away, so bonuses all around.
After that I quickly tidy the living and dining rooms so that when I wake up I have somewhere nice to sit and eat breakfast. It only takes about 10 minutes, and it gets easier the more you do it, so no excuses.
And then it’s time to shower/brush teeth/moisturise/whatever your hygiene program is. Don’t forget to put away any clothes you plan to wear again and toss the dirty clothes in the laundry basket. Floordrobes are (increasingly) a thing of the past. I also use this time to pick out my clothes for the next day.
I also like to journal for 15 minutes in the evening. According to a study from Harvard Business School, writing for 15 minutes about how your day has been increases your productivity by over 20%. There’s a difference between thinking about things and writing them down, so give it a go for the next two weeks and let me know how you went, alright?
After all of that hard work, it’s time to crawl into bed and read until I’m ready to sleep.
Let’s get started on your very own, personalised evening routine.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What makes you feel like a rockstar when you wake up in the morning? I like waking up to a tidy kitchen and dining table because it makes breakfast easier, and I like eating, so anything that makes eating easier is good.
- What do you not want to wake up earlier to do? I hate making lunches in the morning. It just adds stress to the day.
- What are you worrying about? Taking 15 minutes to write down how you’re feeling and plan for tomorrow can leave you calm enough to actually fall asleep easily.
- How long can you realistically spend on your evening routine? I take about an hour because that’s what works for me, but you can take as long as you like. Just remember that the shorter the time you allocate, the less you can reasonably achieve. A fifteen minute routine is unlikely to give you much time to do all the dishes, make lunch, shower and brush your teeth, so be realistic about what you want to achieve here.
Make it happen.
Now, block it out. Write it down. Put it in your diary. Scribble it on a post-it. It doesn’t really matter how you do this, the important part is that you do it.
Now it’s time to implement. Make a pact with yourself. Pull out your diary and write in the date you would like to start on your brand new evening routine. Figure out why it’s important to you to start on that particular date. Is it because every new habit you form must start on a Monday? That’s cool, I have that issue. It’s okay. But write down why you want this. Is it because you’re tired of being disorganised? Is it because you’re sick of being anxious? Any reason is a good reason. The only person you need to convince is yourself. Make the commitment and roll with it.
Do you have an evening routine?