The morning routines of the highly successful have been getting a lot of attention. If you want to own your day, own your morning. Rising early to leverage those first precious hours of the day is indisputably effective. What about the end of your day, though?
Ending your day with an intentional strategy can be just as impactful on your productivity and mindset. Often times it can be tough to turn it all off at the close of day. An evening routine can serve you in many ways including closing up shop on your brain, setting yourself up for effective rest and closing out the feedback loop on your day so you feel accomplished rather than frazzled when you're head finally hits the pillow.
Add a thoughtful evening routine to your morning routine and you've just doubled your powers of success. Following is a quick list of ten things to build an evening routine that will help you to bookend your day and improve all the hours in between!
Set A Bedtime
Getting enough sleep is essential. End of story. While everyone's exact sleep needs are different, except for a special few, biologically you need a solid 7-8 hours of quality sleep. There have been numerous scientific studies and personal testimonies to support the case for logging a healthy number of sleeping hours. Reverse engineering from the time you need to wake up to get all the things in your day done and committing to a bedtime you stick to on the regular will ensure you're body is getting the rest it needs to perform all day.
Bed is for SLEEP Only
Make a pact with yourself that the plush oasis of your bed is a designated rest space. No work sessions, endless phone scrolling, middle of the night pedicures or other productive activities take place there. Setting this basic rule and sticking to it will signal to your subconscious that when you slide into bed it's time for rest. Not time to contemplate the inner workings of the perfect everything bagel seasoning. (Note: there are some non-restful exceptions to this rule and you may adjust accordingly for recreational activities as needed.)
You already know this, but I'm going to tell you again. Turn off those devices! Aside from the sleep-disrupting effects of bright screens, social media consumption or even a quick online shopping sesh, can trigger your brain into active mode. Even if you just remembered you need to order packing tape, jot it down on a note pad next to your pad for tomorrow. Shut it down and get to sleep.
Whether your family is two toddlers and a husband or an oversized Labrador Retriever, make time to connect with them every evening. Intentional family time will keep you connected with your WHY. It will also allow you to finish the day knowing your hustle doesn't short change the most important things in your life. Buh-bye middle-of-the-night guilt spiral.
A quick tidying of the house each evening is essential, aside from the obvious safety benefits.(Raise your hand if you've had a near-death experience attempting to navigate your way to the bathroom in the middle of the night!) The clutter in your environment can extend to your mind. Not to mention waking up to a neat space reduces the friction between you and a productive morning.
Put your brain to work for you overnight. Bust out the calendar and to-do list at the end of the day so you know exactly what needs to happen tomorrow. Items that didn't get done today can be reprioritized for tomorrow. Important appointments and meetings won't sneak up on you. It's powerful to drift off to dream knowing you're in charge of how tomorrow will unfold.
Progress can only happen if you're aware of where you've been, where you are and where you're ultimately headed. An evening ritual of reviewing your goals and evaluating your progress can keep you on track. Success is achieved through consistent action and monitoring your progress regularly will keep consistency at the forefront.
The end of the day when you've set down the tasks and responsibilities until tomorrow provides an excellent opportunity to let the creative juices flow. Doddle, sketch, paint, write, journal, macrame … whatever you fancy. Being creatively productive feeds your soul while relieving stress and making you a better problem solver!
It's nearly impossible to feel overwhelmed and anxious while simultaneously feeling grateful. Take a few moments to jot down 3-5 things every evening that you're feeling good about. We often overemphasize the impact of the negative things that happen in our day. Making a habit of reflecting on the positive things brings it all back into a more balanced perspective. It will also reduce the likelihood of obsessing into the wee hours of the morning.
An action-packed day of crushing your goals can build up quite a bit of tension in your body. A gentle stretching routine each evening can help you to destress, re-connect with your physical body (get out of your head!) and prevent potential midnight cramps that will disrupt your essential sleeping hours. Keep it low key. An active stretch session that raises your heart rate can actually disrupt your sleep.
As with any new habits you're working to implement pick one or two and try them for a while to see how they work in your own life. Keep the ones that serve you best, eliminate those that aren't producing results, and add something new. In a few weeks, you should have an effective evening routine that closes out your day with intention and sets you up for a strong start in the morning!