Why is a productive evening routine important?
A productive evening routine allows us to be able to wind down from a busy day and prepare for a new one without feeling overwhelmed and stressed. A routine in which we know we are prepared for the next day may also contribute to a better night’s sleep, which will allow for a better start for the following morning and a higher chance of overall success.
Tips for retraining your mindset
Creating a productive evening routine means that you are going to retrain your mindset, particularly if you have lived in a chaotic lifestyle for a long period of time.
- Start small – try and tackle one thing at a time rather than everything at once.
- When beginning to create a routine, stick to strict timeframes. This may sound a little regimented, but setting small timeframes to work on and complete tasks will help to retrain your mindset until your routine becomes habitual. For example, 8.00pm could be a time in which phones are switched off, 8.30pm could be set for meditation etc.
Here are some great ideas for creating a productive evening routine that works for you:
1. Prepare for the next day in advance
Take the stress out of your day and get a head start by preparing everything that you can in advance. Make lunch (or lunches), pack bags, get clothing out ready to be worn and find your essentials like purse, reading glasses, wallet, diary and keys so that they are all in one place.
Want to save even more time? Meal planning is a great way to save the mental time and energy of trying to work out what to cook and when. Here are some great ideas for meal planning.
2. Keep an updated calendar and check it every evening
Knowing what is coming up will help to relieve stress levels and plan in advance. Knowing when the next dentist appointment, vets appointment, visit from a tradesperson or cleaner allows advanced planning and avoid the last-minute rush when something important is suddenly remembered. If there is an important birthday or celebration next week, write a card in advance so that it is ready to post.
3. Tidy up and clean before you go to bed
Waking up to chores and mess that need to be tackled before leaving the house is likely to create a more stressful morning, so do as many chores as you can before winding down from the day. Wash the dishes and put them away, tidy up any mess and clutter, take the rubbish out. Save the larger cleaning jobs for weekends or when you have larger chunks of time, but keeping on top of the small tasks will make it feel less overwhelming.
4. Avoid unhealthy snacks and alcohol
Sugary snacks can affect insulin levels and causes blood sugar levels to yo-yo, which will affect sleep patterns. Certain food may contain hidden levels of caffeine. Heavier foods will put a strain on the digestive system which will also affect sleep patterns.
5. Write in a journal or create a to-do list
Writing your thoughts down in a journal or creating a to-do list for the next day will potentially release negative thoughts that have been built up during the day and create a better night’s sleep. It will also save time in the morning – knowing what your tasks are for the day will mean that you don’t have to spend time rushing to figure out what you need to do and when.
6. Put down the technology
The blue light that is emitted from our devices actually wakes up the brain, so instead of watching videos and checking your social media before you try and go to sleep, put away your technology, read a book or listen to calming music.
7. Start a ‘wind down’ routine that works for you
When creating a productive evening routine, start a point in which you mindfully wind down. Avoid watching movies or TV programmes that are likely to wake up up, switch off your phones, take a relaxing hot bath and/or meditate. Dim the lights, put on freshly-washed pyjamas, light candles, do some breathing or relaxation exercises. Be mindful about every activity, think about what you’re doing when you’re doing it and take the time to be present.
8. Go to bed earlier
Where possible, go to bed earlier. A good night’s sleep allows the body and mind to heal and will mean that you wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the next day. Try making your bedtime half-an-hour earlier than usual.
A final thought…
Remember not to feel discouraged if you find creating an evening routine more difficult than expected. A great evening routine that works for you will involve lots of trial and error and it is likely that unexpected things will get in the way. Remember not to beat yourself up if you find yourself wide-awake at 1.00am. This, like everything else, takes time and the more you do it, the easier it will become.