Do you have an evening routine? I bet you have. We all have certain rituals we perform before tucking ourselves in for the night. Even if it’s just washing our face and brushing our teeth.
But have you thought about how to use your evening routine to help you get more out of every day?
We’ve all heard a tonne of advice about morning routines. Every man and his dog has heard about the miracle morning (click here if you haven’t). And we’re constantly being told how super-successful people are up 5.30am and have done an hour of yoga and meditation before you or I have even reached out for the snooze button.
But evening routines and rituals are just as important. They’re key to setting yourself up for a good night’s sleep and a productive morning the following day.How to use your evening routine to help you get more out of every dayClick To Tweet
What is an evening routine?
Top athletes and sports people often have a preparation ritual they go through to get themselves ready for a big shot, kick or game. They have a prescribed set of actions to get themselves in the zone.
Do you remember how the legendary England rugby player and World Cup winner, Jonny Wilkinson, used to hold his hands together and do a little dance on the spot before taking penalty kicks?
That was part of the routine he used to get himself in the right mental and physical space to take those winning kicks under extreme pressure.
We might not be under the same pressure as sports people but we can use the power of rituals in everyday life.
An evening routine is a set of steps you take to bring one day to a close and get ready for the next. We are creatures of habit so no matter how free-flowing you like to be I’m sure there are certain actions you take every evening out of habit, without thinking about them.
However, sometimes our habits hinder rather than help us. Does any of this sound familiar?
- No matter how hard you try you usually stay up too late and end up feeling knackered the next day.
- You struggle to get to sleep because you’ve got into the habit of scrolling through you phone right before bed.
- You’re always rushing about in the morning because you never remember to get your child’s school water, fruit and school books ready the night before. (Ahem! Guilty!)
The great news is that we can change our habits, to set ourselves up for success. Just like Jonny Wilkinson. (And if you don’t know who Jonny Wilkinson is, you’re clearly not English so it probably doesn’t matter!).
The benefits of enhancing your evening routine
As I mentioned above, we all fall into habits that make up our daily rituals. So why not take a look at what you do and try to optimise it.
Here’s why it’s worth tweaking your routine to make it work better for you:
- so you can get to bed early and sleep better;
- to help you stop worrying about your day by drawing a mental line under it;
- to mentally prepare for the next day;
- so you can get organised for the next morning.
And listen, it doesn’t have to be anything rigid or complicated. Just a simple set of actions you take to draw one day to a close and get ready for the next.
For me, putting some thought into my evening routine has helped me get the mornings off to a much happier, calmer start. There’s been far less yelling required to get us out of the door to school, and I can get to my desk knowing exactly what I need to achieve that day.
My evening routine
I read The Miracle Morning a couple of years ago, but I’d never given much thought to my evening routine until I read this blog post by Michael Hyatt.
Now I have Michael Hyatt’s planner, the Full Focus Planner, and in it there’s a double page spread dedicated to creating ‘rituals’. There are four – morning, evening, workday startup and workday shutdown. Here’s my evening ritual:
Notice how each activity has a length of time next next to it. This means I can work out how long my evening routine should take, and can start it in time to get to bed when I want to.
I aim to be asleep by 10.30pm on weeknights so if I want to achieve that I need to kick off my routine by 9.30pm.
I created this routine in early September and it’s not written in stone. Tweak your routine as you go. For instance, I’ve added in getting my daughter’s fruit and water ready for school to avoid the morning rush. And it’ll continue to change as life inevitably does!
The beauty of the Full Focus Planner is that you get the opportunity to totally revise your rituals every quarter.
How to improve your own evening routine
So here’s what to do.
- Get a sheet of paper and write down your current routine.
- Now thing about your aims. What would you like an evening routine to make possible? Whether it’s going to bed earlier, sleeping better or being better prepared for those busy weekday mornings.
- Write down the activities you could do to make those aims possible and how long they’ll take. Writing a journal might help take a load off your mind so you can get to sleep. Going over your to-do list for tomorrow might help you start the next day with a clear plan. Maybe you could pack lunches the night before or get breakfast things ready?
- Add up the time you need to allow for your routine. Then put a reminder in your phone when it’s time to start your evening routine.
Remember to tweak it as you go. You’ll naturally find that some things don’t pan out. For instance cleaning out our rabbit’s cage used to be part of my evening routine, but it takes too long so now it’s part of my morning routine
And like I said, it’s not rigid. My priority is to get to bed by 10.30pm so if I’ve stayed at later than normal watching something unmissable – like the George Michael documentary that was on last week for instance – sometimes I drop parts of the routine to achieve that.
So do you think an evening routine would work for you? Do you already have an evening routine or have you tried to improve yours? What worked, and what didn’t?