A successful day begins with the preparations and routine from the night before. Believe it or not, a productive evening routine can set you up for a successful and smooth morning.
Evening routines are commonly thought to be a simple wind down method to get to bed, but if structured strategically, your evenings can be the most beneficial and productive part of the day.
A productive evening routine doesn’t require you to be a ‘night owl’. Just because you are accomplishing some minor tasks in the evening doesn’t mean you have to stay up past your usual bedtime.
A simple evening routine doesn’t take too much thought and focuses on preparations for the following day and a successful unwinding from the current day.
Here are some amazing activities to include in your productive evening routine.
Prep for the Morning Ahead
Instead of hopping straight into bed each night, spend a few minutes preparing your essentials for the next day. This takes all the guesswork out of what you will eat for breakfast or wear to work.
Instead of wasting time making these decisions in the morning, plan all that the night before. A few minutes before you lay down, decide on what you want to wear and set that out. This way you know exactly what to put on for work and avoid the indecision and constant changing of clothes.
Next, decide what you want to eat for breakfast and have the ingredients waiting for you. Each morning I like to drink a large glass of lemon water along with a smoothie. To save me time, I’ll set out the lemon and already have my water jar filled. I’ll even make my smoothie the night before so that all I have to do in the morning is drink it.
This type of preparation allows the morning to flow seamlessly without having to put much thought into the nitty-gritty.
Plan the Next Day and Review Your Goals
While some people like to wait until the morning to plan out their day, I find that it is extremely valuable and time-saving to plan my day the night before.
In order to have a productive morning, it helps to already have a clear focus and direction on what all needs to be accomplished. It wastes time and energy to have to carve out time each morning to figure out your day.
Instead, do that at night while you’re mind is still active and focused on the day you just had. By planning your day the night before, you are able to wake up in the morning already with a clear purpose on what you need to accomplish and the amount of time you’ll have to do so.
Your plan can be a simple list or a detailed schedule depending on what method works best for you. Some people find it easier to write down every single thing they have to do that day including work hours, classes, and meetings. Others find a simple checklist will do.
Depending on how busy or overwhelmed I feel, I will time block my day the night before so that every hour is accounted for.
The trick is to find what works for you and add it into your productive evening routine.
Additionally, it helps to use the evenings to mentally prepare for the mornings. If you have scheduled out your following day, you should be well aware of the goals you want/need to accomplish.
The evening is a great time to strategize on how the following day’s goals can be best accomplished.
Go to Bed at the Same Time
A routine is just that, a routine. If you struggle with laying in bed, wide awake for hours, try going to bed at the same time.
Eventually, your body will get used to this and begin to realize that it should be sleeping at this time every night.
A set bedtime also helps establish how much time you have to accomplish everything else in your productive evening routine. It helps to build your routine around your bedtime to ensure that you get everything done.
Here are some interesting observations about going to bed at the same time: Going to Sleep at the Same Time Everything Night Can Make You Smarter
Read a Chapter from a Book
Not everything in your evening routine needs to focus on preparation. Before you go to sleep, crack open a book and read a chapter.
Reading is amazing. It helps you wind down, boosts your knowledge, and gives you something to look forward to each night.
Many people say they don’t read because there is no time in the day. Well, the time is there, it just needs to be realized. For me and many others, that time is right before bed.
Usually, reading a chapter takes no longer than 30 minutes. Once I’m done, it’s lights out. This is much better and more productive than using your last 30 minutes of awake time scrolling through Instagram on your phone.
The great thing about reading is that you can read anything you want on whatever topic you are interested in. The book can be a story or a self-help or a how-to book. Literally, anything.
If you need help picking a book, I recommend using Goodreads to help you find the perfect books for your productive evening routine.
Channel Your Inner Night Owl
There has probably been a century-long debate about whether or not it’s better to be an early bird or a night owl. While being an early bird tends to win the popular vote, plenty of successful and amazing people were night owls. A few of these people include Winston Churchill, Barack Obama, and J.R.R Tolkien.
With that being said, if you feel productive and creative in the evening, utilize that! Just because everyone else wants to get the worm doesn’t mean that you can’t accomplish great things in the late night.
If you know that you work best at night, leave some time for you to get important and valuable work done before you go to sleep.
If you are both a night owl and an early bird, split the difference so that you can stay up somewhat late, wake up somewhat early, and still get enough sleep.
I personally am a night owl and I’ve accomplished tons of writing in the later hours.
Wake up to a clean house every morning by putting away anything out of place the night before.
Every day brings new stresses and messes. Don’t let that pileup. If each night you are picking up the house and your room you are allowing yourself the opportunity to live in a clutter-free environment.
Picking up should only take you a few minutes if you stick to doing it each night.
I guarantee that this addition to your productive evening routine will be extremely beneficial and help you sleep with a clearer mind.
I first heard about a gratitude journal from Oprah’s book, What I Know for Sure. It amazed me that she could look back at a journal entry from 10 years ago and see exactly what she was thankful for.
I have adopted this idea and started to keep a gratitude journal. Each night before bed I jot down 3 – 5 things I feel thankful for that day.
This simple and quick practice has turned into a great time of daily reflection and gratitude for the life I live.
I also find that now I go to sleep with a more grateful and appreciative heart.
Often times we can forget that there is anything for us to be grateful for. By forcing yourself to write down 3 – 5 things you are thankful for, it can really help change your perspective on life. It has definitely helped me and will be staying in my productive evening routine.
The last thing I would suggest putting into your productive evening routine is to spend time with family. While this may seem obvious, for some busy bee’s it can be hard.
Our family and loved one may not always be here, so take the time to value their presence each day. Spending time with family can also help you to unwind and relax. It might be the only time your mind is not distracted by work.
One thing you will never regret doing is making time for the people that love you.
A productive evening routine is completely possible with a few tweaks to your schedule and your mornings will thank you for it.
Enjoy your new and exciting evenings and may you be as productive as ever!