The way in which you structure your evenings can have an incredible impact on the success of the next day. Creating evening routines reduces stress, provides clarity, improves sleep, and gets you ready for a productive tomorrow.
Why do evening routines matter?
You’ve probably heard about the importance of having a morning routine. Your morning routine can help you make the most of the day ahead. But have you considered how the night before affects your entire day?
Your evening routine affects whether or not your morning routine will even work. After all, it’s very difficult to get up on time, eat a healthy breakfast, or go for a morning jog if you were burning the midnight oil the night before.
A good evening routine will leave you feeling relaxed, help you remove unnecessary stress, and promote quality sleep.
6 evening routines to boost your daily productivity
1. Streamline your morning
Start your evening routine by making any physical preparations necessary for the next day. You can start in the kitchen. Pack your lunch (and your kids’ lunches if necessary), set up the coffee pot, and think about whether you need to pull out meat or make other preparations for tomorrow’s dinner.
Then, walk through the house and do a basic clean up. You don’t have to get too picky, but aim to have the house decently clean when you go to bed so that you can wake up to an orderly space.
Lastly, set out your outfit for tomorrow. Do whatever you can to help your morning routine flow without extra stress or having to think through decisions.
2. Make a list for tomorrow
To prepare well for tomorrow, you need to know what tomorrow will hold. Working off your weekly to-do list, sit down and make your to-do list for the next day. Decide what must be done and what you hope will be done. Structure your day by planning to do the most important task first. Anything else that you can accomplish is just icing on the cake.
As you go through your evening routine, if you think of something that you forgot about that needs to be done, write it on your list. Writing tasks down allows you to remove stress and focus on what you’re doing rather than continually worrying about all that you need to do.
3. Wind down
…but not by watching tv.
Instead, take some time to do a relaxing activity that doesn’t require a screen, as blue light at night can be disruptive to sleep and may even lead to more significant health issues.
A better option is to take a bath, work on a craft you enjoy, drink some tea, listen to music, or spend time talking to a loved one. Choose an activity that is low-stress and signals to your brain that it’s time to wind down.
Perhaps best of all, reading is an excellent option for ending the evening. Not only is it enjoyable for many people, but it also “has the physical benefits of reducing your heart rate and easing muscle tension”, according to Kumon. Many successful figures such as Tim Ferriss, Bill Gates, and Barack Obama are known to spend time reading each night as part of their evening routine.
4. Reflect on the day
Before going to bed, spend a few minutes reflecting on the day. For many, journaling or drawing provides a way to think through the events of the day. Think about what you are grateful for from today and write down your thoughts. This is also a good time to jot down anything that’s on your mind for tomorrow. Get everything on paper so that you don’t have to worry about tomorrow or next week’s tasks while you’re trying to sleep.
5. Turn off your electronics
According to a study from Harvard Health, it’s best to avoid looking at blue light (produced by electronic devices) for two to three hours before going to sleep. If you do want to enjoy watching tv in the evenings, aim to do so in the earlier evening hours.
In addition to turning off the tv, consider putting away your phone and computer a couple of hours before bedtime. Not only does the lack of blue light from electronics help signal to your brain that it’s nighttime, but it also reduces the opportunity for unnecessary stress from social media or even from work emails.
Keep your phone charging in a different room so that you don’t have to worry about fighting the urge to scroll right before bed (or first thing in the morning).
6. Go to bed on time
Lastly, go to bed on time – and at the same time every day. Humans thrive on routine, and your body will do best when it can expect to get some sleep at around the same time each night. Aim to choose a bed time that allows you at least 7 hours of sleep before your alarm clock sounds.
Want to know more about daily productivity?
Check out our blog posts on productivity to read more of our favorite tips for making the most of your days!