A Great Evening Routine

Claas Lexion 580 - Evening Harvest 2

By Tony Hisgett (Flickr: Evening Harvest 2) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Do you have a nighttime routine?

The time right before you go to sleep is a crucial time, and creating a routine before bedtime can yield amazing results in your productivity.

I have already written about waking up earlier, so if you have followed my advice you are going to feel like going to bed early, too.

Here is the routine my wife and I have been following each evening before going to bed:

  • pack lunch
  • wash all dishes and clean counters, leaving kitchen spotless
  • check calendar for the next day (week?)
  • write down goals for the next day (otherwise known as MITs if you read Getting Things Done)
  • pick up all clutter (toys!) so the house is almost spotless when you wake up
  • read a good book (or write, or practice if you are a musician)

Obviously, you will want to tweak this list to meet your needs, but the most important aspects are: You’re cleaning up so that the house is beautifully clean when you awake; you are reviewing notes from your day and planning for the next, and you are prepping your stuff (clothes, food, etc.) for the next day so you save time in the morning.

How to Establish a Routine

So what if this whole routine thing is new to you?  We are creatures of habit, but routines can be tough to establish.

Establishing routines
It might sound easy to establish routines like the ones listed above, but it’s just as easy to fall out of them. You want to make them a habit that will stick.

Here are some tips to establish a routine:

  1. Be intense about it. Make a new routine your primary goal for one month, and focus on it with laser-like intensity. If you are new to the “creating new habits” hang, understand that having too many habits at once  makes success less likely.
  2. Make sure the routine adds value. When I started running in the morning, I felt amazing.  A good routine should make you feel good afterwards. A good evening routine should be calming and help you go to bed with “no strings attached”.
  3. Journal your progress. Reporting your progress in a journal or marking a calendar with stars is extremely helpful. You want to start the ball rolling and keep tabs on your progress in order to stay the course on your routine.

Do you have an interesting evening routine?  Leave a comment…I need ideas!

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