How to Create an Evening Routine that Makes you More Productive
There's a lot of talk about morning routines. Even I've shared how I wake up super early and have a structured routine. However, your morning routine really starts the night before and takes some prep so that your mornings run smoothly. Even if you're not waking up at 4 am like me, having a nighttime routine can make your mornings a little easier and help you have a more productive day.
What's most important?
If you wake up at 4 am and have no reason to be awake until 7 am, that snooze button is going to look real good. Having a reason to get up and out of bed is the first step to a better morning routine. Maybe it's as simple as not rushing off to work, you want time for breakfast or to put on matching socks. Maybe it's bigger than that, like wanting time to read a book, meditate or workout.
Whatever your reason is for getting up earlier, it needs to drive you to jump out of bed instead of rolling over on your phone first thing. If you need tips on waking up early, check out this post.
Get to bed earlier
Especially now that I'm pregnant, I have no shame at all in being in bed by 8 pm. Before I got pregnant, 9 pm was my regular bedtime. Keep in mind that I wake up around 4 am, so getting 7-9 hours of sleep is super important to me. I don't work well at night anyway and I prefer the early mornings, so adjusting my lifestyle to fit this schedule was really no issue at all.
For you, this might look completely different, or maybe you stick by a schedule except on the weekends. Do what works for your wake-up time, but make sure you're getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night. No one can wake up at 4 am every day if you're in bed by 3 am. That's something crazy people do.
Waking up earlier means making sacrifices so that your mornings become the priority. It doesn't mean you can't see the occasional late-night movie, or stay out later on the weekends. It just means setting up your expectations the night before so that your goals are attainable in the mornings.
Invest in Your Space
Another important aspect to your bedtime is how you set up your room. Sleep is a HUGE part of life. Invest in a good mattress, good pillows and good sheets (it’s time to say goodbye to your college sheets). When my husband first started having back pain, we decided to hunt for the best mattress for lower back pain and decided on GhostBed. We’ve had the mattress for almost three years now and it’s still one of our favorite purchases. This brand also make pillows, bed frames and bedding!
For our anniversary we upgraded our bedding and got a set from Brooklinen. These are SO cozy. This brand has pillows, comforters and bath products as well.
Make personal care a priority
The evenings are a great time to prioritize self-care. Take some time to use a face mask, paint your nails, take your vitamins, drink some extra water. During the morning and your work day, life can get busy, and you might crawl home at the end of the day ready to relax.
Instead of binge watching Netflix, use the time to do things that nourish your body and mind. Read a book, listen to a podcast, journal, pamper yourself, do a Bible study. Self-care doesn't always mean bath bombs and wine, self-care is whatever you need to feel refreshed and calm.
Sometime self-care for me, means making a meal plan for the month or catching up on tidying the house. It might mean running errands I've been putting off for weeks, because once they're done all that stress melts away. Do something each evening that helps you feel relaxed, focused or less stressed.
Prepare yourself for the next morning
Cleaning, showering, prepping your meals for the next day? What do you dread doing in the morning, or what gets skipped after you've hit snooze one too many times? That's what you should do at night.
For myself, I like waking up to a clean home, so my husband and I always tidy up before going to bed. We usually run the dishwasher or the dryer at night and empty them in the AM.
Figure out what is most important to you in the morning and what takes time away from that thing. What helps you get out of bed, excited for the day? Do it the night before. It might be a yummy breakfast, a good workout, a clean home, or a fresh cup of coffee - whatever it is, do what you can the night before to set up a good environment in the morning.
My typical routine
WHAT THE DAY LOOKS LIKE
2 pm - get home from work, take the dog outside, grab a snack
2:30 pm - take a quick nap #pregnantlife
3 pm - unload the dishes / fold the clothes / vacuum / tidy up the house / make sure we have everything for dinner and prep anything we need ready
4 pm - my husband and SIL get home from work, I work on my business or we have doctor appointments around this time
5:30 pm - we cook dinner and watch a show together while we eat
6:30 pm - whoever didn't cook is on dishes duty while the other two take the dog for a walk
7:00 pm - I start getting ready for bed
8:30 pm - I'm in bed or already asleep
GETTING READY FOR BED
Brush my teeth & floss
Braid my hair or wash it
Change into PJ's and put lotion on my tummy & legs (to avoid stretch marks)
Wash my face and apply night serum
Pluck any crazy eyebrow hairs and do my nails if needed
Crawl into bed with a book or listen to a Headspace mediation
Set my Sleep Cycle alarm and get cozy