You hear a lot about a morning routine, but I’ve found that my evening routine is even more important. The things I do as part of my evening routine set everything up so my morning runs smoothly, no matter how late I get up.
No matter when I finally go to bed, I’m diligent about doing my evening routine that I’m diligent about doing because I know that it will make a big difference in my morning. I hate to start my morning feeling like I’m already behind and this nightly routine takes that feeling away.
I am definitely not a morning person. If you ask me, the day shouldn’t start until at least noon. I’m a night owl that regularly stays up until the wee hours of the morning.
My nightly routine is actually three routines, an after-work routine, an evening routine and a before bed. Since my before bed routine has nothing to do with my morning routine, I’ll cover it later
I end my work day (usually before dinner) by doing two things.
Clear My Desk
Everything I’ve gotten out goes back to its rightful place. This ensures I can find everything I need tomorrow. If I have a large project on the agenda for tomorrow, I also pull everything I will need so I’m ready to hit the ground running.
Prepare My Calendar & Task List
I review today’s task list and create my list for tomorrow. In addition, I review my appointments for tomorrow. This gives me a preview of my day for tomorrow. It’s also a good way to make sure that nothing falls through the cracks. I choose to do this at the end of my workday instead of before bed because most of my appointments and tasks are work-related.
Preparing a prioritized task list the night before also allows me to hit the ground running the next morning. It also makes sure that I am spending my time on the important things, not just the urgent items.
At the end of my evening, just before I head upstairs for the night, I do the following:
Pack my bags for tomorrow.
If I have things to do outside the house, I’m usually running tight. To keep things moving, I make sure that I have everything I will need packed and ready to go the night before. When my children were young, I also packed their bags the night before.
Straighten the House
I spend a few minutes each evening doing a quick pick up throughout the main area of the house. As I go, I return items to their proper locations. If everything has a place and is always in its place, it will be much easier to find when you need it. Plus, physical clutter is mental clutter. Your brain has to process all the clutter and try to remember where everything is. A few minutes to reduce the clutter each evening will go a long way to reducing your stress levels.
Clean the Kitchen
I usually unload the dishwasher in the morning and then add things all day long so there are very few dishes to pick up in the evening. Once I make sure everything is in, I start the dishwasher, so everything will be clean in the morning.
I also wipe down the kitchen counters and “shine” the kitchen sink. (Check out FlyLady.net to find out how motivating a shiny sink can be!) You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel in the morning when you walk into a clean organized space.
Plan My Clothes
Planning what I’ll wear the night before reduces a lot of stress the next morning. This also gives me an opportunity to adjust if something needs to be repaired. I also iron anything that needs it the night before. Being able to get up and get dressed without making any decisions is great. This gives my brain the opportunity to wake up slowly and enjoy the new day.
A less stressful, more enjoyable morning.
Doing these things the night before makes my morning run more smoothly. It also makes the rest of my day less stressful. Our stress level builds during the day. If we take the stress out of our mornings, we’ll start off at a lower level and probably end the day at a lower level. This not only makes us happier but healthier too.
Check back next month to see what my morning routine looks like. You’ll be amazed at just how few decisions I have to make during it. And fewer decisions means less stress
Want some other ideas to help your mornings? Try out these posts:
Want to work on your stress level? Check out: Stress Management.
What do you do each evening that makes tomorrow better? Let me know in the comments below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.