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If there has been one habit that has really helped me pull my life together, it has been an evening routine. Most people credit their morning routines as their life altering holy grail. Really, for me, it has been establishing set routines and habits in the evening to prepare for the next day.
And really, what better time to start an evening routine than Fall? Imagine this: you come home on a chilly day, plant yourself on the couch with a blanket, a glass of wine/cup of tea, a fireplace (I hope you all share my excessive enthusiasm about fireplaces. And tea.) and all of the things you need to make your life great? Is there any better place to be curled up with a book, listening or a podcast or planning your week? No? Right. Didn’t think so.
The evening routine is critical because it is really the preparation and building block of your next day. You already can’t do anything to change what has happened today, but you can certainly pick yourself up and make sure that tomorrow is great.
So what should you include in your evening routine?
Prep for the next day
This is really the absolute most important thing to include, and it needs to be done before you start sipping back that glass of wine we talked about earlier. Everything else that you choose to do is totally optional except this. If you don’t prepare for the next day, you are going to be running late, life is going to be chaotic, and you’re going to end up on this downward spiral that is going to ruin your mindset for the whole day. You can’t meet goals like that.
First off, prepare your food for the day. Whether you have to leave the house early to head out to work or you know you’re going to be home looking after kids all day, prepare your food. Decide what you’re going to have for each meal and do what you can to prepare. This is going to be key to having a productive day. You’re going to make sure you have a great breakfast that is going to help fuel you through the day. Your lunch is going to be balanced and you’re going to be super pumped that you made good choices, which will then spill into other areas of your life. Once dinner time comes, there is no stress! Defrost something if necessary, prep vegetables to go in a slow cooker in the morning, make sure your lunch is packed…I know you have this all figured out, and your day is going to be so much better for it.
Figure out your clothing situation. Pick out your clothes for the next day, and everyone else’s too if you have any little humans that are dependent on you. The time to look for socks is not 5 minutes before you leave the door, only to find they’re all wet in the washer because you forgot to switch clothes over to the dryer (can you tell I’ve been here before?). Choose your clothes, lay it out, make sure everything is clean.
If you’re someone who heads to the gym, where is your stuff? Do you have your bag packed? No? Well, you probably aren’t going to end up going. Go pack your bag and put it somewhere you know you won’t forget it.
Next: Where are your keys? Where is your purse? Where is your wallet? These are the things that are going to slow you down in the morning. Make sure you know where this stuff is!
Also, clean. Tidy up whatever you can. There is a purpose behind this: if you come out of your bedroom tomorrow morning and everything is a mess, how is that going to make you feel? For me, there is literally nothing worse than coming down the steps and seeing undone dishes or crap lying around the house. It’ll take you just a few minutes, do it now.
Plan for the next day
Alright, you made it through the basics. Time to settle in with your blankets and drinks. Break out the planner and the pretty pens. I use my Day Designer because it gives me the ultimate control over my day. I can choose my top tasks for the day, form a to-do list, menu plan and write out a daily schedule, hour by hour. It is so easy to time block in the Day Designer. I love it, you guys.
Spend some time figuring out exactly what needs to be done tomorrow. Write in the things that are absolutely necessary to be done, and write in the things that are non-negotiable for you to have a good day tomorrow. For me, I need to make sure that I plan in time for blogging and making this place awesome for you guys. Whatever your goals are, make a top three and write them down. Hold yourself accountable.
I find that reading books that motivate me towards meeting my goals are good to throw in here. I don’t often have time to read or listen to podcasts throughout the day, so this is prime time for some personal development. You don’t have to put limits on this. If you want to read 10 pages, read ten pages. If you have an hour to spare, go for it. This is a great time of day to invest in yourself and your well being.
Get In Your Head
I won’t say meditate, because I know that the idea of meditation turns some people off. I will say, though, that it is super important to take some time by yourself to think. You need to set goals and you need to figure out plans. You need to process what has happened to you during the day. You need to tell off the people that you never told off during the day (Anyone else do this? No? Just me, then.) So whatever you want to call it, take that time to get all those thoughts out of your head so that they aren’t running into tomorrow. Those thoughts need to stay on this day.
Do Something Fun
Do something that you enjoy. This is your time for self-care. This is the time of the day that is set aside specifically for you. You’ve done a lot for other people during the day and now is the time to give back to you. Watch some Netflix, scroll through Instagram, spend time with your partner.
So there you have it, an evening routine. It may take a while to figure out what works for you, but I can promise that it will work for you. My life became exponentially better when I implemented just these few things every single night.