Routines II: my Evening Routine

by Frank Martin

This is part two of a series about creating morning and evening routines. For part one go here. Part three is coming next week.

A morning routine has been part of my day since I got out of college, but I still ended up crashing in the evenings. For the past week or two, I’ve been working on making a habit of a simple evening routine: Clean kitchen, watch an episode of TV, write out a short to-do list and set out my clothes for the next day, get ready for bed, and read for a while before going to sleep. This gives me a chance to wind down from the day thats just ended, reflect, and get ready for the next.

An evening routine is less involved than a morning one, focused on preparing for tomorrow and winding down after today. By cleaning the kitchen, I’m ensuring I wake up to a clean(er) house, which means less stress in the morning. The to-do list (which is three to five Most Important Tasks) means I have a solid sense of what I want to get done the next day, although its not all inclusive. Putting clothes out the night before isn’t necessary, but streamlines the morning routine. The only thing I’d add to the mix is journaling, which I’ve done sporadically before and always enjoyed, and a short yoga routine.

The process for creating an evening routine isn’t much different from the morning one, except instead of getting activities in that you enjoy, the focus is on reflection, winding down, and preparation. Preparation includes cleaning the house (not top to bottom, focus more on things like doing dishes, cleaning up obvious messes, etc), writing out a to-do list (three to five MITs), and setting out the next day’s clothes. Reflection is the one thing missing from my routine at the moment, but can can include journaling, mentally going back through the day, or any activity that allows you to reflect on the day thats just ended and anything going on in your head. Winding down might be yoga, or reading, or taking the time to enjoy a cup of decaf tea, or  any other activities you find relaxing. Give yourself time between what you’ve been doing during the day and sleep, so that your brain and body can slow down and relax.

Sound like a good idea? Have you tried to start an evening routine before and struggled? Has a morning routine given you problems? Leave a comment down in the comments, or tweet me @rfrankmartin.

Have questions for me? Morning/evening routine related or not, tweet me or head over to the ask page on my tumblog. You might just see the answer posted there, or used as fodder for a future post on the tumblog or here.