Why You Need to Have an Evening Routine

Evening routines don’t get nearly the love that morning routines do. If you do a quick Google search for the term “evening routine,” you’ll find one-third of the results that the term “morning routine” does. Now I’m not against morning routines in the slightest; I believe that you need to have routines at both the start and end of your day.

These routines act like bookends for the day, providing your mind with valuable constants. These then act as triggers for what to do when you get out of bed in the morning and when you return to bed at night.

An evening routine doesn’t have to be complicated or complex. Here’s a sample of a quick evening routine that you could establish tonight:

  1. Read a paper book for 30 minutes. (Note: Don’t read a digital one because the light emitting from most e-reading devices can actually cause you to have trouble getting to sleep.)
  2. Drink a cup of non-caffeinated tea. (Chamomile is one of my favourites.)
  3. Floss your teeth, then brush them. (I floss first because I wasn’t for a long time and in order to build the habit I use flossing as the trigger task before brushing. I CAN’T brush until I floss this way.)
  4. Have a bottle of water on your bedside table or in the bathroom ready to drink when you wake up. (I just started doing this because I don’t want my first full drink of the day to be coffee…even if it is decaf that I drink.)
  5. Go to bed.

Setting up a simple evening routine doesn’t just prepare you for bed, it also prepares you for the next day and beyond.

By reading for 30 minutes before bed, I am preparing myself for sleep (I prefer paper books) and entertaining/informing myself along the way. By flossing before brushing, I’m keeping my teeth healthy for every dental checkup. By preparing my first drink of water the night before and placing it where I will go when I wake up, I am setting myself up for a great start to the day with a bottle of room temperature water. (My wife says that drinking cold water anytime — let alone in the morning — isn’t ideal. She knows her stuff, so I listen to her.)

You could add other things to your evening routine if you want. I also go through my task apps and indicate My 3 Absolutes for the next day and plan for the day’s events (although my Daily Themes have a lot to do with that as well). I also journal before bed — I’ll do that before the first step in the example routine above.

If you want to get a sense of what some people do as part of their morning routines, then you can visit My Morning Routine. I suggest you start by reading this interview.

In Arnold Bennett’s How to Live on 24 Hours a Day he discusses that the day doesn’t simply contain the hours that you spend at work. There is more to consider because we all have 24 hours in a day — and those hours don’t just happen before we go to work. I strongly suggest you create an evening routine and treat it with the same stewardship as you would a morning routine. An evening routine will help you finish today strong… and start tomorrow even stronger.

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