10 Evening Routines That Will Make You Productive at Work and Life
“The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war.” Norman Schwarzkopf
The sound of the alarm fills the room. But the warmth of the blanket and comfort of the bed are so inviting.
You know you need to get up. Yet, the most satisfying decision to make is to hit up the snooze button and reward yourself with few more minutes of sleep.
There you go — wandering in the dreamland. Forgetting all the worries the day might bring. Ignoring all negativities that linger around. Dismissing all procrastination that might come next. Savoring every second of comfort that snooze can give.
Then, reality kicks in. You wait until the last second to get out of bed. You have no energy to start the day.
In turn, you missed having your breakfast. You forgot some important things at home as you rush to work or school. You procrastinate. You feel sick up to your stomach.
Stress starts to creep in. And before you knew it, your energy level depletes. You have no desire to continue the day. Therefore, affecting the quality of work you do.
You have tried setting up your morning routine. You experimented on all tips shared to you. Yet, you still find yourself struggling to get up and stop hitting the snooze button.
Maybe you are like me. Establishing a grand morning routine is unachievable for you. But tweaking some habits before you sleep creates a huge difference.
It’s Time to Get Real With Yourself
Humans are wired differently — what works for others may not work for you.
Some people wake up each morning without difficulties and seem to have the high level of energy to do things.
Then, there’s another side of the spectrum — those who struggle to find the energy needed to face the morning.
You are not like dolphins that could go without full sleep for 15 days but still stay alert.
Or unlike an albatross who can still perform their work such as flying thousands of miles while sleeping.
In fact, animal studies suggest that being a morning or evening person may be built into genes. It explains why some of us have difficulty tackling up tasks early morning or perform best during evening.
If you have perfected your morning routine and nailing every hour of your day, then this post is not for you.
But if you’ve been stuck trying to work on your morning routine, welcome to the club!
You are not alone. You probably belong to my tribe.
The key is taking some baby steps as you try to knock out every milestone you wish to accomplish.
You have to be honest with yourself and accept the truth that some things may not work for you.
The best thing is when you acknowledge that truth, you open yourself to more possibilities of other things that may work extremely best for you.
The following evening routines are based on examples given by people who performed well in their areas.
They recognize the need to take advantage of the energy they have at night. They embraced the opportunity that only night time can give. They took advantage of the power darkness can provide.
You too can benefit from it. Choose one or two that you want to implement.
In turn, a tremendous difference can help you the next day. You won’t feel guilty on not achieving the morning routine others expect from you.
It might even lead to a greater productivity the next day.
So here you go:
1. Avoid Randomness
“We’re all part of one big machine, whether we are conscious of that or not. And if we can’t unplug from that machine, eventually we’re going to become mindless.” — Alan Lightman
Let me guess…you have so many activities lined up during the day. Therefore, your mind is overwhelmed on which one you should prioritize.
It even comes to the point that you bring them to sleep. This creates an even great deal of challenge to have a satisfying sleep.
Brendon Burchard encourages to avoid randomness when you are ready to wind down your day. This includes not getting stuck in front of screens, social media or even doing a marathon of our favorite show. He says that the brain is firing up dopamine when you have so many random things that run in your mind — in turn, causing you to struggle to sleep.
Arianna Huffington, the founder of Thrive Global, likewise shares the same view when she made a decision to keep her bedroom screen-free zone. She opts to leave her electronics outside her bedroom and keep the atmosphere a conducive place for sleeping. She is likewise an advocate of getting proper sleep after her fainting experience from exhaustion.
I know, I know. This can be quite challenging. Not ready for this yet?
Okay, give yourself some love and move on to the other ways below.
2. Eliminate Negativity
“Protect your enthusiasm from the negativity of others.” — H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
So you dread night time because of negative thoughts lingering in your mind?
The moment you hit the bed, they all start racing inside your minds. Thinking of the first debt to pay, the paper to submit, the meetings to attend, the pimples to eliminate, oh, and the list goes on and on.
It’s been increasingly difficult to sleep when you are stressed out. The brain is continuously working and getting confused whether it’s time to rest or work.
Negative emotions can lower your immunity.
It affects every part of your body. Carrying it up to sleep will all the more affect your health causing you to lack the necessary rest your body needs.
Shut off negativity from your system, at least during the time to rest. It has no space in your life and should never be given.
Doing something that lights you up can help shift the mood. Force your mind to think of good thoughts. Kill those unwanted thoughts that try to dominate your mind.
Michael Hyatt, a former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publisher, made a decision to eliminate negative inputs every night. He tries to filter his mind from negativities by avoiding negative news and conversations. He also gets to bed at a designated time which he claims to help him be productive the next day.
3. Do One Thing You Love
“A hobby a day keeps the doldrums away.” — Phyllis McGinley
Your brain relaxes when you do something that is delightful. The brain is stimulated when you are happy which improves your cognitive alertness and productivity.
It puts you in a safe zone where you can enjoy yourself for the time being. Doing it just before going to bed is the best time because it helps to seal the positive energy that will condition your mind the next day.
So why for pity’s sake you’re not giving it chance to enjoy?
Oprah Winfrey and other known people proudly confess their love for reading just before bed time. Oprah reads about whatever interest she has at the moment. Just a few minutes before she lands on the bed, she writes down things she is extremely grateful for.
I personally read fiction stories before bed time. I save serious readings during the day because I feel the need to take down notes. I unleash my imagination every night and revel in the beauty that fiction stories provide.
Oh, please don’t ask me how many times I have read Anne of Green Gables.
I must be reading inside the house when God poured out that blessing.
So whether it’s crocheting, reading, listening to music or whatever you like doing, take advantage doing it every night. Let yourself enjoy on things that bring the spark. Do something heroic for yourself and let time be your friend by allotting it to something that lets you escape the busy life.
Just make sure it doesn’t require too much cleaning so you can easily doze off when those eyelids feel heavy.
4. Plan Out the Next Day
“Failing to plan is planning to fail.” — Allan Lakein
Nothing can be so frustrating than welcoming a new day without a clear plan of action. It leads to more distractions and decrease in productivity.
Investor, Marcus Lemonis, shared one of his key secrets to success. Before going to bed every night, he makes a quick list of the things he will deal with the next day. He sets them up as his priorities before noon arrives to make sure they will get done right away.
a. It gives you a clear idea of what you intend to do the next day.
It will also help you steer toward the things you need to accomplish instead of responding to everyone’s needs.
b. You can decide what time of the day you can do the activities.
It will give you a clear view of which one should you tackle first. If your energy soars every morning, then hit those activities right away.
By planning the night before, the unconscious and subconscious mind will be working to generate ideas and solutions and pull information in the past memory to apply in the situation.
5. Read Goals Before Sleeping
“Review your goals twice every day in order to be focused on achieving them.” — Les Brown
I’m sure you know the power of goals by now. I won’t deliberate them here. But in case you want me, another post will be allotted for that.
Just like traveling, without knowing the exact destination, you wouldn’t know the right directions to go.
Power of Broke author and one of the Sharks, Daymond John, read through his goals before going to sleep and the moment he wakes up. By doing so, it reminds him that he has things to fulfill and conditions his mind to be productive the next day.
“You become what you think about most of the time. You achieve what you think about most of the time.”
So even in sleep, train your mind to think of the things you want to become. Thinking is free, so don’t limit yourself.
6. Allot a Moment of Reflection and Prayer
“When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.” — Gilbert K. Chesterton
There are so many things to learn from Benjamin Franklin. My most favorite is his emphasis on moral virtues. He has a list of virtues he tries to adhere every day and evaluates whether he improves.
One notable thing he does every night before sleeping is asking himself: “What good have I done today?”
A question we should all be asking. Knowing that quality of life isn’t just all about us but what good have we all contributed to our brothers and sisters in need.
Setting aside a moment for prayer or gratitude will help to set the mood right.
To be reminded that there are things to be thankful for the day you just had. To appreciate you arrived safely at home and enjoy the sweet atmosphere of the room. To know that you have a chance to enjoy the comfort you have that other people are longing for.
7. Set Things For Tomorrow
“The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.” — H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
There’s nothing more stressing than rushing early morning. Finding out you missed your alarm. Hurrying to make up for the lost time. Missing out on breakfast. Whining on your self, spouse or children. Therefore, ruining the rest of your day.
A simple way to solve it is by preparing the night before. This takes time to develop but once you get used to it, it feels like a part of your system.
Growing up, I shared a room with my three sisters. We hated morning routine because we all cram up at the same schedule. We come back home exhausted only to be welcomed by a chaotic room. Everyone complains but nobody has a desire to clean because it will still be the same scenario the next day. It gets fixed when one of us feels the guilt.
That’s the time I learned the importance of preparing the night before. One of my sisters takes around two hours to dress up and prepare herself. We also prepare our breakfast the night before and just reheat it.
I know my weakness. I am not good at procrastinating. My sisters hate it when I cry if I don’t find something I need when it’s time for school (even when I was in college, but I’m a changed woman now :) ).
I am not definitely wired to work quickly the moment I wake up. I make adjustments the night before to make my morning a little smoother.
I prepare my clothes and things I need the next day. That only takes around 15 minutes as compared to the time I would be wasting the next day on searching for a pair of stockings only to find out they’re all dirty.
Agh, life! Oh please don’t judge me.
Making small adjustments during night time on your greatest struggle each morning can help you be more productive the next day. It can be preparing breakfast or lunch or deciding on your outfit — be kind and help yourself tonight.
8. Set Exclusive Family Ritual Routine
“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.” — Richard Bach
You do want to travel down the memory lane looking back on the happy times, right?
After dinner is the perfect time to mellow down a little bit and share some quality time with the people you value. Taking advantage on the bonding time that will be remembered for decades.
Erin Freschi, a California mom, has replaced her storytelling time ritual with her son by watching and listening to TED talks. She reveals it strengthened the bond with her son while learning at the same time. Later on, her husband joins them too, so now, it is a family ritual they do before they end the night.
Former President Barack Obama has a different routine too that I think family people like me can relate. Her wife, Michelle Obama, reveals their family routine is tucking-in each other during bedtime. It is also the time they do their personal talk which strengthened their bond as a couple and family.
Remember the very reason why you are working very hard. Share some precious time to people you value — whether it’s your spouse, kids, parents or even yourself.
Work can be done later. But the lost time you should be spending with people you love will never be able to replenish.
Nothing is definite tomorrow. Today they’re here and tomorrow is always unexpected.
9. Say Your Personal Evening Conviction
“It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.” — Muhammad Ali
Don’t ever try to sleep with those heavy thoughts in your mind. Please spare yourself of a headache.
Remind yourself of the positive thoughts before going to sleep to help you bid the day goodbye in a great shape.
Dr. Wayne Dyer likes to program himself by saying his personal declaration or daily reminder before going to sleep. He reiterates all his “I ams” statement to condition his mind of the positive things that will aid the subconscious to comply.
He has a huge sign hanging on his headboard to remind him of that mantra. A powerful trigger that helps him close the previous day positively.
Think of that powerful verse or quote you like. Repeat it in your mind. Own it. Feel it in your spirit. Let it settle in your brain. And leave it to the wonders of dreams and subconscious to convert them into positive things.
10. Unleash Your Imagination
“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.” — George Bernard Shaw
Darkness provides a melancholic effect to daydream. Coupled with an inspirational instrumental music, let your imagination explore. Let it wander on the possibilities daydreaming can give. Visit places and create stories inside your mind. Visualize the dream you secretly obsess.
Visualization is a mental exercise that has brought positive results to many people in history.
Research also shows that mental exercises are likewise as effective as physical exercise, and doing both at the same time increase the effectiveness.
In fact, Olympians use their imagination widely as a preparation to their incoming performance. They try to imagine the perfect routine by clearly imagining how it should turn out. They imagine the results they are aiming for, so they don’t feel as if they are starting in square one during the competition.
Nicole Detling, a sports psychologist, said:
“The more an athlete can imagine the entire package, the better it’s going to be.”
There are so many places to visit and dreams to see if only you let the scope of your imagination run wild.
And who knows? You will develop the determination to bring those to reality.
Implementing one or two of these can help you. It will save you from unnecessary stress that busy morning gives.
You won’t find yourself cramming. You won’t feel like your head is exploding. You won’t need to scream out loud to people you love.
You won’t feel sorry for not having the grandest morning routine.
Instead, you find yourself working on what’s best for you. You don’t pressure yourself to perform on the time your body is not wired to.
Your brain will rest positively at night. You have a clear direction of tomorrow. You are willing to embrace the new morning ahead.
You will see greater opportunities and productivity coming your way. You will feel more positive energy entering your system.
All because you prepared the night before.
Want to Fuel Your Performance?
I’ve created a checklist to help you find out if you are operating based on your inner drives. If you are driven inside, your performance and life become better.