Evening Routines for Adults
Even adults need a bedtime routine! As parents, we know how key it is for our children to have a solid routine to make bedtime easier, so why don’t we do it for ourselves? An evening routine can help you go to bed less stressed and wake up ready to take on the day and be more productive.
By the end of the day, we’re often so tired we just want to relax and ignore everything. I know for me, I have a little mini ritual that I do. As soon as the kids are in bed (around 8:00 pm), I walk across the hallway to my bedroom, lay in my bed, and take 10-15 minutes to scroll social media, decompress from the day, and enjoy having no one touching me (come on mama, you know what I mean).
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The hardest part of that ritual is what I do after. Once I’m lying in my bed it’s super easy to get a little lazy, spend closer to 45 minutes on my phone, and not get the motivation to do anything. I set a 15-minute timer, and use the principles from the 5-second rule to get myself out of bed and moving downstairs.
Daily and Evening Routine Examples
When I get downstairs, I often just sit in the chair and think, “Look at this mess and my to-do list, where should I start”. I used to become paralyzed with all that I had to get done and feel helpless about getting started.
It wasn’t until I came up with a simple system that I realized that my evening routine can be done easily and doesn’t have to be daunting. I truly can get all that I need to get done pre-bedtime in just 20-30 minutes.
I firmly believe that a concrete bedtime routine can set your day up for success. There is nothing more frustrating for me than when I wake up and the house wasn’t cleaned up the night before, I Have to rush to get lunches going and I just generally start the day already feeling behind.
When you consistently implement a bedtime routine with yourself and your family, you are setting the next day up to be more productive, less stressful, and a win for everyone.
There are a lot of different things you could do in the perfect evening routine and I suggest that you come up with a list of (no more) than 5 things that would have the biggest impact. When we try to put too many things on our to-do list, we often quit the routine before it becomes a habit because it’s unmanageable.
A quality and effective evening routine has a few simple things in it:
- A Clean Up
- Preparation for the Next Day
- Reflection, Gratitude and Unwinding
My personal bedtime routine has been the same for a few years now. I do it almost every night with the exception of Saturday nights (which I always regret Sunday morning). I take Saturday ‘off’ from most things; I don’t work unless I feel like it, I don’t follow any of my weekday routines, I try to take a nap if I can, and I just generally relax.
My bedtime routine is (typically) as follows:
10 minutes – Load Dishes, Clean Up Dinner and Table, Make Lunches for Tomorrow, Fill Up Coffee Pot (while this is happening, I listen to a bible study or a podcast. I find it makes the time go so much faster)
10 minutes – Quick Pick Up: I put on a 10-minute timer and do a quick pick up of our kitchen and living space. I find the rooms we spend the most time in and just see what I can get put away in 10 minutes. If it’s not done in 10 minutes, I can either keep going or stop. I find I get a lot more done than I realize I can when it’s with the timer.
10 minutes – Reviewing Schedule and Setting Priorities: I go through my list from today on Trello, move anything over to tomorrow, check out what tomorrow looks like and determine my top 3 priorities and tasks that I want to get done before the kids get up (this helps me when that 4:30 am alarm goes off to only snooze a few times and not just ignore it completely)
I then take some time in prayer, thanking God for the day, and focus on the gratitude in the moments. I’d love to say that I have a better gratitude practice but honestly, at the moment, I don’t. I highly encourage you to get a gratitude journal or find a practice that works for you! (making it one of my next month goals too!)
Bedtime Routine Chart
When you’re first getting started with a new evening or bedtime routine, I suggest using a chart to track your behaviors. While it seems silly, as a former high school teacher, I know that every one of us likes to get that gold star and see our progress.
I use a simple printable chart (like the one below) in the beginning to help reinforce the habit that I am trying to create. It takes me almost a month to really establish a good routine of any type and only a few days to get out of the habit.
Using a chart can help you stay focused on what you’re hoping to get done, see which things you skip more than you should (like that quick pick up) and applaud yourself for mini wins and success along the way!
You can download this blank checklist to use and put on your fridge to keep motivated until it becomes a habit! This chart is also great when you want to involve your spouse or kids because they can see what to do next, you can assign them a task and more can get done in a short amount of time!
Make sure you PIN this post for later when you’re ready to start your bedtime and evening routine!
More Help and Resources for Bedtime and Evening Routines