What’s the perfect evening routine? There are a lot of different things you can do in the evening that can help set you up for a positive and productive day, and sometimes it’s difficult to know what’s the best thing to do. Should you spend your evening on self-care? Do an intense workout? Set yourself up for success with some serious planning?
Well, in the spirit of trying different evening routines – I decided to try three popular nighttime routines and see how they affected my days. There’s got to be some science behind it right? So let’s see, which of these three evening routines is best for a productive day!
1. The technology ban
You’ll always hear about technology bans, most websites, blogs, newspapers, hell even TV shows talk about the beauty of turning off your tech when you get home and refusing to turn it back on for the entire evening. Just the thought alone fills me with anxiety. What if I miss something on my work chat? What if something goes wrong and I’m not there to fix it. I’m a chronic fixer, annoyingly so, I am always striving to fix people’s problems, and being unreachable almost makes me break out in stress hives.
Not only that, what will I do when there’s no technology to keep me entertained? Will boredom swallow me whole? I try this with gusto, I get home on Monday at 7:30 PM and I immediately put my phone into airplane mode. To stop myself from playing games or mindlessly scrolling through my camera roll, I put it upstairs in my bedroom along with my MacBook, and sit downstairs. First I cook. Then I go for a bath. Then I check the time. Then I check the time again. Even the book I’m reading is on my Kindle. I have to admit, most of the things I like to do require technology. Even if I was to do some writing, that would be on my computer.
I pace around, wondering whether I should get a notebook or a planner, and then I see my food cupboard. It desperately needs organizing. I grab a notebook and start writing down all the things I need to do. Hurriedly, I make a checklist and I organize my food cupboards and my office until ten, when I’m so tired I go to my bedroom and try to ignore the beautiful blue light glow of my phone. The thought of all the texts I’m missing gives me anxiety, so it takes me a little time to fall asleep. But when I wake up in the morning, I do feel more rested, and guess what – I wasn’t missing much.
I look at the checklist and I decide that from now on, one day a week of no technology won’t be a bad thing. It felt pretty hopeless at one point, but I soon found something to busy myself with. Maybe I’ll have time to finally finish painting the office – or organize my wardrobe? What a joy to be so productive!
2. The gratitude journal
Gratitude will improve your life. It’s the process of rewiring your brain to see positives everywhere, to start rewriting the chaos of the day as a positive, happy experience. I’ve heard about the power of gratitude, but I’ve never really practiced it. I try to remind myself to be thankful for my house, my career, my cats, my fiancé, but it’s hard when you get easily washed over with negatives. You can easily do this with the 365 Days Of Gratitude Journal.
Simply thinking about the day before was actually tough, to begin with. Trying to be profound instead of thinking about simple things almost stumped me. I knew that to get the full benefit of gratitude I had to think about genuine moments I was grateful for and the things I wanted to remember. To begin with, I wrote down simple things, but after a day or two, I realized how easy it was to be really grateful, for everything from little moments to big life-turning events. Gratitude, it turns out, can really change your mood. I was waking up on four hours sleep and not even feeling tired, feeling super ready to smash the day, proud of myself and my work and ready to get stuff done. I’m sure that was all due to the gratitude I’d been practicing in the evening – and it reminded me to call my family more and try to spend time with them as much as I can. Because I really am grateful for them, even the ones I don’t see that often.
3. Examining the day
Benjamin Franklin’s daily routine always ended with putting things in their places and examining the day. Plenty of people have followed his daily routine over the years, trying to see if the secret to a successful day was in the way it was constructed.
Examining the day doesn’t sound like such a bad idea. It’s a chance to go over everything you did and decide how you can do better tomorrow. This evening routine works quite well with our brand new Win At Life Journal, to really examine your day you need to track it – and unless you have time to journal, it’s better to make a note of the things you did, said, and the time you spent on yourself.
After a day of work, I took the Win At Life Journal upstairs with me and started thinking about the day I’d just had. I filled out my exercise and meals, and started grading how I think I’d done, and then made a note of the time I’d spent with friends, on relationships, outdoors, and how I felt. At first, I graded my days average – just above a five. I realized, by filling the Win At Life Journal, that I wasn’t spending enough time on my friendships, and that during the week I barely ventured outside. Only by grading and examining my routine, did I notice the areas that I really needed to address. I also started being honest about my mood. The days where I felt tired, irritated, or angry were the days that I hadn’t taken any time for myself, hadn’t exercised, and had eaten meals that I scored lower than a five.
I noticed patterns by tracking and grading my days. I figured out how to improve my life by scrutinizing it. And I was pretty amazed. Examining the day does work if you let yourself look for patterns and improve them.
In conclusion, I think a mixture of all of these evening routines could really set me up for a productive day. Using the time in the evening not only to plan my day ahead, but to see how I’ve done throughout the day, be grateful for it, and keep myself on track.
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