We often hear that a key to having a productive morning is to have a morning routine. And I absolutely agree with that. However, I have learned that in order to have a great start of the day, my morning routine has to start the night before.
Purpose of the Evening Routine
The evening routine needs to give me a head start the next morning. In other words, I prepare for the morning by completing some of the tasks in the evening. That way, I have less things to accomplish in the morning when I am running around trying to get everyone fed, dressed, and out of the house on time.
6 Components of my Effective Evening Routine
Keep in mind that my evening routine might differ from yours, as we have different lifestyles. But this list should give you an idea of the types of things that can make your evening routine an effective one.
1. Clean Kitchen
This is something that I have become very intentional with this past year. I simply love the feeling of coming downstairs in the morning to a clean kitchen. So I make it a point to clean it up. I start as soon as the dinner is done and my must do’s include, dishes, oven range top, and counters. It is just nice to have clutter free kitchen first thing in the morning, so you can start fresh. Waking up to a sink full of dishes or kitchen counters full of random items automatically makes me feel overwhelmed, and that is not how I want to start my day.
2. Pick Out Your Outfits
This is something I have been doing for years (even before I had kids). It was very helpful to know what you and your kids will wear the next day so you don’t waste your time making those decisions in the morning.
My son is not too picky as to what he will wear. But my almost 3 year-old daughter is a completely different story. So each evening, as we get ready to go to sleep, we open her closet and pick out her outfit for the next day. This helps me avoid complaints and crying the next morning that she does not to wear a specific outfit or that she really wanted something else for that day.
Currently our living room is our staging area for the next day outfits, since we get ready downstairs. For myself, I prepare my workout outfit as well as an outfit for the day.
3. Prepare Backpacks And Lunch Boxes
Each evening I double-check my son’s backpack to make sure that all this school items are there. I make sure that he has his milk money, tissue, and homework packed. I also double-check if I have included any paperwork that was sent home for me to fill out and if there are any special activities the next day that I need to prepare for (like wear something red day or a collection of dry foods for the local pantry).
4. Decide Your Workout For the Next Day
Because I am working out first thing in the morning, it is important for me to make that decision the night before. I also work out at home, so I prepare my weights, exercise mat and any other equipment that I will be using so I can jump right in when I wake up. This not only saves me time in the morning, but helps to eliminate any excuses. When I get downstairs, I already have my workout equipment laid out and my workout clothes sitting on the chair next to it. When you have the set-up ready, you will be less likely to procrastinate and find an excuse not to working out.
5. Know Your Meals for the Next Day
The last think I want to do in the morning it to brainstorm ideas for what to eat for breakfast and lunch. My kids tend to eat the same thing for breakfast and I prep mine on Sundays for the week so that makes it easy.
The only lunch I have to prep is for my son, as my daughter eats at her daycare. I work from home so I don’t have to pack lunch but it helps to know what I will have the next day so I will not reach for an unhealthy option. When I used to work in an office, I made sure my lunch was packed the night before.
Finally, knowing what you will have for dinner the next day will serve as a reminder to take out any meat from he freezer and do any preparation beforehand (like cutting veggies or putting the crockpot on the counter as a reminder to set it up in the morning).
6. Take a Few Minutes to Yourself to Unwind
Lastly, I found it very important to take a few minutes to myself at the end of the day. I take a few minutes to reflect on the day and think about all the things that went well. I also like to read before I go to sleep. Sometimes I just sit on my couch for a few minutes relaxing with a cup of hot tea and talk to my husband.
All you really need is a few minutes (more if you have the time) to unwind and go to bed feeling accomplished, relaxed, and ready for the next day.