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A regular evening routine never seemed particularly vital UNTIL I was striving for a consistent morning routine. It turns out, what’s completed (or not) in the evening has a tremendous impact on my morning! I don’t know about you, but I have almost no energy left in the evening. It’s for that reason that I’ve had to choose simple tasks that don’t require much brainpower, but smooth the way for a morning routine. By taking care of the mindless, but essential tasks that the mombie version of me can handle, I’m able to dive straight into my morning routine the next day with the bright, energetic version of myself. After I’ve put the kids to bed, I take about 30 minutes to complete the following five tasks.
Note: This does require a consistent bedtime for kiddos, so that’s the first step to make a consistent evening routine possible!
Print this FREE guide as a handy reminder!
1. Empty sink & wipe counters
I try to empty the sink and clear the counters as part of cleaning the kitchen before the kids go to bed, but sometimes it doesn’t happen. I have this placeholder task to ensure it’s done.
The first place I go when I wake is the kitchen to get my coffee, (okay, after I pee TMI), and if it’s a mess, I’m immediately distracted, and it nags at me to clean it up. A clean and organized environment is essential for my brain to focus. When yesterday’s mess follows us into today, it’s symbolic of everything else that we didn’t finish the previous day. We have to keep our thoughts positive to launch us into a successful day!
Bonus Tip: Prepare for your coffee the next morning! Set up the coffee pot and timer. If you’re into bulletproof coffee like I am, have blender out and the butter/coconut oil in it.
2. Pack stuff
Nothin’ sets my mornings back more than trying to remember everything that we all need for the day and get it packed up. I go into a reactive tailspin where I’m trying to think of what to pack the kids for lunch while brushing my teeth. Then as I’m making sandwiches, I somehow ALWAYS get peanut butter on my outfit and have to change. After we leave the house, I inevitably remember that I forgot our son’s soccer jersey or something of the like.
Now, I do everything that I possibly can the night before. I prepare and pack lunches in lunch boxes. In the morning, I grab the lunchbox and icepack and head out the door. If it’s not a daycare day, but we’ll be running errands, I still pack a snack bag because the kids ALWAYS want snacks. It’s inconvenient and expensive to buy them while we’re out and about.
I have a large bag that sits in the entryway, and I fill it with all the required items for the following day. Will the kids be going to daycare? Their backpacks are in the bag, and their snow gear, or clean, spare outfit, and whatever else needs to go to daycare is in there, too. Our son has soccer tomorrow? His uniform, cleats, etc. go in the bag. Do I need some more k-cups at work? In the bag. This bag is literally by the door to catch items as I remember them, AND it’s impossible to forget because I’d trip over it on my way out the door. (This is what I use, big enough to fit everything, but not bigger than necessary.)
3. Lay out clothing
Select and lay out your workout outfit and outfit for the day. Decision fatigue is a REAL thing! We have a limited amount of willpower for the day, and decisions tax it. Yes, even small decisions like choosing what to wear. To save our willpower for what matters, eliminate as many choices as you can as part of your evening routine! There is a chance that you won’t be in the mood for what you chose, but if you have a closet full of items that you love, hopefully, that’s a rare occurrence!
4. Review calendar & tasks
I fill in my daily planner for tomorrow with tasks from my electronic calendar. I look at the scheduled commitments and evaluate my top priorities are for the day. (After years of fighting it, I’ve learned that a paper planner for the day makes a world of difference. I like electronic for everything else because it changes frequently. However, writing my daily plan with a pen and paper helps me remember and helps me stay on task with DOING tasks instead of wasting time reorganizing my list.) After I’ve filled out my daily planner, I mentally walk through the day. When I visualize, I notice things I’d forgotten, “Oh, our son is going on a field trip tomorrow; I need to put $5 in his backpack.” Or I notice efficiencies I can make like best order of stops for errands.
Planning is necessary, but can also be procrastination instead of getting real work done. When I’m fresh in the morning, I don’t want to waste precious time and energy planning. I’d much rather dive into my morning ritual and then take action to be productive. Planning is easy to do when I’m a mombie, so the evening is the perfect time to do it.
5. Plan enough sleep
People need different amounts of sleep to feel rested. If you don’t know what your optimal sleep is, 8 hours is a good starting point. What time do you need to go to bed to get 8 hours of sleep? Plan accordingly and know when you need to be in bed and shut down. If it takes you a while to drift off, plan for that time. If time tends to get away from you in the evening, try setting a bedtime alarm in addition to your morning alarm!
Most days I wake up at the same time, but sometimes it shifts for some reason. I always like to know sooner rather than later if I’ll need to go to bed a touch earlier OR if I can indulge in an extra episode of Grey’s Anatomy 😉
Bonus Tip: If you’re planning to start a new morning routine, start small. Set your alarm for just 15 minutes before the kids wake.
Evening routines make for better tomorrows!
A simple evening routine does wonders for starting tomorrow off in the best way possible! With an empty sink and clear counters you can easily navigate to your morning coffee without distractions. Packing all the things means not scrambling for them in the morning. A pre-selected outfit saves you time and a decision. A clear daily plan enables you to go after top priories before anything else, and waking after 8 hours of sleep helps you start the day well-rested and fresh! A simple evening routine is KEY to a successful morning, a successful day, and living a life you love!
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