If you are looking for a place to track your habits, I have a few Habit Tracking resources for you at the bottom of this post!
About a year ago, I decided to make the most of my mornings and finally start an early morning wake-up habit. It’s a habit I had wanted to start for years (back to high school!), but my night owl tendencies made it hard.
I soon realized that one of the keys to getting up early was having an intentional evening. Because staying up late was natural to me, I needed to be intentional about how I spent my time to actually get to bed at a decent time. How I spend my evenings varies from day to day, but there are a few habits I have created. I enjoy having both productive and relaxing time each evening.
If you want to add evening habits as you wind down each evening, here are 10 habits to add to your evening routine.
Review tomorrow’s schedule. Take just a few minutes to look over the activities, appointments, to-dos, chores, meals, and other plans you have for tomorrow. Getting a snapshot of what tomorrow looks like can help you decide what you need to prep for in the evening to make tomorrow morning less rushed and stressed.
I take my planning for tomorrow one step further. I create a short to-do list of three or so items I want to get done first thing in the morning. Create a short to-do list or schedule of the first hour of tomorrow. Be specific. Be realistic. It can be helpful to separate the essential to-dos with the non-essential to-dos.
Now that I have started waking up before my daughters, I have time to myself in the morning. Instead of wasting the time away, I have a specific list for the morning. When I wake up, I get started without having to think about it. This helps me to be focused during the hour or so that I have to myself. This is key when trying to get at least some blog work done each day. (Have you considered starting a blog? Get a step-by-step guide here.)
Something to Prep…
Are you leaving the house tomorrow? Why can it be so hectic? (Our transition to the first kiddo in school this fall may be rough!) Doing a few minutes of prep at night helps keep morning stress down. Set out your clothes. Make your lunch. Program your coffee maker. (Wake up to your Bulletproof Coffee!) Make sure your children are also prepared. Your mind will be more at ease when going to bed, knowing that you already took care of a bit of your morning stress.
Spend 10-15 minutes doing a quick clean or pick-up. Over the long-run, this pickup will keep your house much cleaner and less cluttered. The small daily pickups help so much! I typically focus on making sure my kitchen is picked up as I do not like waking to a dirty, cluttered kitchen. I need to work on this in other areas of my home.
Related Post: My Simple Productivity Tip to Help You Stay Focused
I enjoy having a snack in the evening. The key is to find a small snack I enjoy and not fill my evening with mindless snacking! Dark chocolate is often my treat of choice on a good night. Multiple bowls of cereal are my choice on a not-so-good evening. I leave plenty of room for splurges in my diet, but know that I don’t wake up feeling great if I eat too much in the evening.
Do you need one more evening habit for your health? Floss. :)
Something to Connect…
Take the time to connect with your spouse. I wish my husband and I could go on a walk every night, but that doesn’t work when the kids are sleeping. Chat on the couch, play a game, or find a show that you both enjoy. I know some couples wait until the kids are in bed to make dinner and enjoy it with just the two of them. (I personally wouldn’t want a second dinner mess and clean-up!) It’s important to make sure that the children don’t take front and center of every single thing in the home-life! Make sure that your spouse is also a priority. The evening time is the perfect time to connect with your spouse without children interrupting.
Something to Ignore…
In my quest to get to bed at a decent time, I realized I needed to lessen the mindless time wasters. It is easy to get sucked into social media and then wonder where the time went. A portion of my last hour would include sitting on the couch with my phone. Stalling. Staying up late for no good reason.
Once I decided to be more intentional about my evening, I cut down on this. On the nights I ignore scrolling through my phone, I do not miss the time. Not one bit.
Some evenings I am good about this, but other evenings I still waste time and then get frustrated that I spent too much time mindlessly perusing social media and the internet. I recently took the Make Over Your Evenings eCourse and the course helped me think more about this time and gave me ideas for how to eliminate time-waster.
Spend a portion of the last 30-60 minutes doing something relaxing. This is a wonderful time to sit down with a book or magazine and a cup of tea. Read your evening devotion. A warm bath or yoga are also good options. Know what refreshes and recharges you and make time to do it each evening.
As little as six minutes of reading can reduce your stress levels. I also find that I fall asleep MUCH easier if I read just before going to bed.
Something Encouraging and Uplifting…
Spending time in God’s Word and prayer is a wonderful way to end the day. While I typically read my devotion in the morning, I often pray right before I got to bed. Or as I’m falling asleep. You can also consider starting a gratitude journal.
- Daily Walk with God: Meditations for Every Day
- The One Year At His Feet Devotional
- Write the Word journals
Get off the computer and phone at least an hour before going to bed. The blue light emitted from your smartphone disrupts the release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin. When I am up late on my computer or phone, I have more trouble falling asleep. This is the case even when tired. It’s a combination of the blue light and the level of mental engagement.
Are you looking for a place to track your habits?
I have a few options for you!
Monthly Habit Tracker: This post includes a free monthly habit tracker PDF.
Bundle of 20+ Habit Tracker PDFs: Because I realize not everyone tracks their habits in the same way, I just created a Habit Tracker Printable Bundle. It contains over 20 pages so you can find the tracker that works for you. Some trackers have a weekly focus and some have a monthly focus. Some include both. There is also be a habit tracker specific for tracking sleep. Work through and try more than one printable until you find the one that works best for you. Get the NEW Habit Tracker Bundle here!
Habit Tracker Spreadsheet: I am excited to share my Habit Tracker Spreadsheet with you. One of the reasons I’m so excited about the spreadsheet is that you get to see the word “Success” pop up if you complete your habit your goal number of days.
There is a column where you write in your success criteria (because not all habits will have the goal of 7 days per week). Once you input the right number of “X”s during the week, a green “Success” will magically pop up! (OK…it’s just a little formula I wrote.)
I included directions in the spreadsheet, but I would love to know if you think something is confusing.
Do you have an evening routine?
What evening rituals help you end your day?
If you want to go more in depth with creating both a morning and evening routine, check out my eBook: Your Morning Manual: A Guide & Workbook for Resetting & Maximizing Your Mornings.
This step-by-step guide will help you:
- Visualize your ideal morning
- Decide your morning priorities
- Plan your morning routine
- Create a morning schedule
- Make the most of your evening time
- Decide on an accountability plan
- Motivate you to use your mornings best to achieve the entire day that is your ultimate goal!
Oh my goodness! I love this! I am very focused in the morning, but often lack direction by evening. This is a great idea!
Thanks Jennifer! I hope you found it helpful. :)
My day goes so much better is I follow an evening routine. Thanks for the reminder! I need to add something productive and a healthy snack to mine. Great tips here :).
Thanks, Candace! I find that if I do something productive in the evening, I am happy that it is done in the morning. I am better about making sure any laundry is folded and put away so I don’t have to wake up to it.
Keri Snyder says
I love this! I posted about evenings today as well. I love your reminder about time wasters. I recently started reading before bed instead of browsing social media and it has been so good! Love her course!
Yes the course was great!
I sleep soo much better when I read before bed instead of spend the time on my phone or the computer.
LOVED the idea of “something to ignore” – YES!!!
Great tips! :)
Easier said than done…
Thanks for stopping by, Sarah!
Annie McGarr. says
Great tips! Thanks for reminding me that I need to be more organized!
Rachel Bucher says
I love this list. I’m going to try and start incorporating some of them!
Jasmine Hewitt says
This is a great list! I’m going to start doing these
I love the way you wrote this! I am desperate to make over my evening routine. I think it would completely change my days. I’m pinning this for later and will be sitting down and planning this out. Thanks so much!
Thanks for pinning!!
Let me know what you plan and how it works out for you. :)
These are great tips! I am a night Owl who enjoys my alone time when the kids are in bed but then I have trouble in the mornings I really need to start doing this
I know the struggle…I was a night owl for a long time. And I still am a bit. I’m just better at going to bed a tad earlier. ;) Once I started getting up before my girls, I was hooked!
Allison - Celebrating Sweets says
These are great tips. No matter how hard I try our mornings always feel rushed. Time to change that!
Monique Dean says
Yes, I’m guilty for staying up too late for no good reason and I wonder why it’s hard to get up the next morning. I enjoy connecting with my hubby and we sit on the couch and watch TV or sit outside on the deck or take evening walks after our daughter has gone to bed. I love your point about children not taking front and center of every single thing in the home life, that is so important! You have to make your spouse a priority or else children will expect ALL the attention. Great points, thank you!
Thanks, Monique! Yes, it’s hard when children are little to make marriage/connecting a priority. But it’s essential. :)
Karen A Del Tatto says
I never thought about how my evenings effect my mornings, but indeed you are right! :-)
All the suggestions you shared are excellent!
I totally believe in having morning and evening routines, but have not thought about something to ignore. That is awesome. #WiseWomanLinkUp
These are all good ideas! I actually try for all these, but not always consistently. Thanks for the encouragement to be more intentional about this!
This is such a well-rounded list. I think I unconsciously try to do these in the evening, but I often forget and it would make my morning so much smoother. (I might actually be on time for once!) Tweeting, pinning and stumbling this! <3
Thank you for sharing the post, Lindsey. I appreciate it!!
Olivia Grist says
Love all of these! The idea of being so intentional with your time and actions has been something I’m trying to focus on, so this list has given me lots more to think about! Thanks for sharing!
Good to hear! Thanks for stopping by.
This is a great list of habits for the evening routine. I really need to start prepping at night as well as outlining the important things I need to do right away in the morning. Praying is also a great for the evening, I pray before I fall asleep and it helps lift away my worries. Thank you for sharing these great tips! I found your link on waiting on…Wednesday linkup!
You are welcome, Kristen. Thanks for stopping by!
I have my evening routine and I stick to it like glue. I think it is even more important than the morning routine in some ways. We are neighbors on about three parties this morning. Must be working at the same time! Great tips here Emily.
If your evenings run smoothly, you are probably more than ready for the morning!
Elizabeth @ Guilty Chocoholic Mama says
Wow! So many great ideas here. I especially like the idea of ignoring something. I think I try to pay attention to too much every night! Great post…glad I found you at Party At My Place!
What great tips! I find that I am a night owl AND a morning gal! It’s really not cool to be that way, lol!! I do most of the things you’ve listed without evening thinking about it- but I clearly see I need to be doing more! Thanks for the tips! 100HappyDays
If your evenings are working for you, just stick to what’s working!
Thanks for stopping by.
Great tips. Thanks for sharing!
I am such a morning person and have given a lot of thought to my morning routine, but not much to my evening routine. Thank you for sharing these tips! I definitely have to get better about getting some quiet time in and shutting down social media before I go to bed!
Yes, the quiet time is nice!
Angela @ Setting My Intention says
I am definitely an night owl, but one of my goals is to get enough sleep – which I know needs to be prepped in the evening. I usually leave all phones and electronics out of the bedroom so I’m not tempted to “do just one more thing”. I am reading at least 6 minutes a night (I’m pretty sure) and really loving the time to sink my teeth into a novel before sleeping.
Yes, reading before bed is such a great way to wind down!
I do need to think more about where my phone is in the evening. Keeping it out of the bedroom is a good idea. I have considered putting it away in a drawer in the evening. Maybe if it’s out of sight, I won’t mindlessly scroll.
Elna @ TwinsMommy says
I really wish I was a morning person. I never have been, even when I got up at the same time every morning or work up to work out.
And now that I have twins, oh to sleep is soo much better :-)
I think for me what really rang true is the mindless sitting and doing social media. It’s late, yet I still want to check my profiles.
Setting a plan for the next day is much better time spent :-)
Robin Pack says
Great advice! I do try to unwind before bed and have been more aware of turning the electronic devices off well before sleepy time. I will have to put some more of these into practice as well.
Janet Vinyard says
Great tips! I always made a “To Do List” for the next day and find it frees your mind to go to sleep. (I’m retired now) Deciding on what clothes you will wear the next day, with any jewelry & accessories all laid out, is a great time-saver in the morning, too. Thanks for sharing your ideas. Blessings, Janet
Michele Morin says
Such a lovely list filled with good advice. I do have to start “gearing down” at some point, or it’s hard to unwind!
Thanks, Michele. :)
It can be harder to sleep when you don’t take the time to unwind!
Marina @ Minds Work Meditation says
Great tips! I decided to pick out one and just start.. Which one will it be? :) Probably some reading before bed.. I also truly recommend meditation.
Therese Bizabishaka says
Reading is great for relaxation but another activity that has been proven to relax the mind is Knitting/crochet. It is a rhythmical activity that seems to centre and focus your thoughts on one simple activity.
These are such great ideas! By the end of the evening, I’m so fried from the day…but having these ideas as guidelines, I KNOW will help me sleep better and prep for a better morning. I think my biggest thing is taking the time to gear down. I tend to “run until I crash”. ;) Thanks for sharing- :)
Great tips! I’m pretty bad about an evening routine, but I think unplugging and relaxing are so important xx
Hi Emily! There is so much value in having a routine. Your tips are simple (realistic) and helpful for those of us who get off track. I’m glad to be your neighbor on the #RaRaLinkup this week. Blessings to you!
Aimee Imbeau says
I enjoy a bit of dark chocolate and sunflower seeds in the evening. I also go to bed at a reasonable time…and WITH my husband. It is very rare that I stay up later than him. That just wouldn’t work for us. Thanks for linking up with Grace and truth.
I love this! I am a stay at home of three and recently started a blog as well. This is keeping me pretty busy and it is so good to read a post like this to plan my evenings so the next day is successful. I also don’t want to cut into family time as well. Thanks for the motivation!
Jane Allen says
Thanks for sharing. I usually take a walk before sleeping. I find I’m exhausted by the time I get back and I fall asleep soundly. But, I found some of your tips useful, especially the one about not wasting time on social media. It’s so easy to fall into that trap. The trick is to be aware.Awareness helps to get over it.
An evening walk sounds like the perfect way to wind down in the evening!
Great post! I love getting to know other bloggers by reading their morning or night routines. I wrote a similar post if you have time to check it out.