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7 Evening Routine Ideas and How to Create One to Boost Your Productivity

Ever feel like evenings are a never-ending game of Tetris? Between homework deadlines, dinner prep, chauffeuring to activities, and trying to squeeze in some “me” time, those pre-bed hours can feel like a whirlwind. 

Maybe your kids are little, and dinnertime involves negotiating with a tiny human who prefers ketchup as their main course. Or perhaps your teenagers are glued to their phones, leaving you feeling like you’re talking to a brick wall. 

Regardless of your family’s stage, a rushed evening often means a frazzled morning. We hit snooze (a lot!), scramble to get everyone out the door, and feel like we’re playing catch-up all day. Been there, done that!  But what if there was a way to break the cycle and set yourself up for calmer mornings and more productive days? Buckle up because evening routines are about to become your new best friend.

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My Evening Routine and Why Having One Matters

I have always had an evening routine. Of course, as my kids grew up, the activities within my routine shifted. These days, my evening routine is mine, and my kids have their own. This is what my evening routine looks like.

After dinner, I try to clean up right away. I know that when I come back into the kitchen later in the evening and find it messy, it really frustrates me. That is, if it’s my turn to clean up. We have a rule in our house that the one who cooks doesn’t have to clean up, so when someone else cooks, I clean up. 

Once we’ve had dinner, I usually relax with some television. The kids go do their homework, and the hubby relaxes with some reading or writing. While watching TV, I try to iron or fold some laundry. When that is all done, I take a nice walk with our pupster. Sometimes my daughter joins me, other times, I go with my neighbor, who has two dogs of her own. 

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After a nice walk, I relax a bit before returning to the office to journal about my day and prep for the next one. I also like to talk to my accountability buddies about how their days have been and to set my goals and tasks for tomorrow. 

Next is reading. I’m in a book club where we read books set across the United States. Every week we “visit” another state, and Becki (our leader) finds books for us set in the particular state of the week. It’s really fun to follow along. 

My alarm goes off at 9.30 p.m., and it’s time to start getting ready for bed. I do a last quick tidy-up and load the rest of the dishes in the dishwasher before getting into the bathroom. I change, brush my teeth, etc., and give the dog her evening cookie. In bed, I relax with some reading before turning off the lights. 

As a mom of teens, this is a perfect evening routine for me. I always aim to be in bed between 10 and 10.30 p.m. because when I am, I know I will have the energy and motivation to work on my goals the next day. 

Like my morning routine, most of my evening routine goes on autopilot. I don’t have to think a lot, which is nice as I ease into the night. 

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How an Evening Routine Can Boost Your Productivity

Imagine evenings when everything flows a little smoother, you feel more in control, and you even get a few minutes to unwind before bed. That’s the power of an evening routine! 

We all need and thrive on rest and routine. So, by carving out dedicated times for tasks like dinner prep, packing lunches, and planning the next day, you can ditch the morning scramble. Plus, a calming wind-down routine helps you de-stress from the day’s chaos, leading to a better night’s sleep for you (and hopefully, everyone else in the house!). 

Feeling well-rested and organized prepares you for a much more focused and productive morning. It gives you the energy to tackle your day with a smile and the headspace you need to be the mom and blogging business owner you were meant to be. Win-win, right?

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Building Your Own with These Evening Routine Ideas

Here’s the thing, there’s no one-size-fits-all evening routine. The key is to find what works for YOU.  Let’s explore some evening routine ideas to get you started, shall we?

  • After dinner, clean up. Once everyone finishes dinner and you’re still “on the move,” clear the table immediately. I know you want to sit down for a little bit and let your food digest, but when you come back into the kitchen later, and the mess is still there, you don’t want to deal with it, believe me.
  • Small household tasks. I like to tackle some easy and quick household tasks in the evening. I know I have more time on the weekends, so the bigger tasks will get done on Saturdays. But you can always fold a load of laundry or do a quick sweep around the house. Make a 30-minute task list to pick from so your weekends are not all about cleaning.
  • Go out for a walk. Being outside is always a good idea. Before, when we didn’t have our pupster yet, I sometimes took the dog from our elderly neighbor for a walk. You can go by yourself and have some me-time with your favorite podcast or go out as a family and talk about everyone’s day.
  • Plan for tomorrow. To make your mornings go smoothly, you can already start in the evening. A good evening routine helps with that. Think about things like setting the breakfast table, laying out your clothes, and setting up the morning coffee pot. But also prepping for work, like writing out your 3 to-dos for the day and filling in your time blocks.
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  • Relax. This is important. You need to wind down to get a good night’s sleep. There are a few things you can do to relax. You can watch (only) one episode of your favorite TV show, read a few chapters in your book, listen to an audiobook with a nice cup of tea, or do some yoga. Maybe you want to journal and reflect on your day to get those thoughts out of your head.
  • A quick tidy-up. Before settling for the night, go around the house and quickly tidy up. It’s so much nicer to come downstairs to a somewhat uncluttered space. Plus, cleaning on the weekends becomes quicker when you don’t have to put things back into their place first.
  • Get ready for bed. It’s time to head into the bathroom and get yourself ready for bed. Put on your PJs, brush your teeth, and indulge in some last-minute self-care. Get into bed in a nice, aired bedroom and relax. If you want, you could do a little reading before turning off the lights.

Now, I know everybody talks about putting your devices down so-many-minutes before bedtime, right? I don’t do that. In fact, I read ebooks, so I take my phone with me to bed. I do make sure that my Wi-Fi is off and my screen is grey. I have closed all apps, and only my Kindle app is active. After 10-20 minutes of reading, I have no trouble falling asleep.

Juggling Your Evening Routine with a Family

Now, I mentioned already that my evening routine has changed over the years. It was a lot different when my kids were little ones. But no matter where you are in life with your family, it’s good to be consistent in the evenings and build your habits of winding down for the night. 

As I said before, too, there’s no one-size-fits-all evening routine. The key is to find what works for YOU and your unique family. But it is nice to involve your family in your evening routine. Turn chores into bonding experiences, involve everyone in dinner prep, or have a family packing-backpacks part of the evening. This not only lightens your load but also teaches your kids valuable life skills and the benefits of having an evening routine. 

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Getting Started – How to Build Your Own Evening Routine

Building your evening routine is basically the same as I explained in my blog post about setting up your morning routine. Creating a successful evening routine is all about taking control and customizing it to your life. Here are some steps to get you started:

  • Identify your goals: What do you hope to achieve with an evening routine? Is it smoother mornings, less stress, or simply a few precious minutes for yourself? When you know your goals, it’ll help you choose the most important activities you include. Also, think about what stresses you out the most in the mornings. Is it the lunch-making scramble or the frantic search for missing shoes? Focus on planning outfits and lunches the night before. Addressing these pain points in the evening will greatly impact your mornings.
  • Ideal bedtime and working backward: Be honest with yourself about how much sleep you realistically need to function at your best.  Then, work backward from your desired wake-up time to schedule your bedtime and pre-bed activities.  This will give you a good starting point for building your routine.
  • Start small: Don’t throw out your evening routine, and change it overnight! Choose 1-2 activities from the previous list to consistently implement for a week, like prepping lunches or setting out clothes. Once those become a habit, you can gradually add more elements to your evening routine. Consistency is key, so focus on making small, sustainable changes, one step at a time.
  • Find what works for YOU: There’s no magic formula, the best routine is the one that works for you and your family. Be willing to experiment and adjust based on your needs and preferences. Maybe, dimming the lights works wonders for your little ones while your teenager thrives with some minutes of pre-bed meditation. You might like a pre-bed bath for ultimate relaxation or you find meditation more calming. The key is to personalize your routine to fit your needs and preferences.

While consistency is important, there’s room for flexibility, too. In the next section, we’ll explore how to maintain your core routine while still enjoying those precious weekend moments.

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Staying Consistent with Your Evening Routine on Weekends

Let’s be real, weekends are for sleeping in and relaxing, right? Especially on lazy Sundays. The thought of sticking to a routine might feel like a major pain in the butt. But hear me out!  

The key here isn’t to completely abandon your routine but to adapt it for a more relaxed pace. On weekends, you don’t need to pack school lunches or lay out your clothes. The point is to maintain some core elements (like journaling and screen-free time) while allowing for some weekend flexibility. Trust me, a little consistency goes a long way in keeping you feeling prepped and ready to tackle the week ahead. 

One thing you could add to your Sunday routine is meal planning. Now, this doesn’t necessarily happen in the evening, but I thought I mentioned it anyway. Krystal, has a whole blog dedicated to meal planning, so go check it out!

I, myself, stick to my evening routine as much as possible on the weekends. It is such a part of my system that, frankly, I’m lost without it. As I said before, I go on autopilot, hahaha. Sure, I sometimes go to bed a bit later on Fridays and Saturdays, but even with that, I try to keep it to a minimum because I just feel so much better in the morning if I stick to my bedtime. Sunday evening, I’m fully returning to my evening routine, setting up for a productive week ahead.

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My Final Thoughts

An evening routine might seem like “just one more thing” to add to your already overflowing plate, but trust me, it’s an investment that pays off big time. 

I want you to imagine waking up feeling refreshed, knowing you’re prepared for the day, and maybe even having a few precious minutes to yourself before the chaos begins. Wouldn’t that be a great feeling? An evening routine can be fantastic for conquering mornings, reducing stress, and creating a calmer, more productive life. And let’s not forget a better night’s sleep!

So, feel free to experiment and find what works for you. Start small, and be kind to yourself on those inevitable off-nights. Every little bit counts! Even a simple change to your evenings can greatly affect how rested and productive you feel tomorrow. So go get ’em, you’ve got this!

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