We’re all secretly envious of that one co-worker who consistently comes to work at 8:00 a.m. bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready to take on the day. Their energy is authentic, and their actions are undoubtedly the result of intentional living and the establishment of a solid routine.
Routines enable us to put our best foot forward, and encourage us to be more intentional with how we spend our time each day. Initially, I focused a lot of energy on creating a solid morning routine. Most of the time, I woke up each morning at the crack of dawn, took a brisk walk around the neighborhood, brewed a cup of tea/coffee, read a devotional, got dressed, ate two eggs with some fruit and was out the door. Most of the time. Truth be told, there were quite a few mornings where my routine just didn’t work. And here’s why…
Over time I realized how much my evening routine (or lack thereof) effected my morning routine. Some nights I would deliberately leave a few dishes in the sink, or the living room in a whirlwind of blankets and work materials, in order to get to bed on time. It was these once seemingly inconsequential actions that I would have to deal with first thing in the morning. Cleaning dishes, tidying up my living room, and sorting through then packing up all of my work documents would throw off my coveted morning routine, and leave me rushing out the door in a mood. Our evening routines directly effect our morning routines, and focusing on developing a solid evening routine can set you up for morning routine success.
There is no perfect evening routine, but here are a few activities which you should consider integrating into yours.
// Wash the Dishes // Dinner is put away and dishes are in the sink. No matter how tired you may be, washing the dishes at night will only create more room for you to get ready in the morning. Whether you choose to hand wash your dishes, or load them in the dishwasher – going to bed knowing the dishes are done really takes a load off. Plus, no one wants the looming thoughts of rodents and insects feasting on your leftovers while you sleep upstairs. Am I right?!
// Wind Down // For some, this can mean reading, exercising, doing devotionals or journaling. For others, this can mean sitting on your couch binge watching The Mindy Project on Hulu and cruising Pinterest (cough cough). In essence, winding down means choosing an activity that you enjoy which does not produce stress or anxiety.
// Have a Sip // Warm decaf tea or coffee, water or a glass of wine. Whichever you prefer, choose a beverage that is free of caffeine at least 4 hours prior to going to sleep. It is amazing just how much caffeine can disrupt the natural cadence of a sleep cycle, and you want every minute of sleep that your body needs to make it through tomorrow.
// Pack Your Bags // Load up your laptop, planner, pens, headphones and any other work related materials into your briefcase and set it beside the front door for grab and go access.
// Wash up // Washing up is the only way to remove the dirt and grime from the day, and start with a clean slate in the morning. Removing makeup with makeup removal pads (Neutrogena is my favorite), using a face scrub (I recommend St. Ives), taking a warm shower, and brushing your teeth and hair (preferably with different brushes) are just a few things to do before you crawl into bed for the night.
// Pick out Your Clothes // The time you take to pick out your work clothes at night could save you 15 minutes or more in the morning. The trick is not only picking out your outfit, but sticking to it when the morning comes. I remember reading somewhere that the most productive VP’s and Executives tend to wear the same exact clothes everyday – white shirts and black dress pants. They keep it simple which saves them valuable time. And time is money.
// Dim the Lights // Just before you crawl into bed, dim the lights by turning on your bedside lamp and turning off your main overhead lights. The dim lights tend to have a calming effect, and will help usher you into a deep slumber.
// Say I Love You // Express your love and gratitude to someone who is important to you. Be it your spouse/significant other, mother, father, siblings or friends. It can be a text message, or a phone call – but this simple act should leave you in a good mood and create good energy for the rest of the evening.
// Set Your Alarm // Try to set your alarm for just a bit earlier than you would normally wake up. Let’s say you need to get up by 7:00 a.m. to make it to work by 8:00 a.m., you should try to set your alarm for 6:45 a.m. Having a little bit of a buffer is helpful, and should give you a bit more time to actually wake up after you get moving.
// Make Some Plans // The Bible says, the heart of a mans plans His way but the Lord directs His steps (Proverbs 16:9). Each night, exercise your heart by casting short term and long term vision over your life. Whether reviewing your calendar and considering your tomorrow, or brainstorming some fun adventures - dream big, and trust God to direct your steps in the near future.
What’s your nighttime routine? What are some things you do in the evening that sets you up for morning success? Leave a comment and share it with us!