evening routine

Evening Routine: The Secret Catalyst Of A Productive Day

How your day turns out is directly related to how you spend the evening before – that is the secret to productivity.

A morning routine is important, absolutely. But it is not enough.

You need an evening routine as well. A ritual that allows you to close out your current day, jump-start the next one and prepare you for a great night sleep. You need to strike a careful balance between being productive and not overwhelming yourself too much before bed – a task that is not as easy as it sounds.

What should go into your evening routine? Why should you even have one to begin with? This video has the answers:

How To Create A Productive Evening Routine:

The secret to success, the secret sauce to productivity, is that a productive day starts from the evening before.

What you do in the evening, not only affects how your current day ends, but also your sleeping habits and how the next day turns out.

Your evening in turn is totally dependent on your evening routine. If you have a good and productive evening ritual, one that ends your day in a great way, allows you to have a good night’s sleep, and also one that supercharges the following day, you are on your path to productivity nirvana.

How do you do it?

Here are the 5 steps to the perfect evening routine:

evening ritual

1. Stop The Consumption

Two hours before you go to bed stop the consumption of any and all food.

What happens if you don’t, if you have a snack, or even worse, a full-blown meal, right before you go to bed? Your stomach gets full, your body has to get to work to digest the food and as a result you stay awake. You eat in order to get energy and that is exactly the opposite of what you want to do before going tot bed.

Liquids are allowed. Especially water. Have as much water as you want and you can even indulge in the occasional glass of wine (yum!), but try to avoid any type of food two hours before going to bed.

If you usually go to bed at 11:00 PM, you should be done with your last meal by 9:00 PM.

Tip: the best way to make sure you don’t go bed hungry or feeling deprived is to have your last meal 2 to 3 hours before going to bed. This will give you enough energy for the evening, but is not going to give you too much energy to prevent you from falling asleep.

Stop The Information Consumption As Well

In the same way that you have a cut off time with your food, you need to have one with the consumption of information.

Too much food will keep you awake because you have too much energy, but that is only part of the process. If you are physically ready to sleep, but your brain is in overdrive because you read something exciting, or thought-provoking before going to bed, that is not going to help you have a good night rest.

Stop consuming information two hours before going to bed.

You can watch a movie or read a relaxing book, but don’t go learning new techniques. There is a big difference between a fiction book and a non-fiction book. One gets you relaxed and engaged into the story, the other one gives you information. It gives you information that is useful and practical, and that’s not something you want during the evening.

2. Learn From Your Day

Take 5 – 10 minutes during your evening and review your day. Learn from what happened.

Even if you had the most productive day on the planet, you can always make it better. If you made a mistake, or your plans failed, or you have an unproductive day for whatever reason, examine what happened and learn from it.

If you make little changes to your routines, habits, productivity every single day, it won’t take long for you to see a dramatic impact. Mathematically speaking, if you improve by 1% every single day, you would double your results in only 69 days. That is profound. In 2 and a half months from now, you can be twice as fast, or have twice the results. How would that feel?

Don’t underestimate the small changes.

Take 10 minutes and review your day. What happened today? How can you make it better? What didn’t happen today? How can you make sure this hiccup in your plans does not happen again? Answering these questions on a daily basis will have a huge impact on your productivity.

Forgive Everyone

As you review your day, you might remember some moments which were not so pleasant –  a rude shopping assistant, an unhelpful customer service rep, a pissed off colleague, etc.

Find it within yourself to forgive everyone who has “wronged” you during the day. If you had a bad experience and you cling to that negative emotion, this might prevent you from having a good night sleep. You can get worked up from the smallest things like someone causing you to spill your coffee so it’s important to let go of these emotions on a daily basis.

It happened, it wasn’t a big deal, acknowledge it, make piece with it, move on.

Forgive Yourself

While you are in review mode, you are bound to come across some moments when you did not perform according to your own expectations. You let your emotions get the best of you, you were tired and you didn’t do such a good job at that last meeting, etc.

Whatever it is, don’t beat yourself up, but forgive yourself instead.

See what went wrong, see how you can fix it or prevent it from occurring again, learn from it and then move on.

Holding a grudge is never a good idea. Whether it is against someone else or against you:

  • It’s not healthy
  • It doesn’t help anyone, especially you
  • Ruins your pleasant evening routine and possibly your sleep

Forgive. Let it go. Move on.

3. Define Your Outcomes For Tomorrow

Take another 5 minutes and define your 2 most important outcomes for the next day.

Ask yourself “what do I want to do tomorrow? What do I want to achieve tomorrow?”

But don’t think about HOW to make these things happen. Your task is only to define them.

Say to yourself “by this time tomorrow, I would have X” and fill in the blank. “By this time tomorrow, I would have killed that presentation, I will have given the best presentation the world has ever seen.”

Define one or two outcomes for the next day. Set them and forget them. Don’t concentrate on the tactics of making them happen, that is for the next day. During the evening you just need to define them. They are will be stored in your subconscious mind even while you sleep which will allow you to hit the ground running the following day. When you wake up and are ready for work, you’d know exactly what the outcomes should be so you are not going to waste any time figuring them out.

4. The Habit Of Relaxation

Relaxation is a habit like any other.

You need to treat and cultivate it as such. Like all your other habits, this one also also has a trigger, something that tells your mind that it is time to relax.

Start by creating a sequence of actions that you take as part of your bed time routine. For example, you arrange the pillows on your couch, you prepare your meals and your clothes for the next day, you plug in all your electronics and then you go to the bathroom to brush your teeth and wash your face and you slip under the covers.

If you follow the same sequence over and over again, you are going to “train” yourself and habitualize this routine. This is your pre-bedtime evening routine that gets you to relax.

The trigger is the first part of that sequence: fluffing up and arranging the pillows on your couch.

Why is that important?

There are going to be days where things don’t go according to plan. A hectic day at work, a sick family member, a flat tire on the way back, etc. Such days might be hard to disconnect from. This is where the magic of having a trigger for your relaxation habit comes in. As tensed as you might be, as soon as you fluff those pillows, your brain will be “hmm I know what to do, it’s time to relax” and your pre-bedtime routine is going to kick in… automatically, allowing you to instantly disconnect.

The trigger is the signal that you are giving to yourself that it is time to relax.

Create a relaxation sequence for yourself. Reinforce it time and time again and you’ll see how you’ll get to a point where you start relaxing almost automatically as soon as you hit that trigger. Better relaxation leads to better sleep, which in turn leads to a more productive day the next day.

5. Plug In Your Electronics

I want to give you one extra, very practical tip that has personally helped me a lot – before you go to bed make sure all your electronics are plugged in.

It can be very annoying to wake up full of energy and motivation, just to have your morning ruined by realizing 5 minutes before you go out that your phone or computer as it 3% batter which is just enough to do nothing. If that ever happens to you, use this trick to charge your phone super fast.

Plug in your electronic before you go to bed, have them fully charged even if you are not sure you are going to use them in the morning. Better be safe than sorry. Not to mention, in most countries electricity is a tad cheaper during the night so you are saving a few cents here and there just as an extra bonus.

Your Turn Now

That’s how you do it. That’s how you do a productive evening routine.

evening routine and ritual

Step number one, eliminate all consumption of information and food two hours before going to bed. Step number two, review your day, learn from it, forgive yourself, forgive everyone around you. Step number three, define one or two outcomes for the following day. Set them, forget them. Step number four, create the habit of relaxation. Figure out what is your pre-bedtime routine, what is your trigger, and then use it to get yourself relaxed. And step number five, plug in your electronics so you can start the next day with all your gadgets being as ready as you are.

Simple, easy, effective. That is what a good and productive evening routine should be and now you know how to make one for yourself.

Question: what other activities do you have in your evening routine? Share in the comment section below:

evening routine
how to create an evening routine