I cannot stress enough how much routines and rhythms matter. I feel like I say this all the time but I am a big believer in routines—especially morning and evening routines.
If you’ve been around here for any amount of time you know (or I hope you know, at least) that I’m not about having this super rigid, controlled life. I’m about making sure that our lives have purpose and we’re setting ourselves up for success. Having routines and rhythms in place help you structure your days so that they work for you.
Your days don’t have to just happen to you.
To be clear, it’s important to make sure all your routines work for you and your life. What works for me may not work for you. But, I hope that by sharing with you the different elements of my (very flexible) evening routine, you’ll find inspiration to create your own routine that works for you and the season of life you’re in.
Want a simple checklist to help simplify your evening routine? I’ve got you! My free workbook has some questions to help you sort through what’s important, and a checklist to get you going.
This doesn’t have to be rigid. It doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing. Play around with it. If something isn’t working, tweak it or throw it out. It may take time to figure out what works for you. That’s okay!
My evening routine ebbs and flows. It’s not as structured as my morning routine because of the season of life I’m in. So, just listen to yourself and find what works for you.
The 5 Elements of My Evening Routine
#1 End of Day Pickup
Our evening routine starts with cleanup and everybody pitches in, even the young kids. We make sure the sink is clean and the kitchen is shiny for the next day because walking into a dirty kitchen first thing in the morning can really set the mood for your whole day.
My kids do the dishes now (which is amazing and I give all the praise hands). I want to encourage those of you with really little ones, it does get better. You’re not always going to be the only one doing everything. When my kids were babies and toddlers they couldn’t help. We were living in survival mode then. So, don’t give up if you’re still in the survival stage. It gets better. I promise.
After we clean the kitchen, we do a general pickup of the house. We clean the floors, the bathrooms, and we put away anything that was left out during the day, like the kids’ toys.
This isn’t a deep clean. We don’t have the cleaning supplies out, we’re not wiping down baseboards or detailing the bathrooms. This is just a general pickup. We’re just straightening things up so we start the next day with a clean slate.
#2 Kids’ Bedtime Routine
Once we’re finished with our family pickup, we head upstairs and the kids get ready for bed. They use my bathroom because our tub is amazing and huge. So, while the kids are in the bath, I clean our bathroom.
It doesn’t usually need very much, but I’ll run the Swiffer Vac and pick up any hairs that fall on the floor (that’s one of my pet peeves, I think it’s so gross when there’s hair on the floor). I’ll wipe down the counters. Sometimes I’ll get into the cabinets and do a little purge. It’s just something productive to do while the kids are getting clean.
Once the kids are out of the bath, they brush their teeth and pick out their clothes for the next day. Then we get ready to get tucked in. We have story time, prayers, a little conversation to catch up on the day and then it’s “goodnight” and lights out.
The younger kids do have an earlier bedtime than the older kids, but at this point in the evening everyone is in their rooms. The younger kids are asleep and the older kids play quietly or read together for another 45 mins to an hour and then they go to sleep.
#3 Finish Up Any Lingering Work/Tasks
This is the time when Brian and I will finish anything that’s lingering on the to-do list.
If we’re in a season where the workload is really heavy, sometimes the house just gets a little extra behind during those times so, we’ll need to finish up some things in the house.
Or if the to-do list business related, we’ll pull out our laptops, sit on the couch together with a glass of wine, we’ll talk things through, play music, and wrap up any work.
#4 Spend Time Together
If we don’t have any tasks to finish up (which is usually the case) Brian and I will just sit and spend time together. We’ll watch Netflix or just hang out with each other.
On Sunday nights, we have our weekly meeting where we go over and plan for the upcoming week. So, it depends on what night it is and what’s going on in our lives during that month.
#5 Plan Ahead
Before I go to bed, I pick out what I’m going to wear the next day and lay it out on my dresser. I’ll put my exercise clothes in the bathroom so when I’m roll out of bed, I can go ahead and slip them on.
This means in the morning I’m not fumbling around trying to find my workout shoes. I’m not having to make all these decisions right when I wake up. I already know what I’m going to wear, what I’m going to do with my hair, that I’m going to workout this morning.
I try to make as many decisions as I can the night before so that I start out the morning really well and not overwhelmed and experiencing decision fatigue before my day even really starts.
I’ll also set out my mug and set it next to my coffee machine. I put a fresh coffee pod in there as well so all I have to do is push the button in the morning. I make sure my Bible, my journal, a pen, and whatever I’m currently reading is laid out for me downstairs in the area where I have my quiet time.
I usually go to bed around 10 p.m. If it’s that time of the month and I’m having PMS, I might be extra tired and go to bed earlier. I really try to listen to my body during those times.
I still enjoy my quiet time when the kids are in bed, I still get time with Brian. I can still watch Netflix, or be alone, or get things done if I need to. I don’t feel like I’m cutting myself off by going to bed at 10.
When you’re creating an evening routine the most important thing is to think about what’s going to set you up for a successful morning.
What do you need to get done before your day gets going? Is there anything you could do at night instead of using your morning time to get it done? What is going to make you excited to get up in the morning?
What motivates me to stick to my morning routine is knowing that I’m going to have quiet time—by myself—when the kids are still asleep (and all the mamas say ‘amen’)! And I get to have that quiet time largely because I set myself up for it the night before.
So, just write it all out. What would you love to do in the morning? What do you need to get done at night to give yourself that gift of a great morning?
Listen my beautiful friend, this really matters. This isn’t about shame. It isn’t about a rigid schedule with no room for spontaneity. It isn’t about being Type A because I am fo’ sho’ Type B.
This is about setting yourself up for success,…for joy. It’s about giving yourself the gift of a good solid start to the day so you can handle whatever the rest of the day throws at you.
You have the ability to live a purposeful, abundant life. You have the ability to give your family the gift of functioning effectively.
This isn’t a one-size-fits-all. This is your family, this is your life, and this is your routine.
You are a total boss babe. You have the power to own your evenings so that you can own your days.
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