A lot of people write about the importance of morning routines. I believe evening routines are more important to talk about. Why? Because it’s the routine you adopt in the evening that sets you up for how the following morning will play out.
Here’s a scenario for you to think about. Say you decide one evening not to wash the dinner dishes, because you want to watch something on television. You also decide you haven't got time to prepare your lunch for the next day. And that you're too tired to get your gym clothes ready for your PT session scheduled for six the next morning. How do you think your morning is going to look when your alarm goes off at 5.15am? When you come downstairs to a pile of dirty dishes in the sink. When you haven't got time to throw even a cheese and ham sandwich together for lunch. And when you realise you haven’t got any clean leggings ... so you have to wear shorts to the gym and you haven’t shaved your legs for a week!
Now lets think about how you are going to feel. There’s a pretty high chance you’ll feel stressed. You will also feel guilty for not having everything sorted the night before. Then you’ll spend hours beating yourself up about it. To add to that you will feel rushed, and your morning routine will go straight out the window. Lets not forget that these feelings will stay with you the rest of the day.
These feelings in turn impact how your day will unfold. Have you ever stubbed your toe in the morning and then have the rest of the day feel like everything goes wrong? You drop your phone in a puddle. You spill coffee on your white shirt. And you realise you’ve forgotten your purse when going to pay for groceries. It’s the same with feelings. If you start your morning stressed it’s likely you'll continue to feel this same way throughout the rest of the day. The same happens when you feel rushed.
The way you feel when you start your day also impacts how you deal with everyday situations. If you start your day feeling calm the line at the supermarket doesn't irritate you as much. If you start your day slow and organised, the rest of your day will unfold in the same way.
Which brings us back to evening routines. It’s not so much about establishing a set routine. It's about getting everything done so it allows you to start the next day the way you want to feel throughout it.
My morning routine is simple. I get up, shower and get dressed. Between my partner and I the bed is made and dishes put away. I get the dogs sorted, make a smoothie, grab my lunch and head out the door to work. It’s the same routine every single day. Why? Because it means I don’t have to think about what needs to be done, which in turn decreases decision fatigue and mind clutter. Two things I have no desire to have my head full of. From the time our alarm goes off I have 90 minutes to get everything done and be out the door. Which might sound like ample time to some. But I have a fiancé and four dogs, which I am pretty sure is equal to at least two kids.
The reason my mornings run smoothly is because everything is done the night before. From the time I get home, to the time I go to bed, the exact routine happens each day. Again this helps reduce decision fatigue and mind clutter. If I keep to the same routine I don’t have to think about what needs to happen next.
Some people think routines are boring. I think they are what makes for a slow and simple life. Without routines we aren’t organised. And without organisation we don’t own our time. Time owns us.
I don’t think it matters if you have dogs or kids. Whether you are an early-to-bed person, or a late-night person. Whether you have a partner or are single. Each of us knows what needs to get done in the evening to make our mornings feel that little bit slower.
Yes, we are often tired or can’t be bothered. I get that. But your evening routine is what will set you up for a perfect morning. It will also set you up for how you feel the next day. So if you want to feel like you have time for yourself in the morning, make sure you set yourself up for that the evening before.