You’ve heard that creating a morning routine is important for optimal productivity, right?
But did you know your evening hours are just as important?
That’s not to say you’ve gotta be militant about your calendar. (Although honestly, for me… some days that’s how I feel, LOL).
But here’s what so many of us do wrong at night: we literally collapse.
Go-go-go all day long – then rush through the evening shiz before rolling ourselves into bed.
So I’m here to tell ya… this habit actually makes you LESS productive.
Because you wind up tired AF. More frazzled. And less connected.
With your fam… with yourself… with your whole friggin life.
When you live life this way, it also means you’re not gonna have the natural energy and motivation you so desperately want.
Sound familiar? LOL
So I’m offering you a challenge.
Create an evening routine with one act of self-care each night. Implement it starting tonight… and do it for a full month.
I’m literally giving you permission to take care of yourself – to put yourself first. Even if it’s just for 5 minutes a night.
This powerful one-two punch of an evening routine and consistent self-care is gonna help you achieve peak productivity.
I’m gonna give you my blueprint on exactly how to do it.
The Ultimate Evening Routine Blueprint for Peak Productivity
Step 1: Create your self-care wishlist.
Fun fact: You don’t have to choose the same self-care practice each night.
Personally I like to have a grab-bag of ideas to pull from – so I don’t have to think about it and I can reach for whatever feels good that day.
Here’s a quick list to consider:
- A bubble bath (my personal fav).
- Use an ice roller on your face (soothes anxiety as it boosts circulation, plus reduces puffiness and redness).
- Gratitude journaling (really good if you have swirling thoughts at night or struggle to fall asleep).
- Give yourself a ball massage (with a lacrosse or tennis ball, ok? Get your mind out of the gutter. LOL)
You could even just google “evening self care” and you’ll get tons of great ideas. The key is to pull together a list of self care practices that resonate with YOU.
What I like to do may not be your cup of tea.
Oooh, have a cup of tea, that’s a good evening self-care practice.
Decaf, please. LOL
Step 2: Segment your evening into wedges.
Once you have your self-care list… it’s time to create your routine.
Start with your ideal bedtime.
Aim to give yourself between 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
For example, let’s say 10pm is your ideal bedtime.
Break your evening into three segments. Like a tasty piece of cake.
Segment A: 1 hour before bed.
With a 10pm bedtime, this is 9-10pm.
Segment B: 2 hours before Segment A.
With a 10pm bedtime, this is 7-9pm.
Segment C: 2 hours before Segment B.
With a 10pm bedtime, this is 5-7pm.
Let’s get into what you do (and don’t do) in each segment.
Step 3: Map out your Segment A.
At least an hour before you go to bed, you need to STOP doing things.
Don’t workout… don’t eat…. and definitely stop using electronics.
Yeah, I know you’re all like...
And while you’re right, I’m not the boss of you…
Blue light has been shown to lead to crappy sleep.
When you use electronics before bed you literally tell your body it’s daytime and you need to be awake.
So about an hour before you go to bed, put away your phone… your Kindle… your iPad.
Just. Do. It. You know you’re supposed to.
What can you do in that time?
Use this hour before sleep for relaxation.
- Do your offline self-care.
- Read (from an actual book).
- Do progressive muscle relaxation.
- Practice a body scan.
Or make time for your partner. If ya know what I mean.
Step 4: Plan out your Segment B.
In this segment, you’re 2-3 hours away from bedtime, so focus on 2 key things: Prepare and Connect.
Prepare yourself for the day ahead.
- Set your alarm with a nice natural, progressive wakeup sound – ditch the aggressive BEEP BEEP BEEEEEEEP (you actually throw your body into an immediate state of fight or flight which is super bad for your health).
- Set your clothes out for the next day – this will help you be more productive in the AM if you actually wear real clothes that aren’t made entirely of lycra.
BTW, no judgment if you’re #teamlycra.
For me, it’s usually joggers and a hoodie since I work out first thing in the morning. Best. Thing. Ever.
Connect is part 2 of this segment equation.
Connect with your fam. Connect physically. Connect with compassion.
My daughter loves to have her back rubbed.
So when we settle down together on the couch before she goes to sleep, often she’ll lay her head in my lap and I’ll rub my hand along her back.
It’s so soothing. For both of us.
Xander likes to get in on the action too. He’s like, “Oh it’s time for pets? Lemme in on this!” LOL
And while connecting is important… do it with compassion. AKA: avoid having stressful conversations before you go to bed.
Yes, difficult convos are necessary in relationships… but do it during the daylight, ok?
There's a saying that goes “Nothing good happens after 2am.”
Well in my book, nothing good happens after 8pm… when it comes to hashing out your issues or talking about polarizing topics.
In the evening, your focus should be on creating a relaxing, peaceful atmosphere.
So you can rest effectively – restore your body and mind – and be able to show up the next day. Ready to be productive AF.
Step 5: Work on your Segment C.
This stage is critical. It’s where you’re transitioning out of peak productivity and into recovery and restoration.
There’s planning you can do here, too.
- Check your calendar to ensure you know what your schedule looks like – appointments, errands, morning calls, etc.
- Make a list of to-dos for the next day – this helps your brain settle and releases anxiety so you can rest effectively.
- Shut off all your work-related email, apps, tech, etc – this helps you create literal separation between your work life and your personal life.
Lots of people like to workout in Segment C. It helps facilitate a physical release of tension from your day.
(Yes more lycra, I could watch these all day LOL)
Other people like to transition out of their work day by going out to dinner or seeing friends.
If you skip this step, you’re gonna have a hard time with Segments A and B. Because this is where you turn the corner… out of peak productivity mode and into restoration.
What I absolutely know is when you’re burning the candle at both ends – blowing through Segment C or cutting it short...
No matter how tired you are, it’s gonna be nearly impossible to get adequate rest.
All your bodily systems are in go-mode. Which means even if you’re physically exhausted, you’re gonna have a hard time actually processing the restoration you need. And that takes hours.
It’s not simply an overnight process. It’s a progression.
That’s why I’m so hot on the term “progressive relaxation.” It’s absolutely crucial if you want to show up as your best self each and every day.
Here’s the thing.
There will ALWAYS be more you could do.
Until you cultivate a well-structured, highly effective evening relaxation routine, your mind will fill in the gaps. And give you a laundry list of more crap you think you need to do.
Which is super stressful… and a cycle that can be really hard to get out of.
So yes, you need these segments in your day: productivity time and recovery time.
This tip sheet has key habits you can start applying right now for a more productive, healthy life.
And best of all, there are some really good nighttime tips in there – for your mental, physical, and emotional health.
So be sure to download that – it’s totally free for you – and start planning your self-care challenge!