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Whenever I’m trying to ramp up my productivity everyone always seems to starts talking about their morning routine.
I wake up at 5 am, journal, meditate, workout, climb Mount Everest, etc, etc.
And don’t get me wrong, morning routines can be incredible. But in my opinion, they are nothing without a good evening routine.
It’s like having the perfect exercise routine but only eating chocolate cake for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You’re never going to really reap the benefits until you’ve added a carrot or two to your diet.
Just like you will never really reap the benefits of a fantastic morning routine until your evening routine is present and correct.
Which is why I’m going to take you through my nightly routine that without fail makes me twice as, if not three times, more productive the next day…
I’m being completely honest. It really does have that much of an effect!
Not got time to read the post right now?
Then hit the button below 👇 and grab your FREE “Productivity Jump Starter Nightly Routine Cheatsheet” (phew that’s a mouthful!) Everything you need to create the evening routine of your dreams that will ramp up your productivity, all on one PDF printable!
Why is an evening routine important for productivity?
Let’s start with the basics; why should you even bother with a nighttime routine…
There are three main reasons why an evening routine is a must for productivity:
- It help improves your sleep
- It gets you ready for the next day
- It helps ensure you are doing enough self-care
I’m going to be honest with you, improving your sleep is the most important thing you can do for your productivity and therefore the most important thing on that list. Sure the other two reasons are good reasons, but it’s the sleep that means you will be flying through your to-do list and feeling like a productivity ninja without even trying (or a cup of coffee).
Now before you click off this post I just want to prove to you how important sleep is.
Because I know you know that sleep’s important, but I know I certainly didn’t take it seriously enough until I learned these few facts. So if you want to stop reading that’s totally cool, but just check out the following few bullet points first – that knowledge changed my life, and might change yours too…
- A lack of sleep destroys your attention span. I don’t think I need to even explain how detrimental this is to your productivity, but if you can’t concentrate then nothing gets done.
And I mean it destroys your attention span. Just think about how difficult it is to drive late at night when you’re tired, that point when you realize you have to pull over and get some shut-eye. It’s like every second your mind seems to wander from the task at hand. There’s a reason they say don’t drive when you’re tired and it’s the exact same reason why you won’t be getting anything done if you sleep less than the recommended seven to nine hours.
- Ever noticed that when you’re tired it’s pretty darn easy to become an emotional wreck, you take everything personally and can’t seem to stay cool and collected (something you need to be able to do to whizz through your to-do list).
That’s because your amygdala (the part of our brains that deals with emotions and fear, and how strongly, fearfully and emotionally we react to things) becomes super sensitive, while your prefrontal cortex (the rational part of the brain that makes decisions and is responsible for planning) decides to take some time off.
That leaves you and me an emotional wreck, overreacting to everything and seriously lacking in our decision-making and planning ability. Productivity down the toilet…
- Also, a lack of sleep is scientifically proven to cause you to overeat more as it decreases leptin levels (the hormone that tells your body to stop eating) and increases ghrelin levels (the hormone that lets you know when you’re hungry).
So that’s why when you’re tired you can’t help face-planting into the cookie jar every time you walk past the kitchen! And we all know that riding on continuous sugar highs and lows is not going to help you get more done…
- Slightly less related to productivity but still very important, a lack of sleep is associated with some pretty bad health problems like Alzheimer’s disease and type 2 diabetes.
- And to top it all off, chaps at Harvard now reckon that some of the worst man-made accidents in the world (like the nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl or the space shuttle Challenger exploding) were most likely the results of sleep deprivation.
Basically, a lack of sleep makes you feel and act like you’ve had a couple of drinks, you know that just starting to get drunk feeling. And I don’t know about you, but drunk me definitely isn’t a productive me…
Okay so now you’re convinced that sleep is literally your golden ticket to productivity, what about those other two points I mentioned about why a nightly routine is so important.
- It gets you ready for the next day
- It helps to make sure you are doing enough self-care
Well, I think the first one is pretty obvious, if your next day is planned out nicely then all you have to do is wake up and start implementing. No wasting time faffing about what to start on first because you have that worked out!
Then the final point, it helps ensure you are doing enough self-care.
Fundamentally if you’re not well (mentally, physically or both) then you certainly won’t be your most productive self so making sure you have your self-care sorted helps to keep you as well as possible. It’s as simple as that!
Okay, now we have the whys out the way, I think it’s time I told you how I do a night routine to promote productivity that fits in easily each evening after work!
Example nightly routine; what I do to ramp up my productivity for the following day!
Step One – Plan tomorrow
While the majority of my nighttime routine is done in the couple of hours before actually sleeping, I like to do this item at the end of my work day which is normally around 6 pm.
It’s pretty simple, I go over my calendar for tomorrow and check for any appointments or meetings, then I go over my to-do list and prioritize what I need to get done.
Finally, I plan out the order I will be doing everything so when I get up and sit at my desk the following day I know exactly what I should do first, second, third, etc, etc!
Step Two – Switch off all electronics two hours before sleeping and dim the lights
My aimed for bedtime is normally 10 pm (that way when I wake up at 7 am I should have had a good eight to nine hours of sleep), so at 8 pm I plug my mobile phone into charge, turn my laptop off and dim the lights.
This is basically to mimic the sun setting which gets your brain thinking it’s time to sleep soon.
And the whole don’t look at your electronic screens a couple of hours before bed really works. I notice if I don’t do this because getting to sleep at night can take an hour or two rather than three minutes…
No, I’m not exaggerating!
If you only do one thing on the list, make it this one.
Step Three – Tidy your home
For just 10 or 15 minutes, go around your home and just generally tidy up. Put that DVD away, hang up the laundry, you know just those little things that make your home so much nicer.
I find this is a massive productivity booster the next day because then I’m not thinking about all these little things when I wake up, instead I can get straight into work mode.
Step Four – Do your skincare routine, brush your teeth, wash and generally get clean
I don’t need to tell you guys about your personal hygiene, I trust that you’ve got this one covered.
What I will say is can you make your nighttime personal hygiene routine any more calming?
Maybe put down the zingly, lemon body wash and find a soothing, lavender one to use instead and add in a special, sleep-inducing body lotion, this one would work great.
Step Five – Write down what’s on your mind
If nothing is on your mind then you can totally skip this step, but if you’re the sort of person that has a million racing thoughts now is the time to get them all on paper.
Things you have to do, things you’re worrying about, thoughts about the day, basically anything that enters your head try and get it out and onto paper.
Be warned, if this is the first time you’re doing this it could take a little while, but it is well worth it…
Step Six – Read in bed
There is something about reading that just helps send you to sleep at night!
I personally adore reading so this is no issue for me at all, but if you’re not a big book reader a magazine is perfect too. Heck, the back of a cereal box will work if that floats your boat, just read something, even if it’s only for ten minutes!
Step Seven – Lights out at the same time each night (and wake up at the same time each morning)
Your body loves, loves, loves a routine and it will reward you greatly with some seriously well-rested sleep if you can go to bed around the same time each night and wake up around the same time each morning (yes even on weekends…)
And that’s it, my delightfully easy sleep routine that triples my productivity.
I know it seems ridiculous that something so simple can have so much of a result, but just try it, a good nighty routine cannot be underestimated!
This is all well and good, but I’ve tried evening routines before and not stuck to them, how do I establish a bedtime routine that I can actually stick to?
I hear what you’re saying. It certainly isn’t easy to establish new routines and habits.
My best advice is to add in one new thing per week.
So maybe the first week you swap out your pre-sleep Netflix binge for a read of your favorite novel. Then once you’ve got that down you can introduce another step of the nightly routine, whatever feels right and that will fit into your life the easiest.
When we try and do everything at once, well the success rate normally isn’t particularly high. So take it slow and steady with one new thing at a time.
You will get there, and your productivity and sleep will be so darn grateful!
Don’t forget your FREE cheatsheet!
Hit the button below 👇 and grab your FREE “Productivity Jump Starter Nightly Routine Cheatsheet.” Everything you need to create the evening routine of your dreams that will ramp up your productivity, all on one PDF printable!