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Transform your mornings with a powerful evening routine

They say a good morning starts with a good night, and this is often referring to a restful night of sleep, which, come on, as moms we all know can be fleeting. But the real truth is that (no matter how much sleep you get) a good morning starts before you go to sleep with a good evening routine.

If you’ve read any of my posts on the topic, you already know how establishing routines can help moms rock their days:

And even if you don’t have any other set routine in your day, I urge you to create one for your evenings. Once it’s habit, your morning self will thank you!

Think of like this. Here are two scenarios – in the first, you wake up in the morning, trip over dirty clothes on your floor, step on a LEGO on your way to the kitchen to make coffee where you’re greeted with a sink full of dirty dishes from last night’s dinner, no clean mugs and a bunch of now-urgent things to do already screaming for your attention. In the second, you wake up in the morning and head to the kitchen. There is no laundry to trip over or toys to step on and your kitchen is clean. You then proceed to make some breakfast and enjoy a cup of coffee while planning your day. How would you rather start your day? I’ll take option two!

Transform your mornings with a powerful evening routine

(and a free worksheet to help you get started, you can grab it here):

Now before we dive into the “How” of transforming your mornings with a powerful evening routine, let me give you a little more back story on why I’m not just going to tell you to download my list of things to do and follow it.

I used to have only one kid to get to school every morning (ha!), and yet we were always late and I was always frazzled and yelling. Lunch wasn’t packed. Things were missing. The car was buried in snow and frozen in ice. It super sucked, but I just accepted that as the reality of getting kids out the door every day. Until a friend told me about a popular blog and her cleaning routines. It had a list of things to do each night before you go to bed. I decided to see for myself…and failed miserably.

The thing is, it’s great to research and see what other people are doing, but someone else’s routines aren’t necessarily going to be a perfect fit for you. Because it wasn’t custom to my life, things weren’tworking and I gave up, feeling like a failure and even worse about myself than I did before. It wasn’t until a few years later, I finally decided to get over my resistance to routine and come up with one that worked best for us.

Here’s a sample of my evening routine. On average, it takes me about 20 minutes to complete, with the many interruptions of my children. 🙂 This is just to give you an idea of some things to think about including in your routine.  This is not intended for you to try to duplicate in your home. What works best for you might look different. I repeat, this is just a sample to give you some ideas:

 

 

Here’s how you can so the same

(don’t forget to grab your free worksheet to help you with this):

 

Set your priorities & Define what you want to accomplish

When you know why you’re doing something, it’s a lot easier to figure out what you need to do to make it happen – and what you don’t. For example, your goal might be to have stress-free mornings, or to be ready to leave on time every morning without having to rush or run late. Maybe you want to have a little to do as possible in the morning.

Work backwards from your goal and determine all the steps that need to be taken to accomplish it

For me, this is just as much about cutting out steps as it is adding things in. For instance, my goal is to have smooth, stress-free mornings. I know that means having a relatively picked-up house, a clean kitchen and lunches packed. But, I also know that clean-ish is ok for me. 🙂 I don’t need to scrub every appliance and mop my floors nightly to feel like I’m waking up to a clean kitchen. For me, a quick surface swipe, sweep and occasional spot-mop will suffice. This helps limit the time it takes me to complete my routine because I’m not getting caught up in all the little details. And one key about creating a routine that you will stick to is that it should be relatively quick and painless. If you’re planning an hour of housework each night you’ll burn yourself out trying to keep up with it. Keep it simple!

 

Analyze the steps and decide where you can batch like tasks to streamline the process.

Examples of this include prepping lunches and snacks for the week all at one time, or picking out clothes for the week in one go. This will help you come up with the best order/flow of tasks and keep the amount of time you have to spend completing your routine each night to a minimum.

Determine how much time you need for each task and be realistic.

This will help you understand when you need to begin working on it or how you need to arrange your evenings in order to fit in your complete routine.

Write out your new routine and set a goal to complete it each day.

Check off each task as you complete it and use a habit tracker to keep track of the days it gets done. After about a month or so, your new routine will be habit.

Final Key Point: Give yourself the freedom to stray from the routine occasionally. Your needs are going to change as your seasons of parenting change. Be aware of this and tweak things as needed. Just because you put it on paper does not mean it is inflexible. Reevaluate regularly and adjust what’s working and what isn’t.

Don’t forget to download your free worksheet to help you create your ideal evening routine, and I’d love to hear what are the essentials of your routine? Leave your answer in the comments below.