5 Secrets for a Restful, Productive Evening
5 Secrets for a More Restful, Productive Evening
Evenings are a time for rest and relaxation after long days. They're for time spent with our loved ones, reading books, watching movies, going to sporting events, and catching up over dinner.
What we often forget is that our evenings can also be productive without losing their restfulness.
Rest and productivity don't have to be entirely at odds.
When we're productive about the right things, we create more room for rest. And when we rest well, we're more able to be productive.
One of the easiest ways to be productive and create a better environment for rest is to adopt a "one minute rule." (Note: I got this idea from Gretchen Rubin, in her book, The Happiness Project.)
All that means is that you stop to do any task that takes just a minute or less instead of putting it off.
Washing the bowl and spoon from your ice cream? Do it.
Folding and putting the blanket away? Do it.
Soaking the dinner pans? Definitely do it.
Wiping down the kitchen counters? Do it.
Notice that all these tasks are brief, but together, they help create a clean slate to start the next morning with, which makes normally hectic mornings go better.
Anything that will make your morning a little smoother and you a little saner is worth the minute or less it takes to accomplish that task.
This goes for things that will take one minute and things that will take a little longer. But have you noticed that tasks always seem to take longer if you try to tackle them in the midst of a busy morning?
Instead, tackle them at night, when your home (and maybe your family) are winding down and tucking in for the night, when things are getting more peaceful, not ramping up for all the crazy.
Create a cleaning routine if it helps (it will). Wash as many of the dinner dishes while you make dinner as you can (pots and pans, measuring utensils, mixing bowls), and wash the rest as soon as you're done (ideally while someone else wipes down the table or puts leftovers away, but you can do that when you're finished with the dishes, too).
Put on some good music to make the time go by faster and more easily. Your dishes will thank you, and you'll congratulate yourself for not leaving a sink full of dirty dishes with remnants of dinner solidifying on them for hours.
Tidy up the living spaces by straightening pillows, folding blankets, returning miscellaneous objects and toys and books to their rightful places, and doing any other little pickup you can. I'm not asking (or telling) you to dust and vacuum. I'm merely suggesting that you tidy up so you can wake up to a tidy home the next day.
TURN OFF SCREENS
There have been studies done demonstrating the negative effects of blue light on our sleep, and I'm inclined to believe them. Not only that, but when we're scrolling, scrolling, scrolling through social media or watching shows right up until we turn out the lights and try to sleep, our brains are still moving and churning through all the material they've been trying to absorb.
If we slow down more intentionally as we prepare to sleep, we'll be able to rest more effectively.
By turning off our screens and putting them away half an hour (or more) before we go to sleep, we give our brains a chance to slow down.
Bonus, this also gives us a chance to notice if any of our electronics need to be charged! And it allows us to have a designated place to put them so we don't have to hunt them down in the busyness of the morning rush.
ENGAGE IN RESTFUL ACTIVITY
Our evenings are largely for rest and recuperation, but the specifics of how we do that look different for all of us.
I'm not going to tell you what kind of restful activity to engage in. That's up to you. But I will give you some suggestions:
take a bath
read a book
talk to someone (friend, roommate, spouse)
do some yoga or meditation
write down what you're grateful for
enjoy some decaf tea
PREPARE FOR THE NEXT DAY
Evenings are also for prep. Mornings are too crazy to handle all the prep that needs to be done for the day.
Take time in the evening to prepare what you need for the next day so your morning can go off without a hitch (or at least, as many hitches).
pick out your clothes (workout clothes, work clothes, etc.)
pack your lunch
pull together everything you need to take out of the house (library books, packages to mail, work bag, gym bag, etc.)
set out workout equipment (running shoes, yoga mat, workout clothes)
Bonus points if you can prepare some things for the whole week at once, like creating a week's worth of breakfasts to grab on your way out the door or setting out a week's worth of outfits at once!
Trust me, you will thank yourself in the morning when you don't have to decide what to wear, what to have for lunch, or go looking for your left running shoe.
Those are all the secrets to creating an evening routine that's both restful and productive! Do you have any you'd add? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!
And if you're looking to get more organized and save time and energy you've been wasting on hunting things down, trying to keep things straight in your head, or tracking things haphazardly, I have another tool for you: my Organize It All! Planner Pages!
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