Last week we looked at 4 things to do for magical mornings. This week, let’s look at ways to end our evenings that will set us up for success. Adding some structure to your days, will make your days calmer, more peaceful and, possibly best of all, make time slow down. Huh? Yep! When we are more deliberate in our choices and planning, our days involve less running around putting out fires and more living in a manner we choose. Whether you call it scheduling or planning your days, start with your mornings and add in your evening once you have some consistency in the morning. I call it bookending your days. When your days have a regular way of starting and stopping, the in-between section gets easier. It’s like putting together a puzzle. Don’t you all start with the edges? Start your morning magically (read last week’s blog here) and end your evening excellently with these 4 strategies.
PLAN– Get out your calendar and look at what your next day holds. Write down any tasks you must do in a time slot. I repeat: write down the things that must get done in a time slot. Why must we write them in a time slot? Because those “must dos” are usually the things we put off and so, we get to the end of your day without them done. What happens then? We beat ourselves up for not doing them and then, either do them then (when our brain is tired and it takes us twice as long) or, we put it on our list of things to do tomorrow (not quite believing that we’ll get it done). I suggest picking one thing you want to get done each day and focusing on that. No, I’m not living in a fairy land. Like you, I have 400 things I could get done on any given day. But I have trained my brain to prioritize and act on what must get done today. I ask myself: “What task can I do that, tonight, when lying in bed, I’ll feel happy?” That’s what gets scheduled in. I choose to not let myself down. I choose to do the hard things and I encourage you to also. Put them in your schedule first thing in the morning and then move through your day with confidence. Other questions I ask myself when planning? “What do I want tomorrow to be like? How do I want to act? To feel? What do I need to do to make that happen?” That means different things for me on different days. Some days I want to feel productive and get a lot of work done. I deliberately schedule blocks of time to do specific work tasks. If I want to feel calm and connected to my boys, I deliberately schedule that time for myself to hang and play.
PACK UP – Literally. What can I pack up tonight that will make my day tomorrow easier? I pack up my work bag for the next day. I put in my client’s files, my reusable coffee cup, and any work-related items. I also pack any food (snacks, lunch), shopping lists, or workout gear for the next day. Up until very recently, I packed my kids lunches too. They have taken over this task but if you’re a mom of littles, think of what you do most mornings and do anything you can ahead of time. The more proactive you are in the evening, the less reactive you’ll be in the morning. Click To Tweet
POWER DOWN – Time to power down your brain. This is the time you are slowing everything down and telling your body it’s the end of the day. Power down your tech. Turn it off. If you use your phone for an alarm, fine. Put your phone on airplane mode and put it far away from your head. You do not want those EMF rays zinging your sweet self as you sleep and you don’t want the temptation of checking your phone if you wake in the middle of the night. Think of airplane mode as your ticket to fly away into some wonderful adventures in your dreams. Also think of powering down your body. How can you show your body that the day is ending. Most nights I’ll have a cup of tea (my current fave is called Tulsi Sleep). I always fill up my diffuser with relaxing and restorative essential oils (right now my go to mix is cedarwood, lavender, and orange). I also turn the lights down as another signal to my brain that it’s “slow down time”.
GTP: The final thing I do, at the very end of my day, is send a message of gratitude and thankfulness to my brain. I like to end the day reminding my brain of all that was good about my day and all that is good in my life. I do this because it’s a nice way to end my day but also because I know how our brains work. We have a negativity bias and our brains naturally hold on to the negative pieces of our day instead of the positive. I disrupt that pattern with this GTP practice. At night, when lying in bed, my partner and I speak of the pieces of our day that we are grateful, thankful and proud of (GTP). This is a wonderful way to connect with him and also for me to send my brain into sleep in a calm and peaceful manner. Try it and let me know if you notice a difference in your quality of sleep.
Set your day up with bookends to feel better today. When your day has a framework, the things that happen in the middle have less potential to de-rail us. You are an adult. As an adult, it is your responsibility to show up and shine. How do you do this? Start with bookending your days. Intentional action and planning allow us to be our best selves; the best moms, the best partners, the best workers, the best friends, the best US! Writing down a plan for our days moves us from living a reactive life to living an intentional life. What will your evening tonight look like? Choose one of the above strategies and let me know how it helps you.