On the podcast this week, I talk about afternoon and evening routines.
We hear A LOT of people talk about their morning routines. (I shared details about my morning routine last week.)
It’s also quite common to hear about evening routines. But, I think I’ve hardly ever heard anyone talk about afternoon routines. I’m going to change that because for me, my afternoon routine… or rather, my after-school/after-work routine… is really key to my productivity.
So in this week’s podcast, I dive into my afternoon and my evening routine.
When I talk about an afternoon routine, I am referring to the time of day when we are transitioning from work responsibilities back to our family responsibilities.
Personally, my afternoon routine is currently going through changes as my children are getting older and are no longer relying on me for rides home from school and to their various activities. As such, I find myself with more time to work in the afternoon.
For quite some time, my work day ended at 2pm when I left to pick up the kids. If I’d done my work for the day by 2pm, that was a good day. Any work that I got completed after 2pm was what I called “bonus” work!
As the kids have gotten older and more self-reliant, I have been able to carry on with work, if needed, from 3:15pm (when I get home from picking them up) until 5:30pm. Yes, I do work a lot! If I don’t have work to do at this time, I sometimes take a nap.
This year, I have help with my kids’ school pick up and my son will be driving, which means my work day will be 8am to 5pm.
Whether your work day ends at 2pm, at 5pm, or whenever, here is one daily routine I recommend you follow during the last 20 minutes of your work day:
- Tidy Up – Take a few minutes to organize your work space. Coming in the next day to a tidy area will get you into the right mindset.
- Calendar – Look at your calendar for the next day and get an idea of what you currently have scheduled.
- To-Do List – Go over the list of goals you have set for the week and figure out which items need to be completed the next day.
- Write It Down – On either an index card or a legal pad, write down your tasks for the next day in the order you need to complete them. Remember to always TRUST the schedule you made the day before! The impromptu coffee run sounds good in the moment, but your rational mind says otherwise.
Following this afternoon routine today will set you up for a successful tomorrow. This works really well for me.
Then, 5:30pm to 7:30pm is the time I have set aside to spend with my husband and kids, but I also have time set aside to do other important things for myself.
Here are some of the things that I like to do as part of my afternoon routine after I’ve spent valuable time with my family:
- Clean the Kitchen – I like to ensure everything is clean and put away in the kitchen. (This is a new addition for me this year.)
- Plan Dinners – Take a few minutes and decide what to make for dinner the next day. This saves you from scrambling to figure it out the next afternoon.
- Pack the Car – Look at the schedule you made for the next day and place anything you need for tomorrow in the car. For example, dry cleaning that needs to be dropped off.
That is my afternoon routine and I think it’s the key to my productivity.
From 7:30pm to 9pm, everyone in my family likes to enjoy some alone time.
I tend to head upstairs to my office and continue working. But, the work that I do at this time is work that I really enjoy doing and nothing too heavy.
At 9pm, I start my bath and pick my clothes out for the next day. I try to keep my wardrobe pretty simple. Capsule wardrobes really interest me and I’m going to dive deeper into that idea in the fall.
Around 9:30pm, Greg and I watch a TV show. (You’ll need to listen to the podcast if you want to hear me run through my favorite programs right now!)
No matter which small tasks you add to your evening routine to help the next day run smoother, make sure to take time to RELAX.
The best way for you to create your routines, no matter the time of day, is to create a list of items you want to accomplish during those times.
By creating these lists… and ultimately routines… your productivity is going to increase, giving you much more time to enjoy with your family.
Remember, at the end of the day, it isn’t about what you didn’t accomplish that day, it’s about what you DID accomplish and how you impacted the people around you.
It’s all in the routine!