Thursday, April 23, 2015

establishing an evening routine

evening routine
Establishing an evening routine is one of my goals for April. Last week I sat down and wrote down my evening priorities and what activities I would like to get done.

Step 1 of establishing a routine (any routine): write down your priorities and that which will enrich your life.

There are things that are a given/obvious priorities:
  • kids have homework to do
  • dinner needs to be prepared and eaten
  • exercise (this is obviously not the only time to do it, but this is when we do it)
  • kids need to get ready for bed (they need to brush their teeth, get into their pajamas, etc.)
These are things that we do without fail (well, I try to weasel my way out of exercising sometimes). I thought about what I could do to make some of these things run more smoothly. Having a plan helps immensely. For example, I plan our meals one day a week- usually on the weekend. I very rarely don't know what's for dinner on any given weekday. That removes the guesswork. (I don't know about you, but meal planning requires so much energy!) I also have some sort of plan for my exercise routine, which again eliminates the guesswork. Establishing a basic plan for evening priorities will make for peaceful ones.

These are life-enriching evening activities, which I want include as part of my evening routine (yours may or may not coincide with mine):
  • reading
  • reviewing the day's accomplishments
  • reviewing my to-do list and calendar for the next day
  • having my kids tidy their room girls' room gets done typically when I can't take it anymore and they need to "Clean it now. Sohelpme!!" I want to change that dynamic. A little tidying in the evening will eliminate crazy mom mode. The life-enriching activities require that I make them a priority. If I don't, they won't happen. I will get stuck doing the true priorities and overlook those things that bring me peace and joy. (Yes, my daughters having a somewhat clean room brings me much joy). In order to make these activities a priority, I need to map out my afternoon/evening. I need to have some sort of time schedule in place.
evening routine
Step 2 of establishing a routine (any routine): determine a time sequence.

So... after several drafts, I came up with a basic outline of what I wanted my late afternoons/evenings to look like:

4:00 snacks, homework, chores
5:30 dinner, cleanup
6:30 exercise
7:30 snack ("dessert")
7:45 kids brush teeth, tidy room, get clothes ready for school
8:00 kids' bedtime, prayers
8:30 shower
9:00 review day's accomplishments, review tomorrow's to-do list and calendar, read
9:45 wash face, brush teeth, floss
10:00 bedtime

Again, this is a basic, flexible outline. This is the ideal, but I realize that most days won't happen exactly like this. I'm aiming for this though.

Step 3 of establishing a routine (any routine): create a checklist and refer to it often.

I picked up an inexpensive frame, put my checklist in it, and use a dry erase marker to check off what has been done. (I was using a protective sheet, but the dry erase marker was burning the plastic after so much use). The evening routine is still foreign to me. I have to work at it, which is why this visual reminder is useful.
evening routine

Step 4 of establishing a routine (any routine): stick to it.

Though I have been working on my routine sporadically, I intend to truly stick to my routine in May. (I'm making it a goal then). I will be using this daily tracker to log my progress. Tracking your progress will provide an incentive for sticking with a new habit. Seeing those bubbles marked is strangely satisfying.
evening routine
**I'm sharing pictures of my morning routine. I hadn't established my evening routine when I took these pictures. :)

I know that sticking to a routine- in this case, an evening routine- will be very rewarding.

Read more about when I discovered the efficacy of routine here. I share helpful articles for establishing an evening routine here.