Habits + Routines

How to Create Your Ideal Evening Routine

A solid structure the night before is crucial to a productive day ahead. Learn how to create an ideal evening routine that fits with your schedule, relieves bedtime stress, and restores your sanity!

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This post is sponsored by Mirum Shopper. All opinions and extremely dry skin are 100% my own.

A solid structure the night before is crucial to a productive day ahead. Learn how to create an ideal evening routine that fits with your schedule, relieves bedtime stress, and restores your sanity! #eveningroutine #productivity #dailyhabits #routine #selfcare

A few weeks ago, we talked about How to Make Your Mornings Insanely Productive, and one of the key success factors was preparing the night before. Sounds super simple, but it’s unbelievable how much a difference this makes!

Today, I want to talk about how to create your ideal evening routine. One that doesn’t feel like another set of tasks on your to-do list, but instead, helps you settle down at night and recharge for the next day.

Here’s the thing—a late-night show on Netflix or scrolling through your social media feed might feel relaxing at the time, but does it really help you wind down and fall asleep? For most of us, I’m guessing it doesn’t quite hit the mark.

In fact, I personally wake up feeling just as exhausted as when I went to bed in the first place! Mostly because these activities push back my bedtime, and I stay up way too late as a result.

I say let’s get rid of all these distractions and plan an evening routine that relieves stress and restores your sanity. Deal? I promise you’ll be SO productive come morning, you don’t know what to do with your new self!

1.  Create Your Next Day’s To-Do List

If you have a hard time shutting your brain down at night, I would encourage you NOT to wait until morning to write down everything you need to do. Otherwise, it will cycle over and over and keep you from getting a good night’s sleep—just ask me how I know!

Instead, write out a list of 3-5 things you want to accomplish the next day and don’t even think about it until morning. If you have lots of ideas and tasks swirling around in your mind, do a brain dump, then organize those thoughts according to your top priorities.

I also like to have a small notebook and pen on my nightstand for things I think of later. And hey, I’ve gotten pretty good at writing in the dark. 😉


2. Tackle a Frustration Area

Are you frustrated when you wake up and see dishes in the sink? Tired of preparing breakfast and school lunches?

For me, I can’t stand opening my bedroom door and seeing a cluttered mess on the dining room table and kitchen island (which used to happen to me all the time before I learned how to do dishes—and fewer of them!). It totally screws with my productivity and I’d rather climb straight back in bed!

Whatever it is you dread in the morning, do something about it the night before. You could spend 10-15 minutes doing a quick pickup, or get bowls and oatmeal packets out for breakfast. I personally love how Crystal tackles school lunches and has separate baskets of food ready for her kids to assemble.

It might not sound very relaxing to do housework before bed, but come morning, you’ll be a much happier person when you wake up!

3. Pamper Yourself

A beauty routine can be incredibly relaxing and is helpful to “wash away” the stress of the current day. Take a shower, wash your face, and use yummy smelling soaps and scrubs to transition from hectic to unhurried.

Here’s my current system:

  • Use my Homemade Makeup Remover to get rid of any residual makeup.
  • Wash face with either St. Ives® Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub or POND’S® Cold Cream Cleanser. I like to alternate between the two so my face doesn’t take a beating every night with a scrub.
  • Moisturize with a good cream.

Sometimes, I will also take a shower during this time so my thick hair has time to dry a little bit before morning. Then I end my pamper sessions with Vaseline® Intensive Care™ Advanced Repair Lotion because my skin is always SO DRY from Florida air conditioning!


4. Wind Down with a Relaxing Activity

This year I fell in love with reading again. I was always using excuses that I was too busy, but I was really just wasting away time on my phone before bed. Now I take 20-30 minutes to relax and read, and I honestly can’t believe how many books I’ve read this year using this method!

For my fellow bookworms, my top tip is to not read anything too mind-bending before bed. A light fictional story or personal development book are both great options to help your brain and body relax.

If you’re not a bookworm, find an activity that has the same effect. Listen to a podcast or calming music. Do some yoga or simple stretches. Pray, read the Bible, or journal a few things you are thankful for. This helps close out the day and ready your body for sleep.

5. Turn Off the Lights at a Decent Time

If you’re the type of person who can live on five hours of sleep, then by all means, skip this step. But for me, I need to turn out the lights no later than 10:30-11:00pm so I can make sure I’m getting enough rest. Otherwise, I turn into that cranky mess I mentioned earlier!

Believe me, I know how tempting it is to finish a good book, or find excuses to scroll through endless Instagram photos, but your body will regret it come morning. Make rest a priority, and your next day’s tasks will fall right into place. 

However, if you often turn out the lights later than usual, this is a sign that you may just need to start your evening routine earlier than you normally would. OR, just make sure you’re not getting distracted on your phone.


Remember, a little bit of effort each evening will reenergize you for the day ahead. Be purposefully productive, treat your body well, and of course, get a good night’s sleep!

Do you bullet journal? Make improving your sleep habits fun with this sleep tracker, available now from the Brainbook Library!

Sweet dreams!

What is an essential part of your evening routine?

Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Read my full disclosure policy here.

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  1. As of this morning, lol, I have made an effort to work in a short workout into my day. This means that every morning I am up at 6am and ready to go on a morning run. So naturally, if I want my morning to go smoothly, I need to prep for my day the night before.

    An essential part of my routine is laying out my workout clothes, so when I’m still half-asleep, I don’t have to try to dress myself in the dark.

  2. I love listening to Tim Keller (he has a podcast) at night. His teaching engages me intellectually and often touches me deeply. His voice is calm and often puts me to sleep in a good way. I don’t seem to have weird dreams much any more since I started this either. I’ve listened to many of us talks over and over; they are full of treasure.

    1. Do you use a speaker or headphones? My husband likes going to bed with some sort of noise in the background but I’m more of a quiet girl. Sometimes he uses headphones but they aren’t as comfortable for him if his ear is on the pillow.

      1. I use a pillow speaker, which is small and flat and lays on top of the pillow or inside the pillow case (for comfort). When the person’s ear is on it, no one can hear except the person who wants to listen. I fall asleep to podcasts or audiobooks each night. I set the sleep timer on my phone and leave the phone on the floor, so it’s not in the bed with me. I’ve experimented with various speakers that I’ve found on Amazon. I’ve just found your website, and although it’s not a productive afternoon, I’m hoping some of your ideas will inspire for future productive afternoons. Thank you.

    1. An evening routine could be the key! Just remember to stick to it for at least a week. It always takes a little bit to establish the routine to keep from falling back into bad habits.

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