I’m a morning person through and through. There’s nothing I love more than waking up early and getting to work, because I know that’s when I’m at my most productive. Evenings are completely different. When I get in from work, I’ve got my routine nailed. But when we've eaten tea and cleaned up, that’s when I start to struggle.
My evenings used to go one way or the other. I’d either waste them away not really doing anything or work late into the night. Recently, I’ve been on a mission to make my evenings count, be more intentional with them and do things that matter. So today, I wanted to show you how I’ve been doing that.
#1 | Don’t be too strict with your routine
One of the reasons I found why I wasn't enjoying my evenings was because I was just doing the same things over and over. I’d get in from work, feed the animals, exercise, make tea, eat, and then work. It was getting boring and I had nothing to look forward to.
You've got to allow for flexibility. If it’s a beautiful day, instead of driving to the gym, why not go for a walk? Sure, it’s not as intense as a HIIT session, but you can still make it count. And why not eat out one night? Treat yourself. You never need a reason to do that.
I was about to start my workout one night last week when Tom rang as he was leaving work saying let’s go for a walk, because it was a beautiful Spring evening. We took some really good pictures and spent some quality time together without any added extras. That’s the way to spend an evening.
#2 | Decide a cut-off point
Setting a boundary for when you switch off from technology can be really difficult. But it’s key to making the most of your evenings. I’ll admit – I could easily spend all night browsing social media and reading blog posts. Checking our phone becomes a habit. But that can affect things in our lives in a very negative way, especially our relationships.
We set a cut-off time. One night it could be 8pm, one night it could be 9pm, and on some nights we might choose to switch off completely. But once that time comes, we put the technology away for the night.
One way of doing it is through rooms. At home in our family front room,when we’re watching something, we have a “no-phone policy” – it’s not as strict as it sounds! It’s basically so we can all enjoy each other’s company without technology hanging on the side. So on Monday night, we set a cut-off point of 8:30. By 8:20 I was done with work, so we came downstairs to watch something and we left our phones in another room. Not having it with you makes it even less tempting to check.
#3 | Set the mood
Your environment is also really important in helping you make the most of your evenings. You want to make sure that the space you’re in is a space you actually want to be in. If you’re working and want to be productive, make sure you’ve got as much light as possible. Or if you’re relaxing, light candles, lower the lights and get yourself comfortable. Setting the mood can make such a difference depending on the kind of activity you’re doing.
#4 | Do something for you
I know you’ll have a to-do list to complete, and if you’re like me who works full-time, then evenings are perfect to catch up with the endless tasks involved in running your blog. And even though you might think that working on your blog is doing something for you, it actually isn't.
Doing something for you means doing something that’s going to help your mind relax. The other night, I spent an hour and a half reading a magazine. I hadn't done that in so long, but I felt so good afterwards. I’d completely relaxed and my mind felt at ease.
Whether it’s reading, watching your favourite box-set, sowing or something different – do something you know that brings you happiness. Plus, you deserve it after a hard-working day.
#5 | Spend time with your people
You've spent your day by yourself earning your future – evenings are the time to spend with the people who are going to be in your future. Parents, siblings, friends, pets, your other half – you’ll remember your evenings much more when you spend them with the people you care about.
Tom and I keep talking about the days when we’re living in our own house and how we’ll be able to spend every evening together. It’s something we can’t wait for. And even then, we’ll be able to go and see our parents, our friends and do things for ourselves too. There’s something very comforting about coming home to someone at the end of each day.
#6 | Journal
This is a habit I need to practice more often, but I love writing in my journal at the end of the day. I don’t go all deep and meaningful. I just write about my day. What the weather’s been like, what I wore, what happened, what made me smile, how I was feeling. Sometimes I’ll write in full sentences, sometimes it’ll just be bullet points. But writing everything down at the end of the day can make you realise how much has actually happened in your day. And I bet it’ll be more than you think.
#7 | Plan your time
Rather than coming home and thinking, “what am I going to do tonight?”, why not actually plan your evenings like you plan your days? You don’t have to write it down and make a schedule. All you need is a mental note.
For instance, you might want to give yourself a night off from blogging, so you can plan when that’s going to happen. One night you might want to go for a walk, and the next you might decide that you want to read. Then another night could be spent catching up on your favourite TV show. This way, you’re making time for everything.
It’s also a good idea to jot down what you do each evening for a week or two to see what you actually spend your time on. This can be good for seeing what changes you need to spend your time more wisely and make your evenings even better.
Your evening might be more difficult to control than your morning, but I promise that a few small changes will make all the difference. Just try one of these things at a time and spend those hours in the sunset in the best way for you.
What do you do to make sure you’re going to make the most of your evening? Will you try out any of the things from this list?