Getting home from a long day working or looking after children is the time when you want to sit back and relax – and get ready for the following day.
More often than not though, we are greeted by a barrage of jobs around the house that need to be tackled before the following day, not to mention any preparations for the next day as well, and then theres the childrens homework or a project that needs completing unexpectedly – ARGH!
It can be overwhelming and NOT relaxing at all.
How many times have you spent all evening trying to play catch up?
It needn’t be like that.
With a little forward planning then you can reclaim your evenings (or at least a couple!), and here are my tips for doing just that.
The trick is to plan in advance, and know whats coming up.
Sunday is key!
On a Sunday evening I tend to sit with my diary, my home file and my hubby and go through the following weeks plans – consisting of the following:-
- Do our diaries match in terms of what we have got planned and where we need to be?
- Is everything written in the diary (I write it all down, including any birthdays to remember, what needs to be done each day, where people need to be, what work I have planned, meal plans etc….. – its the only way you can be sure it can all be done and it fits without ending up in overwhelm)
- Are there any changes to our usual weekly routine (my hubby does bedtime on some days, and I do the other days, that way we know that we can plan our “free” evenings with whatever we want such as socialising, gym visits or working etc….)
- Do we need to do any specific shopping / jobs etc… for that week (a special birthday coming up, or something we need to get sorted with the house etc…)
We check through the week as an overview, allocate any jobs that are “extras”, and then close our diaries and enjoy the rest of the evening safe in the knowledge that we are as planned as possible for the week ahead!
This is all part of the sunday night routine, in which I am sure 99% of you also have similar in your homes – you know – the manic ironing of school clothes for the week, sorting gym kit bag, shining shoes, checking homeworks been done, ensuring appointments and work for the week is ready to go etc……
It sounds like an extra hassle that you could do without adding to your sundays, but in actual fact it takes very little time once you get used to doing it, and it saves a ridiculous amount of time throughout the week that you would have spent chasing each other to check you knew something was happening, or who needs to pick up tea, or who is buying that present for X etc….
It takes no more than half an hour to get done and fits nicely into our day (equally would work really well on a different day of the week that works for your family).
This means that our sunday night can be enjoyed, as we are safe in the knowledge that there should be few (if any) surprises in the week that we weren’t aware of.
What about on a day to day basis though?
Sunday is the high level planning so to speak – but every evening you will have some planning and preparation that needs to take place.
The key is to get this done quickly and efficiently while still giving time back to yourself to have at least some “me time” each day – as most weekday evenings are rushed with after school activities, work running late etc….
Thats where creating an evening routine comes in.
Routines can eventually become habits – that make life easier if you work out what you need to do at any specific time.
Its second nature in the morning to brush your teeth – but somewhere in the past you were taught that as part of a routine to get ready each morning – its never forgotten and you always find time for it however busy you are – its exactly the same concept for your evening routine.
Creating an evening routine can pay dividends, and I have written mine down in my own home file that can be checked each day to ensure nothing is forgotten.
An evening routine
Everyones will be different, depending on what your specific family needs are – but here are a few ideas that may help you – I have given a childrens and adults version – but you will see that although some of the wording changes (school vs. work for example), the actual routines are very similar – showing that teaching your kids good habits growing up can really help them in later life as well.
Also – absolutely critical to remember is that some evenings you will have more time than others, as some evenings you will have other time commitments, but you must always keep in mind that just as you wouldn’t walk out of the door in the morning without cleaning your teeth, you really need to do everything on the routine to enable you to feel calmer and get more out of the evening and the following day.
It all needs to be done at some point before you leave home the following morning – so by not doing them the previous evening, you are setting yourself up for a very stressed next day, and a very unrelaxing evening as you will be constantly worried you have forgotten something crucial.
By having a routine when you come in through the door, you will be much more aware of whats going on in your life, what is coming up that needs your time and attention and what can be put off to a later date – and you will end up over time being able to do the routine more and more quickly, without having to give it much thought as it will become a habit, and this will eventually give you more time to catch up on your TO DOs, or to relax.
The key though is to balance how much you are doing – you won’t be any good to anyone the following day if you are exhausted or stressed.
Another last bonus of this routine is that everyone in the house can get involved and be more responsible for their part of things – so you can free up more time from this as well.
Adults Evening Routine / Checklist
- Coat, Shoes, Bag etc… all put into usual space when you come in – so you know exactly where they are (no time lost hunting the next morning)
- Handbag / Work Bag emptied of the days items, and repacked for the following day
- Do any tasks that today has brought about (add anything to diary, throw rubbish away, action any post, action any letters from childrens school bags etc….) – DO THIS BEFORE ANYTHING AS ITS CRUCIAL TO NOT FALL BEHIND OR FORGET THINGS.
- Diary for today checked that nothing has been missed – action or move to another day if they have.
- Diary for tomorrow checked – add in any TO DOs that can be fitted in, and pack anything required for any appointments etc….
- Sort clothes for tomorrow out and hang up ready
- Cook Dinner and Eat
- Relaxing Time
Childrens Evening Routine / Checklist
- Coat and shoes put away when you come through the door(check if they need washing / cleaning)
- All school bags emptied and checked for homework / letters etc…..
- Snack and some downtime
- Homework done
- Check that you know what classes / after school activities are happening tomorrow and ensure you are prepared.
- School bags repacked for following days needs and hung in usual spot.
- All clothes for the following day checked and hung up ready to put on.
- Eat Dinner
- Relaxing time
- Bedtime routine
If you get your time planned out, use your diary as the place to put everything you have to do, then you should find that you are more in control of your days and therefore theres less to get stressed about each evening.
Yes, there’s stuff to be done every evening, but you can be in control of how long you spend doing it, and hopefully find that you are one step ahead most days.
What could be better than that!
So – what do you do each evening to plan ahead?