Not all of us are early risers, and there’s no reason why we can’t apply a few of these habits later in the day. And when it comes to role models for Evening Routines, I can’t help but think of this guy:
George Banks from Mary Poppins. I mean come on, look at him go! In less than two minutes Mr. Banks goes from marching through his front door to resting in his easy chair, sherry in hand, surrounded by his loving wife and servants. Life goals.
And along the way, he demonstrates several habits that are common denominators among most Evening Routines.
Expressing Gratitude is all the rage lately, and studies have shown that gratitude journaling can be an effective way to improve sleep and general well-being. But to hell with just journaling – Mr. Banks kicks it up a notch, breaking out into song with “The Life I Lead” as soon as he gets home. Literally an entire song dedicated to how awesome his life is.
Patriarchy and traditional gender roles aside, you can’t say the guy isn’t grateful. Noblesse oblige.
“Consistent is the life I lead.” I talked about this in last week’s post. Consistency and specificity make routines easier to follow and more fun. Mr. Banks has his routine timed down to the minute “At 6:01, I march through my door…”
I like to think that Mr. Banks going through this entire routine every single day when he comes home from work.
“My slippers sherry and pipe are due at 6:02.” Changing clothes right when you get home can be an effective way to transition from work life to home life.
I try to get into casual wear as soon as I walk in the door. In addition to the comfort and physical health benefits, there’s definitely a psychological boost and I feel like I’m more likely to play with my kids.
Of course, as much as I love Mr. Banks’s routine, it isn’t perfect. It’s missing a couple of key ingredients, most notably awareness. It isn’t until after he’s finished his number that he realizes the nanny just quit and his children are missing.
And we have to bring some degree of awareness to our routines. Because at the end of the day, a routine is about more than just going through the motions. Routines, ultimately, are about control.
It’s about controlling some aspect of your life, however small, among the chaos that you have to face throughout the rest of the day. And it hasn’t been easy to write about. These past few days I’ve felt like a hypocrite – I wrote an entire post about my splendid morning routine, but I need to be honest with you guys:
- One (or both) of my girls has woken up six of the past seven nights between 2:30 and 4 a.m.
- Work has been busy, and I’ve been going to bed after 10:30 most nights.
- I recently listened to a podcast series with Dr. Peter Attia (one of my favorite podcasters) and Dr. Matthew Walker (author of Why We Sleep) which has me freaking out about how much sleep I get.
So when my girls wake up in the middle of the night, I’ve been pushing my alarm out 30 minutes, sometimes an hour, to get more sleep. And I’ve averaged almost 20 minutes of (worthless) snooze time on top of that. The meditation goes from 10 minutes to 3 minutes. The workout goes from 30 minutes to 10, then to nothing at all. A lot of days I’ve caught the late bus, tired and irritable and frustrated knowing that I’m not going to get an hour, just one hour, to myself that day.
But some days I do.
Some days I get that hour and then some. And if you’re trying to get that hour, I feel you. It’s hard, and some days it’s just not going to happen. That’s ok. We’re not looking for perfection, we’re looking for improvement.
And this week… there’s hope.
Because this Sunday, November 3rd, just before 2:00 a.m., most of our clocks are going to magically turn back to 1:00 a.m. And that hour is all yours.
That hour is literally the most unaccounted for hour of the entire year. Nobody can get you. Maybe you need to catch up on sleep. Maybe you’re overdue for a night out, and need to have a morning where you can sleep in a little later. Maybe you want to start an exercise regimine, a podcast, a business, or a blog. To me, it doesn’t matter so much what you do – what makes that hour yours is that you do something purposefully.
So, what are you going to do with your hour?