My Evening Routine (Including the Dance Party)

Last week, I posted about my morning routine and how it’s very practical and a little bit fun.

My evening routine is similar: it’s quite practical but also allows time for some relaxing and reflection.

Dinner time!

In my mind, the evening starts when we have dinner. I may have been working during the day or running around doing stuff, but around 17:00 or 17:30 I begin to wind down. If William’s been in daycare, I pick him up around 17:00. We get home, play for a bit, and then I warm up our dinner. William usually gets quite impatient at this point, trying to climb into his chair and protesting the lack of food. When the food is warm, we sit down to eat, which is usually around 18:00.

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My Morning Routine (Including the Family Cuddle)

I love morning and evening routines! I love the idea of starting the day and ending it in a special way.

I’d love to have an elaborate morning routine where I move my body, meditate, and journal, but it simply isn’t realistic right now. I usually sleep until William (my son) wakes up, and I value my sleep too much to wake up earlier than that.

Waking up + Family cuddle time!

Usually, I wake up when I hear William’s happy noises. He wakes up cheerful most of the time and makes sounds that are a bit like birds chirping. He only remains cheerful for a few minutes, however, so it’s not like I have forever. Therefore, once he’s awake, I get up, go to the bathroom, and drink a big glass with electrolytes (this helps me rehydrate; I feel light-headed in the morning, so the electrolytes help me feel better).

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My Monthly Review took me 12 minutes

When I talk about my Review System to others, people often ask, “Doesn’t it all take too long?”

In fact, it doesn’t. Setting up a new system for the first time may be an investment of time, but maintaining it is quick.

This morning, I did my Monthly Review for May. I timed myself, and it took me 12 minutes. Literally! I almost felt disappointed there was nothing more to do. I love the Monthly Review, and when the time comes for it (once a month, duh!), I want to savor it and enjoy it. But after 12 minutes, it was done.

What is the Monthly Review?

Ah, I’m so glad you asked. The Monthly Review is a periodic review of the past month and a preview of the upcoming month. I like to do this towards the end of each month. Here, I’ll be describing the Monthly Review for the end of May 2021.

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Identify the problem!

Is there a habit you just can’t seem to make stick? Or is there a task you just don’t tackle no matter what? It may be time to identify the problem!

When you’re struggling with a habit or a project, there is usually a very specific reason holding you back. You may try all kinds of approaches, but until you identify the concrete issue, you’re unlikely to resolve it.

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Try this: Make a possibilities list

Do you hate to-do lists? Do you feel suffocated by deadlines? Try this instead.

Different things work for different people. Over the past two weeks, I’ve been suggesting different strategies that may work for you. If the traditional strategies such as to-do lists, schedules, deadlines, and accountability buddies don’t work for you, then this may be just the right thing for you!

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Try this: External Accountability

In this series of blog posts, I’d like to invite you to figure out what works for you. The idea is to try different approaches and find what resonates the most with you.

This week’s suggestion is to use external accountability. This is when someone is waiting for you or relying on you to do something.

For some people, this is truly key: in order for them to do something, they must have external accountability. In Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies framework, these are the Obligers; namely, people who meet external expectations but resist internal ones. (You can take the free quiz here in order to determine your tendency.)

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Find what works for you! Try this: Daily intention-and-implementation setting

I get a slight gagging feeling when I read about “add these 5 habits to your morning routine to become extremely productive.” These may be great habits, but they’re not all necessities for everyone. In fact, in my workshop on priorities & productivity, I emphasize that different things work for different people. The best thing we can do is to try out different ideas, figure out what works for us, and implement that consistently.

There’s no point in trying to change ourselves. You may think that getting up early is a great idea, but if you’re an evening person, that may not be the best approach for you. Or you may think that it’s great to be able to follow your own to-do list, but if external accountability is what you need, you’d be wasting precious time trying to change yourself instead of doing what works for you.

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Reduce distraction and stress: Turn off notifications from messaging apps

Recently, I made a small change that turned out to make a huge difference in how distracted I felt and how much stress I experienced. It was a little change that I’d been considering for a while but didn’t quite have the guts to make. Now that I’ve implemented it, I’m not going back.

Namely, I stopped getting notifications from messaging apps. I still have the apps on my phone, but I only open them when I choose to. My attention is no longer drawn to them continuously as messages come in.

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Habits I’m working on in 2021

Are you curious about the habits I find difficult? Inspired by the start of the new year, I set up goals for a number of habits. These are the same old important habits, but right now I’m actually tracking my compliance with them. Some of these started falling away towards the end of 2020 (such as getting enough sleep), so I am now making an effort to do the important things. Here are my habits and goals.

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Yearly Review in these strange times

Happy New Year, everybody! You might think that in these strange times where so much is unpredictable there’s not much of a point in doing a yearly review. But I’ve come to tell you that every year is suited for a yearly review!

If you think about it, life is always unpredictable. 2020 has brought us particularly unexpected circumstances, but it is a fact of life that you can never predict everything that happens. The goal of the yearly review is not to try to control everything that happens to us but rather to reflect on what we’d like in our lives and go about making it happen.

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