Recently I posted on the importance of the morning routine. I’ve grown to appreciate it as a great way to make progress towards my goals at the beginning of the day, before decision fatigue has an opportunity to corrupt progress—especially important, since I’m putting in 50+ hours a week at work and Lisa’s topping out near 80.
I was lucky to experience a firsthand look at Lisa’s habits as she progressed through the last two years of her medical education; her success was proof of concept that the waking hours of the morning are the ideal time for high-achievement of personal goals. I remember the summer after first-year, as I prepared for my year abroad, Lisa woke at the same time everyday, exercised every morning with her sister at the local gym, then came home to cleanup, change, cook her breakfast and lunch for the day, and finally squeezed in half an hour (or more) of USMLE Step 1 studying—all before she headed off to her summer research and teaching responsibilities. Looking back, it’s no wonder she was AOA.
But, there’s an even better part of the day, which if used correctly, can make the next morning even more productive—the 15-30 minutes preceding bedtime. As I’ve experimented with my own new habits, Lisa began crafting her own nightly routine. The bedtime ritual has become even more important now that she’s on her medicine rotation and the study I coordinate is in full swing, which has dramatically impacted both of us.
Here’s a sample of our evening ritual:
- Set up the french press in the fridge to brew two cups of “cold brew” coffee overnight
- Pack lunch—and in some cases breakfast—for the next morning
- Get our clothes (and other stuff) ready for the next day
- Review our calendars for the next day
- Plan our morning workouts
- Plan our MITs
- Wash leftover dishes, pick up around the house
- Set our alarms (in my case, turn on my Sleep Genius alarm)
- Calm ourselves (I like to meditate and listen to soft relaxing music, but Lisa tends to relax by looking up recipes)
- Read until we’re ready for bed
Neither Lisa nor I do all of these tasks, but as you can see, there are plenty of tasks one can do before bed to make the next morning easier and less stressful.
What are some of your bedtime rituals?