Life Recipe 02: Find more energy in the evenings

The evenings are such precious, uninterrupted time. Too often I am too tired from the dinner, bath, story, and bedtime routine with my children to really enjoy them. How can I get more energy in the evenings to do the things I enjoy?

Some nights I need to crash but most nights I just need something to keep me busy and divert my mind away from feeling tired.

One evening, I was lying in bed thinking about the list of things I could be doing and feeling guilty for not doing any of those things. I realized when I do freelance work in the evenings sometimes, I make it through the tiredness and can be very productive. Why can’t I break through the tiredness for me, to do the things I need to do that will improve my own quality of life? And so it happened.

You know those little things—like organizing your tupperware drawer, getting unworn clothes into bags for donation, sorting through the children’s artwork—that weigh on you everyday but you never make the time to do. Putting these things off everyday completely zaps your energy.

I actually made time for the nagging tasks at the seemingly worst time—in the evenings after my children go to sleep when I’m usually tired—and it energized me to do even more. I got the idea from Gretchen Rubin who says “something that can be done at any time is often done at no time” and “nothing is more exhausting than the task that’s never started.” She is dead on. I’m not sure if its the accomplishment of completing a task or just keeping my mind busy, but I lost that feeling of tiredness.

Life Recipe 02: Find more energy in the evenings.

What you need:

  1. List of unfinished tasks and projects
  2. Your phone (to set up a reminder – otherwise you’ll forget and do something else)

How to do it:

  1. Write up a list of all the tasks around your house that you keep putting off.  You can work on your list anytime. Its helpful to have it on your phone because you’ll think of things at the most random times. If I don’t record it in the moment, it will pass and I’ll forget about it. I use an online tool called Trello, which is amazing and helps me keep track of everything, including my house tasks.
  2. Next time you just want to crash early, try tackling one of the activities on that list instead. Tell yourself you’ll just do it for 15 minutes. Sometimes once you get into it, you won’t want to stop. But starting is always the hardest part. Completing the task will probably take a lot less time than you mounted it up to be in your head. And its amazing how much more efficient you can be doing something when you don’t have children at your feet while you are doing it.
  3. Here is the best part. You’ll feel very pleased with yourself when you accomplish one of your tasks that you’ll want to do more. You’ll also feel more energized. You’ll have some time for you or quality time with your husband. You can read the book that has been sitting on your nightstand. Watch a show and feel guilt-free and happy, knowing you did something productive before. Or if you are really feeling ambitious, you can accomplish another task on your list or tidy up for the next day.

I am amazed at how little things like this give me a positive boost.

As a bunch of these boosts start happening, my overall outlook changes. The next day when I can easily find the tupperware lid and bottom, it makes me feel good, so packing the lunches is smoother, and I take that with me into the lunch with my children.  When my outlook is positive, my children feel this. They are better when I am better and we are all enjoying our everyday moments more.

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