The Night Shift

AliceinWonderlandphoto credit

I’ve seen in my own life how keystone habits influence the rest of how we live. My daily habits are greatly influenced by when I plan to go to bed and when I plan to wake up. When I think about how we want to live (a question that I try to ask myself often), it helps me determine my priorities and values. It makes me reflect on how to intentionally live those priorities out on a daily basis.

We aim to eat about 5:30 so we can have time in the evening. After we eat I wash dishes and clean up the kitchen while kids can play with dad or do other projects. I take care of the kitchen “stuff” for the next day while I’m in the kitchen:

-Get kiddos lunch stuff ready for next day
-Get coffee pot ready
-Get dishwasher ready to run (we run it every other night)
-Pull out anything for dinner the next night

We have time in the evening then to read, do homework, play a game, watch a football game, be together or be separate…but the key is having some margins built in as much as possible.

After some shared (or separate time) in the evening, part of getting ready for bed is taking about 15 minutes to make sure the house and bedrooms are picked up. This helps the kids maintain their rooms and keeps the rest of the house livable for adults. We usually start this about 7:45 if we don’t have any other evening plans.

In this new season, I’ve been practicing the habit of getting ready for bed when the kids do! This is the first time I’ve done my evening routine this way but I am really liking it. I get on pajamas, wash my face, pick out my clothes for the next day just as my kids are doing it too. I make sure my exercise clothes will be easily accessible in the morning. The kids brush their teeth but I can wait to brush my teeth just before bed in case I want some chai or decaf coffee before bed. Parental prerogative!

After the kiddos get put to bed, I’m ready for bed AND I have time to choose something I want to do. I can read, watch a short show (I’ll talk about how we do TV without cable at some point), or talk with the hubby.

I’ve determined a time that I need to go to bed based on what time I need to get up in the morning. Most nights I’m in bed by 10PM but a couple of nights a week I do some medical monitoring for my son. I have to go with the flow at those times. It isn’t the end of my habit world. It just means I flex at those points–I jump back into those habits the rest of the time. Consistency is the key even after the times you need to flex!

What is your bedtime? How did you decide on that time? How do you intentionally make it a priority?

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