One Common Mistake You’re Making With Your Morning and Evening Routines and How to Avoid It

Martine Ellis
2 min readOct 27, 2023

Internet Wisdom suggests that morning and evening routines solve all productivity problems.

It makes sense.

Who doesn’t love bouncing out of bed at 5 a.m. to enjoy 3 hours of morning pages with a green smoothie followed by a sea swim in the sunshine? Is anything better than an evening devoid of screens spent reciting affirmations, batch cooking the next 90 days’ worth of meals, and meditating?

(That’s a “no” from me).

While Pinterest will tell you all of the above is the recipe for The Perfect Morning and Evening Routine, ask yourself: how long could you sustain this?

While many of these activities could form part of a start-up or shut-down routine for you, the only way you will stick with it is if you can — realistically — do it every day. The benefit of start-up and shut-down routines comes from repeating them daily.

These routines can prepare you for a successful day and promote a glorious night’s sleep. They can make your life better. But they only work if entirely personalised to accommodate your unique needs. Most people make the mistake of copying other people’s routines without considering what they need to have a solid start to their day and a peaceful end.

Sure, borrow inspiration from others, but make your routines work for you.

Your routines do not have to include exercise and prohibit screen use. My routines are mostly administrative — planning, managing, and closing off my day.

Try reflecting on what you think you need more or less of in the morning and evening — write a long list. Then, pick one thing for the morning and one for the evening. Try it for a while, then reflect and review. Take it slow.

Realistic routines only, please.

I am now writing on Substack and I would love it if you followed me over there; thank you 💛

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Martine Ellis

Wellbeing-driven productivity systems and strategies for people who are neurodivergent (or think they might be). Weekly email digest → notesbymartine.com