For those of us who are into making sure we have productive morning routines, finding productive things to do at night can seem like a struggle.
We’ve already used up our willpower by the end of the day – what else can we do?
But before you turn off the light and say sweet dreams to the world, trying out some of these nighttime productivity tips can help both end your day positively as well as start the next one off right.
These are easy things to do, nothing strenuous, but if you do have intense tasks to get done before bed, check out my guide to staying productive while tired.
Whether you want to take some time to organize, learn a new skill, or refocus, here are 11 productive things to do at night.
Best tools for Productivity
1. Read an Article
It doesn’t always have to be a long book (though it can be), but it’s a great idea to read articles about topics that interest you, particularly in your line of business if you’re self-employed or an entrepreneur.
And if you’re not, reading an article just about something you’re interested in can keep your brain engaged and learning while not being so long that you find yourself nodding off while reading.
We spend so much time every day rushing around and responding to short term content like tweets and Instagram posts that reading a longer form article can be one of the most productive things to do at night to keep us learning and not letting our brains go to mush.
2. Listen to a Podcast
If reading isn’t your thing before bed, turn on a podcast, whether that be a crime podcast, a business podcast, an inspirational podcast or something else.
There are so many options to choose from that even if you’re interested in random weird facts, there will be a podcast for you!
See if your favorite author or celebrity have a podcast (many do) or go to Spotify podcasts and click on something you haven’t heard of to try it out.
For those of us who are trying to build businesses, listening to informational podcasts before bed about things like blogging, SEO, or self-publishing can help us learn, make the most of our time in the evening, and not require so much of ourselves.
3. Clean Your Room
Has your room or house gotten trashed during the day from the day to day bustle of life?
One of the best things to do at night for a clear mind is to give yourself 5 or 10 minutes to clean up before you hit the hay.
You don’t want to be going into full on organizational mode and going through every sock drawer, but putting things where they belong, doing a quick sweep of what shouldn’t be in the room and cleaning off any surfaces so they sparkle for the morning can make a huge difference to how restfully you sleep and how productive you are the next morning when you wake up in a pristine environment.
If your environment is cluttered, your mind will be too.
4. Turn On the Dishwasher/Washing Machine
Let the chores happen in your house overnight!
We always load up the dishwasher and the washing machine or dryer before bedtime, so that the appliances can run overnight and we can then either empty the dishwasher or we can fold the clothes first thing in the morning when we get up.
This way you’re not waiting around for them to be done, and also means you can put the last of the dirty clothes or dirty dishes from the day away.
5. Set Out Your Clothes
The easiest way to make tomorrow morning productive is to be productive at night and set out your clothes!
Even if you have a uniform and know what you’re going to wear, taking the time to choose them the night before and lay them out means you can get dressed super quickly in the morning and don’t have to spend tons of time rifling through your closet looking for that exact pair of pants you need.
6. Make Tomorrow’s To-Do List
For some people, making the to-do list the day before works best, instead of doing it first thing in the morning.
If that’s you, right before you go to bed, make tomorrow’s to-do list.
All you need to do is determine what you need to do tomorrow that’s going to get you closer to where you want to go and write that list down.
If you wake up tomorrow morning and need to adjust, that’s totally fine.
But having tomorrow’s to-do list at least partly outlined will give you a jumpstart on achieving your goals the next time and can make sure you get all of those nagging “I have to do this tomorrow” thoughts out of your head.
You don’t need to run a 5k right before bed, but keeping up with your flexibility is a great way to keep your body moving in gentle ways at night.
Use some time to spend 5 to 10 minutes stretching, and not only will you feel better physically, but it’s also a great time to do some meditation or mindfulness while you do it.
8. Learn an Instrument
Live alone or without neighbors who can hear your piano playing through their window?
Spend the evening learning an instrument after the sun has gone down and you don’t have the distractions of the day getting in the way of your learning.
From guitar to piano, set yourself some goals each night and new songs to learn so you can pick up a new hobby or continuing on your path to exceling at your instrument.
Learning an instrument can keep your mind sharp, which will help you achieve the other things you want to do in your life.
9. Journal or Write a Book
Got some writing to do for your novel, or just want to journal to get your thoughts down for the day?
Spend some productive time in the evening writing, whether you hole yourself up in your home office or you take your laptop to bed.
Studies show that we can find it easier to be creative and let the words flow when we’re a little bit tired, so many people find that evenings are a great time for them to write without overthinking everything.
In fact, I wrote my self-published book entirely in the evenings, consistently, over a period of a few months.
Even just 30 minutes or so each night can lead to big goals once all of that time adds up!
10. Clear Your E-mails and Messages
One of the most practical productive things you can do at night is to make sure you’re cleared or responded to all e-mails, texts, and voicemails before you go to bed.
There’s nothing worse than trying to sleep when you know that you need to get back to people tomorrow or you have things left unsaid, so respond as much as possible before you fall asleep and then you can sleep easier.
I like to set aside some time to do this about an hour before I go to bed, so that I’m not responding to these messages or looking at a screen right before I fall asleep, but am still doing it at the end of my day.