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My Evening Routine: The Work-to-Rest Wind Down

Reading time: 8 min.

As a mom of a toddler, running a half-million-dollar business with a team, I get asked fairly regularly what some of my productivity hacks and routines are. So, today I’m walking you through the 6 things I do to close things down and peace out on work every day—here’s my evening routine!

Nope, I don’t always nail it with a perfect 10 … especially during these pandemic days when someone cute and small is hanging out with mama a little more than usual. 😉 But while work is a GOOD thing, it’s not the most important thing: my family is.

Ya’ll know by now, I talk ~a lot~ about working from a place of more rest, less hustle—sooo I have ever *so* creatively dubbed this my “work to rest wind-down routine”.

How to Design an Evening Routine | Ashlyn Writes

This evening routine is about four years in the making, and I’m so excited to share it with you. Let’s jump in.

P.S.— Click here or down below to grab my free Batch Days mini-training guide to see how you can sort work so your focus stays honed in on the needle-moving activity of the day 👇👇


Evening Routine Step 1 | Relationship Building: 30 to 45 min

In my PR agency days, the company founder Glen likened relationship-building to R&B music …He said: “Networking is a task; relationship building is a commitment.”,  and that stuck for me, so I still call this people-focused, rhythmic routine that.

Getting technical. I do have a card for this in Asana labeled as R&B and R&O. That stands for reaching out. Every day of the week, I have a few names mentioned of people that I want to reach out and just say, “Hey,” to whether I’m supporting them on social media or texting them, or just saying, “Hello,” writing a note.

Mostly, they fall into a few categories:

  • People you’ve met in the past & want to keep in touch w/
  • Following up with people that you’ve met or interacted with recently.
  • People you don’t know it all, but would love to either partner with or work with.


Okay, here’s a big secret: I have booked A-list clients because of this practice. I’ve also secured partnerships that were my goal. I hope this doesn’t sound weird… what I’m trying to do here is figure out a digital substitute for something that takes place in the corporate world and in so many other places, naturally, especially now during COVID. Happy hours, networking events, stuff like that does not happen for me with a toddler on my hip and an iPhone in my hand half the time. Instead, I’m trying to foster that sort of climate here in mom life.


If you’ve ever heard of the dream 100 exercise, building a list of a hundred people that you would love to partner with or work within your business, this is kind of where the actionable part of that takes place.

Take those names and put them on your weekly calendar, thinking, “I just want to love on her. I want to tell her she’s doing a great job. I want to tell her I love her work.” That kind of thing.

Go into this with the attitude that if you never get anything in return, that’s okay. It can also help you build relationships through the internet since we’re not exactly going out and having coffee dates.

I also use this little time slot to clean out as many social media notifications as I can—DMs, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, anything like that.

For me, my family, and my real life away from my business come first. I’m going to set a clock for this and get to as many as I can. Sometimes that means that there are many that go unanswered…and that’s ok!

Evening Routine Step 2 | Inbox & Slack Sweep: 30 to 45 min

I try to spend no more than one hour a day inboxing, which means I can’t get to them all.

A couple of things here: I do route all the newsletters that I’m getting into one folder—so, I’m not talking about those. Rachel on my team (fun fact: she actually used to be my college roommate) is pulling out anything that she needs me on and putting those into my folder. When I say I’m checking my emails, that’s the folder that I’m checking.

We have tons of templates. I’ve created videos and resources about that in the past, that can help with all of that. Usually, these emails are not a template response because it’s something I need to answer personally.

Since I’m against the clock on this, I can’t get to them all. I just chip away at the mountain. I used to call this hitting inbox zero, but I don’t call it that anymore. With everything going on, I don’t hit inbox zero every day, instead, I’m setting the timer. I’m doing as much as I can in that timeframe.

By the way, my friend Shay posted some incredible encouragement that has to do with this sort of thing recently. It was wonderful.👇👇

Evening Routine Step 3 | Time Tracking: 3min

Here I’m just scribbling down what I’ve worked on. I go through periods in the year where I drill down a little bit more and try to figure out where all my time going. If you’re inside The Art of Efficiency, you know about that whole process, but really just day in and day out I’m jotting down quickly what I did in a day and reflecting back during my routine.

I’ve done videos in the past where I go into more tech tools that you can use to track your time. BUT if you’re *just* looking for a sheet printable, which is what I use, you can grab that for free here. 🙂

Evening Routine Step 4| EOD Scorecard: 5 min

Scorecard sounds fancy, I really just scribble these down in my planner:

  • Score myself—focus, energy, sustenance, social on a quick scale of 1-10. This is the moment of the day I usually have that light bulb moment where I realize oh my gosh, when I eat healthier foods and drink water during the day, I tend to be a *little bit* more productive than if I just drink coffee and LaCroix. 😉
  • Then, I go through and rate the value of the tasks I did that day, scale of $ to $$$$ based on how valuable that task was to my business. If you’ve ever found yourself doing little tasks in your business that you think, “Oh my gosh, this is not worth my time. This is not moving the needle.” Then you compare that to the things that you do in your business that can sky rocket the strategy or these huge client projects that bring in the big bucks. This kind of activity can help you differentiate between those two and especially see how much of your time is going towards either end of the spectrum.

(By the way, these first two little things are ideas that I got from Todd Herman. Just wanted to make clear, these are not things that came out my own brain.)

  • I write down my #1 win, the one thing that will have made a measurable impact on my goals and my big 3 for the week. Usually, I’m circling it in my Simplified Planner , the thing that is really going to help me make measurable progress towards my big 3 that week.
  • I write down the biggest challenge of my day. I’ll be honest, this can be a little therapeutic to get it out of your system here, but I make sure that next to it, I at least have some idea of what I can do to change it or fix it.

Once a week on Sundays, once a month, and once a quarter, I’m actually going through and figuring out how I can move more on track towards my goals. I am the most forgetful person ever— if I can’t go back and actually see what was good, what was a win, what challenges did I have—then I won’t be able to remember specifically.  BUT If I’m actually able to flip through my planner really fast and see where I wrote them down each day, it sparks that moment where I realize what was good, what was bad, and what needs to change.

Ashlyn Carter Ashlyn Writes copywriting

Evening Routine Step 5| Brain Dump: 1min

This is writing down Podcasts I’ve heard about, brilliant ideas of copywriting templates I can create, the dogs need their heartworm medication reordered…etc 🙂

I do teach inside my Art of Efficiency program that you need to have a place to put all these kinds of things. If you’ve never done that before, let me tell you about this quick trick that I do. I use a blank page in my Power Sheets Goal Setting Planner—it’s the planner that I have beside me alllll day—I just jot those things down there. So, when I’m working through the day and I think of things off the top of my head that have nothing to do with what I’m actually doing at the time, I just scribble it down there real quick.

Usually, brain dumping doesn’t take me long because all day whenever I’ve had random thoughts about things I need to do, gifts I need to order, thank you notes I need to write…all. the. things. I just jot them down and they’re out of my head, I’ll deal with it later. 🙂

Evening Routine Step 6 | Big 3 for Tomorrow: 1min

What are the *3 things* I have to do tomorrow to keep moving along and chugging on my weekly and my monthly goals?

I’m going to spend some time in the morning when I actually have my rest to work wind up routine, figuring out how I’m going to do those things during the day. All that I’m doing the night before is just saying, “Okay, you know what? Didn’t get to this stuff. This has to get done tomorrow for me to keep moving and grooving.”

Every morning routine, evening routine, and everything in between I have in my business and my life has to ebb and flow, not only because my family has grown, my business has grown, but also I’m a creative person and I get bored easily. I like frameworks that I can work within any kind of change things up on the fly.

What I like about this evening routine, especially during this pandemic, my days tend to be cut short or some days I just have to be a nap time warrior and this routine can adjust to that. This is the kind of evening routine that I can spend an hour after my little one has gone to bed, pour a glass of wine and plow through it then.

Now you know what I do in the evenings, but if you want to hear about a couple of other weekly routines that I depend on and absolutely love, then be sure to watch this video where I walk you through 3 routines I can’t live without.

If you need a little bit more help, check out this freebie where I dig into a little bit more on how to create a day batching system, so you can have ONE big thing that you’re focusing on each day in your creative small business. You can grab that here.




How to Design an Evening Routine | Ashlyn Writes

Reading Time: 8 Minutes Reading time: 8 min. As a mom of a toddler, running a half-million-dollar business with a team, I get asked fairly regularly what some of my productivity hacks and routines are. So, today I’m walking you through the 6 things I do to close things down and peace out on work every day—here’s my evening […]


comments +

  1. Juliana says:

    In your video I see a Quarterly Examen. I’ve googled and I can’t find that. It looks like a great exercise. Is that something that you made?

  2. Wow. :-0 …
    I really needed to read this. Where you reposted what your friend Shay wrote just hit me in the head like a ton of bricks, or maybe smacked some sense into me… It is something I just really needed to read.
    It has been on my “to-do” list to design my morning and evening routines, but it just never quite happens lol… like so many things on my list, because I let the non-essential things screaming at me take over.
    Reading your blog today, it is all very clear.

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