SYW170 – Evening Routines for a Creative Life

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Last year my friend Jill Allison Bryan joined me for an insightful conversation about morning routines. Today’s episode is the bookend to that discussion, focusing on the role of the evening routine as the foundation of a great day. We talk about making intentional choices, the difficulties of change, and the importance of a personalized routine.

Links Mentioned

Jill Allison Bryan 0:00

The main reason changes and new habits tend not to stick isn't because we're bad people or we're lazy or don't have willpower, which is usually what we tell ourselves. It's just because change can be scary because it's new and different. Our brain wants to keep us safe, which means back to the familiar and known even if that's not what's serving us at the highest level. So, really being aware of that, that our mind is going to try to resist it. And that's okay. I think it's an important part of the journey to create a new evening routine.

Jennifer Wilson 0:31

Welcome to Scrapbook Your Way, the show that explores the breadth of ways to be a Memory Keeper today. I'm your host, Jennifer Wilson, owner of Simple Scrapper and author of The New Rules of Scrapbooking. This is episode 170.

Jennifer Wilson 0:44

In this episode, I'm joined by Jill Allison Bryan to chat about evening routines as an important complement to morning routines. We explore why change is difficult, how routine support, living a creative life, and simple strategies for getting started.

Jennifer Wilson 1:05

Hey, Jill, welcome back.

Jill Allison Bryan 1:06

Hi, Jennifer. Thanks for having me back.

Jennifer Wilson 1:08

Yes, I am looking forward to our conversation kind of a bookend to our previous one. But we'll get into that in a moment. Could you remind our audience of who you are what you do where you live?

Jill Allison Bryan 1:21

Sure. I'm Jill Allison Bryan, I'm a creativity coach. And I have Creative Oasis coaching. I coach people one on one. And I have a group called Magic Action for Multi Passionate Creatives, which is a group coaching cohort. And I live in Dallas, Texas. And through the coaching, I'll just add, I help people to actually get their creative dreams and ideas out of their head and into the world to actually be implementing them.

Jennifer Wilson 1:48

Yes, yes. And we had a chance to spend some time together not so long ago, I was so glad to catch up with you in person, and to bring Emily along to meet your niece as well.

Jill Allison Bryan 1:59

Yes, that was super fun. And actually, yeah, it kind of ties into even what we're talking about today or some of the things we're gonna be talking about today. I think so.

Jennifer Wilson 2:08

Totally. Yeah. So I love to ask my guests, what is exciting them right now. And typically, we're talking specifically about scrapbooking, but I would love to hear something in your creative life that is totally lighting you up.

Jill Allison Bryan 2:19

Okay, perfect. So this does tie in to your visit recently, because one of the things that is really lighting me up is, and this is you know, as the world is opening up a bit more is getting out and about and experiencing more art and music and other people's creativity in person in the real world. And so, you know, one of my missions is always to broaden the definition of what it actually means to live a creative life. It's so much more than drawing, painting or crafting, you can experience creative joy, and meaning and fulfillment, you know, while doing a lot of things, gardening, cooking, volunteering. But also, in addition to creating ourselves, I really believe that going out and experiencing other people's creativity is is an important part of really having an enriching or enriched creative life. And you and I and Emily and my niece and my sister in law had the opportunity to go to the Nasher Sculpture Garden here together in Dallas. And so things like that, going out seeing galleries, seeing plays, readings and concerts. Even going to your local farmers market or picnicking, that kind of thing, I think is just a part of the creative experience. And that's been a lot of fun recently, that's been lighting me up. Another thing is I have been using an app and recommending to my clients an app and it's I Am Affirmations. I think there are several I Am apps, but this one actually is I Am Affirmations. And it's a little different, I use it a little differently. As far as I think in addition to an affirmation being like this an affirmation the definition of an affirmation is emotional support or encouragement that you're saying over and over to yourself. And in that sense, I use it a little bit differently with myself and my clients. Because we're using it one of the methods that I teach my clients is how to intentionally think the thoughts that helped us versus the default thoughts that are kind of habitual. And so it's fun because this app, you can program it to just ping you at various times during the day. So you kind of forget about it, you know, we can put a sticky note on our computer with a reminder. And then we just kind of don't see it after a while. And so this is kind of fun. You'll just be sitting there and all of a sudden, a thought will appear on your phone. And it's a thought that will help you. You know, create the whatever creative project you're wanting to work on or however you're wanting to be feeling. So that's something that I've been having fun with.

Jennifer Wilson 4:48

So I installed the app last week after we chatted and it was, I love it so much.

Jill Allison Bryan 4:53

Isn't it fun?

Jennifer Wilson 4:55

It is. Yeah, there's definitely thoughts there. Some are like Oh, okay, but most of them are, oh my gosh, I really need to embrace this and think this more often and make this a part of my life. This is something that I Yeah, it's it's really powerful. And I like that it's so automated doesn't require me to do anything. It just shows up in my life and reminds me get out of my own mental patterns. My own mental rut. Yeah, embrace positivity. And yeah, I love it. So thanks so much.

Jill Allison Bryan 5:32

You're welcome. Are you so you're, you're, they, you're just letting the ones that they choose populate. Okay, that's very fun. And then they even have within the ones that they have, like, you can choose health and wellness, you can choose relationship, you could choose work, like they even have some little, you know, options for that. But you can also put in your own.

Jennifer Wilson 5:33


Jill Allison Bryan 5:33

So I've added a few Yeah, of my own, which is kind of fun.

Jennifer Wilson 5:40

I have not done much to customize it yet. So I'll have to explore more. But I did go ahead and pay for it. It's just like 20 bucks for a year.

Jill Allison Bryan 6:07


Jennifer Wilson 6:07

So it just seemed it immediately had a kind of a lightning benefit to it. So I really...

Jill Allison Bryan 6:14

I agree. Good. I'm so glad. And hopefully listeners will give it a try. There is a free version. But I like you I tried the free version for like two days. I was like, oh, it's totally worth $17 For a year of this. So yes, yes, yeah. And one other thing that I'm doing and again, this is going to tie into our conversation a little bit later too. Is I am intentionally, I'm using I have a tool that I use with my clients called the Magic Action Plan. And it's a way of, you know, very intentionally deciding how you're going to spend your days. And one in specific. It does several things. It gives you permission to prioritize your creative projects. It keeps them front and center of your mind, it gives you a simple process to kind of work through all the ideas that are floating around in your brain, and then narrow them down to the smallest step possible. So it makes it really easy for you to keep going with it. It's also a place to intentionally choose how going, connecting to the app, it's an a way to intentionally choose how you want to feel and think during the day. Rather than like having the way you feel and think be at the effect of other people or news that you hear, other things. And then the last thing that I think has been so important to me, because I think it's the part that people are most likely to not do that like a weird double negative, people don't likely do this on their own. And that is to acknowledge and celebrate the small steps that we take along the way. And I really realized that that's the part that even I would gloss over because we're so focused on like the doing, doing, doing, and checking things off our list. And so to me just slowing down and giving myself a little acknowledgement for I call it the Tada list. Like three things that happened during the day that might not have been on my to do list. But they still happened as a result of me showing up in my life the way I want to.

Jennifer Wilson 8:11

I love that. We do that type of accountability check in every week. And inside of our Simple Scrapper community.

Jill Allison Bryan 8:17

Oh great.

Jennifer Wilson 8:18

Members talk about like, if I don't post it in time members like Hey, where is it, I'm ready to go at like 6am. Like, I want to post my wins for the week. And then we also share next actions. And so getting into that routine, whether it's daily weekly, is so beneficial to, to seeing yourself actually moving forward, even though sometimes it doesn't feel like you are.

Jill Allison Bryan 8:39

Yeah moving forward. And also I'm really with everybody what I want to offer that enjoying the process. Like finding joy in the process. So we don't slip into that mindset, which is so easy to slip into, of if you know when when this happens, then I'll be happy. When this happens, then I'll be successful. How do we find joy and success and ease in every step of the way is my goal.

Jennifer Wilson 9:06

Oh, I love that. What a, what an awesome sound byte there. You're just a fountain of wisdom for sure. I want to go back real quick to the point we talked about in terms of you getting out in the world and experiencing art, experiencing creativity, and other creatives. And I was thinking about doing that with the young people in our lives. Because I've heard some comments in the past like well are they really appreciate it and like Well, that's not the point. They may not appreciate it nearly as much as they might in the future. But they're going to remember that they did that they're going to have that kind of contextual experience of this is something that you do that's fun.

Jill Allison Bryan 9:44


Jennifer Wilson 9:45

Even though young people don't necessarily have the same kind of appreciation or understanding of this. They shouldn't, they're still learning and experiencing the world but this is how we give them that creative foundation to, so that they can have an amazing life in the future.

Jill Allison Bryan 10:00

Absolutely. I think it's like people that are lucky enough to take their children traveling, you know, when they're young and just even, you know, it's to a different state or a different city just somewhere outside of our day to day. So that we see there are other types of people. And there are other types of places and experiences in the world, because otherwise we just kind of, you know, are raised in a vacuum, I think. And so I think creativity is a great way even if you can't leave your city, or can't travel past your, you know, most of us have something within our own town that we could, could be expansive, to, to, yeah, expose our children to. And I think you're right, it's, it's not about them appreciating on our level. I mean, I think that's true with everything. I'm thinking about foods that I didn't like, when I was a kid, you know, like asparagus. No, thanks. And now I'm like, give me all the asparagus, asparagus.

Jennifer Wilson 10:54

For sure.

Jill Allison Bryan 10:54

May be a weird segue. But yeah, that's that I agree with you completely. And I think the girls had a, I mean, are my niece and your daughter are like 11 years old. And you know, the Sculpture Center is a fun place to go.

Jennifer Wilson 11:07

Yeah, it was really cool to see them explore and then go off and kind of just do their own little chatting. They're definitely at that age where they like to just kind of find a safe space and talk about whatever they're thinking about.

Jill Allison Bryan 11:19

Yeah, that was super fun.

Jennifer Wilson 11:21

So before we get into our main topic of conversation today, which is going to be evening routines, as I, as I mentioned, a bookend to our morning routine conversation. I wanted to just touch a little bit on how we support one another. So we met almost every week, for five years now, more than that, six years?

Jill Allison Bryan 11:44

It might be six years.

Jennifer Wilson 11:46

It's been a long time.

Jill Allison Bryan 11:48

2016. So yes, I'm bad at math. But I...

Jennifer Wilson 11:52

It's it's kind of mind blowing how fast time has gone. And I just wanted to comment how, how much our conversations help me. You know, they always say that you need to surround yourself with people who, you know, challenge you encourage you, support you. And you're definitely one of those people for me and helps me thrive in my personal and creative life.

Jill Allison Bryan 12:20

I feel the same I'm sorry, I'm getting a little verklempt. But I do, I feel I feel the same way. It's a very special. It's a special relationship. Because we I think it's over the years, it's become, you know, really started with the business focus. And because we see each other, you know, and talk to each other almost every week, you know, we, a lot has happened in our personal lives in the last six years. And so we've become close friends as well. And wow, what a gift to have somebody in your life who is a friend, and knows all of the personal things that are going on in your life, but also really knows, has seeing your business grow and change and shift and supported each other in that way over the past six years. So it's it's a very unique and special relationship for sure.

Jennifer Wilson 13:12

Yeah. A bit of a unicorn.

Jill Allison Bryan 13:16

Yeah, yeah.

Jennifer Wilson 13:18

Oh, go ahead. Sorry.

Jill Allison Bryan 13:19

I was just saying, I feel very lucky.

Jennifer Wilson 13:20

Oh, me too, for sure. I wanted to particularly highlight though, that last week, you kind of you actually did some coaching on me. And you asked for my permission. And I had bought this beautiful Archer & Olive bullet journal. And I've mentioned that in the podcast already. And I was feeling anxiousness about getting started. And I thought back to my whole life, and how every time I would buy a blank book, I would feel so intimidated to get started and possibly mess it up. Like how can I make this worthy of this beautiful book?

Jill Allison Bryan 13:56


Jennifer Wilson 13:57

And we talked through that, and I got started that later that same day. And it's not perfect, but it started now. And so now it's kind of it's a little bit worn in enough that it doesn't matter what else I put in it.

Jill Allison Bryan 14:10


Jennifer Wilson 14:11

Kind of that that barrier has been broken.

Jill Allison Bryan 14:16

Right. Right. And I was thinking back over that, how you know, and just for the benefit of your listeners, like, Okay, what did we talk about? How did that happen? We you know, the first very first thing was, you know, we always want to ask questions instead of a lot of times we want to figure things out, tell me what to do. And I think the quickest way to get to the heart of the matter is to ask yourself the question and you like you said, I asked you permission, I don't coach you when we talk. That's not really the relationship we have. But but in this instance, I just ask what do you think it is that's holding you back from starting? And from that question, non judgmental question, right. You were able to acknowledge Oh, I think it's because it's just so beautiful that I don't want to mess it up. And then my question, when I asked another question, well, then how could you possibly mess it up? What does that mean? Because it's your journal to do with as you like. And then that's when you were thinking, Oh, I think that was you kind of had the a-ha of I have, maybe I have an idealized notion of what it means to do it the right way. Or the best way, I'm using air quotes that you can't see right now, my fingers, but, you know, comparing your journal pages to others that you had seen before in the world, and even if not, consciously, subconsciously. And so that was a barrier to be like, Oh, okay, well, what if it could be, you know, mine. And then the other thing we talked about was, because we're both journal lovers, and we both have lots of different journals for different things in our life, but was kind of also getting clear on you decided, how do you really want to use this? And because I think if we don't know, you know, if we're kind of nebulous, this is always true about our creative dreams. One is we think there's a right way or a best way, and we can when we can move away from that. And this goes perfectly with Simple Scrapper. Remember that it's our way, my way, right? Is the way to do it. And then to, to get as clear as we can about what it is we want to do? Because when you decided, like you're using that journal for when you're learning things, right, like educational type?

Jennifer Wilson 16:20


Jill Allison Bryan 16:21

So once you, you know, knew that this is what this journal is for. That was another barrier passed. And then it was like, how can you dive in and start using it right now to create. Start creating this treasure chest of ideas and information that you're going to be able to refer back to over time. And I just suggested, what if you used like what we talked about right now to get started, as your first, you know, a-ha to share. And I guess then you did that later on. I was so delighted when you texted me the picture. That night.

Jennifer Wilson 16:54

I think one of the things that helped me was realizing that I don't have to share everything that I do. Just because I have a social media presence, and part of my business is sharing the work that I create, that doesn't necessarily mean that this particular project is part of that.

Jill Allison Bryan 17:13


Jennifer Wilson 17:13

I'm not a professional bullet journaler, journaler. I'm not trying to make money by the creativity or precision of my designs. I'm not teaching others how to do this.

Jill Allison Bryan 17:24


Jennifer Wilson 17:25

And just kind of having that acknowledgement of this is for me, and nobody ever has to see it, unless I choose to share it.

Jill Allison Bryan 17:34


Jennifer Wilson 17:34

That was a huge kind of just a moment and a shift for me in terms of, it's okay. It's okay, if some pages have cross outs, things bleed through. It's it is what it is. And the goal here is to create a repository of things that I want to remember and apply to my life.

Jill Allison Bryan 17:54

Yes, yeah. I love that. I love that you said that. And anybody that's listening, that does have an online business, that's such a good reminder. Sometimes I think we have these, social media has done a number on us. And it's in several ways about what we should share, what we should not share, how much we should share, all that kind of thing. So it's a nice reminder to hear you say, you know, this is for me, I don't have to share everything. Even though it's you know, it's close to maybe or, you know, in line with what you do in Simple Scrapper. I love that. Because I've even had other people say like, I work with all different kinds of creative people. But there'll be like, Oh, I can't post about this, because it happened a long time ago. Like, we don't only have to post things in real time, you know, we don't have to, like document our life, you know, in second by second. So yeah, I think that's a really good reminder. And, you know, I want to I want to offer as far as the way you support me in many ways, obviously, from my getting verklempt earlier. But you know, I think, I think our conversations you often help me remember to use my own methods. You'll, you'll even, you know, and you're familiar enough with them now, because we've again, because we've talked to each other so much, and you've watched my business progress and grow. But you'll actually, you know, hmm, I've heard about these delightfully doable steps, Jill, what would you wouldn't that be a good idea or, you know, when I'm stuck or feeling overwhelmed, sometimes it's hard to, you're in it, right? It's hard to see the forest for the trees. So that that's always really helpful to me. And also, you know, just having a safe space to be vulnerable and not only celebrate big wins that somebody else might think are ego driven, but and to grieve losses and so again, just such a an important and unique kind of relationship. I wish you all who are listening to this really find a relationship like this in your life.

Jennifer Wilson 19:55

Oh 100%. That's so true because we definitely are not just saying like, Oh, this is, this is you know what my successes were this week, we're talking about what's really happening, how we're feeling? And how, how do we move forward from that or move out of that sometimes negative mental space. And often it is a reminder to use our own techniques.

Jill Allison Bryan 20:18


Jennifer Wilson 20:19

And our own or each others in order to, to actually take that next step. You've mentioned before that you've used our focus finder tool to figure out your own priorities. And so I think we've definitely kind of had some of that cross pollination in terms of what can we learn from the other.

Jill Allison Bryan 20:40

For sure.

Jennifer Wilson 20:41

So when we were talking about doing this conversation, it came out of, part of it was was me feeling like I didn't really have an evening routine, and I wasn't setting myself up for a good morning. And so if I'm not going to bed on time, it's harder to do a morning routine in the morning. So it's harder to get a morning routine. It's harder, what am I saying here? It's harder to solidify a morning routine. So it was a year ago, we talked on episode 103. About these morning routines, how to be focused, but flexible, building routine from scratch. And so I'm curious in that past year, have your routines changed at all?

Jill Allison Bryan 21:20

Yeah, and you know, I am, it's so funny, because on the one hand, I'm like, like, don't get me structured, don't hold me back. And on the other hand, I'm like, I love a routine, don't mess with with my routine. So. So my, my routines, and things tend to morph pretty slowly. And I have a pretty entrenched routine at this point. I'm sure when we spoke last year, I was still talking about the importance of my morning meditation and exercise. I do Donna Eden energy routine pull a card. But one thing that I have been experimenting with, just recently, I think just within this year 2022. Is letting the very first thing I do be an action like, like, be something for my business, maybe something I need to write, or something I'm creating. Rather than what I was doing before, right. I would do all of my morning routine things. And then I would be like, Okay, now, now I begin my work. And it's been kind of fun, because sometimes I'll even like have 30 or 45 minutes before I go to my workout. And then when I just dive right in, because I really love how focused and sharp my brain feels first thing in the morning. And when I give myself that brain time to use on something that important versus social media, or, you know, some other thing that I might even, even versus my gratitude journal, or my meditation or something like that. It feels like such a great jumpstart to my day. And when I come back to it later, I'm like, you know, I feel like I'm picking a thread back up instead of starting from scratch.

Jennifer Wilson 23:06

Ooh, I love that.

Jill Allison Bryan 23:07


Jennifer Wilson 23:08

I'm curious, does kind of jumping into work, does it impact the rest of your morning routine? Kind of positively or negatively? Like, does it make you rush through it more? Does it make, does it change your focus in your journaling? Is it is it 100? How do I say this? Is it really working for you? Are there downsides to it as well?

Jill Allison Bryan 23:27

Well, I'm not doing it for one thing, I'm not doing it every day. So when I'm, the main time I've been doing this is I work out with my personal trainer three mornings a week. So if I get up and I do it before that, it's almost like it's almost its own little entity, you know what I mean? So it's not like I'm doing that and then stopping that and then going into the other morning routine. It's like it happens first, maybe. So maybe it's separate enough that I feel like it's not hurting the other parts of it.

Jennifer Wilson 24:00

Yeah, I think that makes total sense. And to think about, okay, how can I shift things just a little bit to still accomplish everything that I want to accomplish, but to capitalize on your best energy? That's something that I've really thought about a lot as I'm getting older, and I'm wanting to go to bed earlier and get up earlier and realizing that I am so sharp and on it before I get distracted by the rest of the world.

Jill Allison Bryan 24:29

Yeah, absolutely. And I think somebody and I can't remember who because I follow and know, a lot of amazing, successful creative humans. But I remember somebody saying at some point that a big shift for her was the first thing she did in the day was her most important thing. And then if you know, you know because we never know what's going to happen, things can come in and bump us off the path so easily. Um, that, yeah, I mean, that just I was like, that always sounded good to me. But I did have, I was like, but I have this morning routine. So how can I, that will mess up my morning routine because the rigid part of me was thinking that way. And I thought, Well, I'm just gonna play with it. And actually, I think what it was, was I was working on a big project, I was working on the creation and launch of my group creativity coaching cohort. And so there was just a couple of weeks of intense work that was going on. And so I was even like, going to bed earlier getting up earlier. And I thought, What if I just try this first hour, I'm awake, focused on that before I go to workout. And it was like, this is good. My brain, my brain works good this morning.

Jennifer Wilson 25:51

Well, I know you've mentioned too, that sometimes you're lacking a little bit of that deep work time, because you spend most of your time with clients. And then you, you know, you reserve Fridays for kind of like catching up, you know, tiding, all the loose ends of work that we have. And so when are you going to kind of do some of those longer term or visionary tasks, the writing, the planning. And so I think that's a perfect way of shifting things just enough so that you can incorporate that.

Jill Allison Bryan 26:22

Yeah, yeah. Because that does. That is how I tend to use my morning. So in between, you know, finishing my morning routine, and my first coaching client, which is going to be around like noon or one o'clock. Yet those first few hours are what I reserved for, for that kind of a work. But yeah, so really like starting at the very first with that, and even going then when I go back to it at 9 or 930, 10 o'clock, something like that. I'm like, I feel like oh, yeah, I'm picking up the thread. It just, yeah, it feels.

Jennifer Wilson 26:55

That's brilliant.

Jill Allison Bryan 26:56


Jennifer Wilson 26:56

I am curious if you've worked with any clients on building new routines and what kind of successes they've had.

Jill Allison Bryan 27:03

Oh, yeah, I mean, that's, that's all, that's a big part of the work that I do with a lot of clients. But a lot of clients, and I think we talked about this last year, they the morning routine, it was a, is they come to me saying I want to change my morning routine. But then it's funny, like I think it, I don't know why that's just a more known thing that people talk about, that people think about, but then just like you and I like, as a matter of course of having a morning routine, that we start to think about our evening routine. Like and how they and I know we're going to talk about this too, today, but like how they balance each other. How they can help each other or hurt each other. So yeah, I definitely work with clients to help them, you know, with their creative routines, and that so that's it's really, whether it's the morning, during the day or in the evening. And I'd like to talk about, anytime we're making a change, that we're reminding people that we're making a change on a spectrum. It's not, I think our brain can be very binary, like, like, we're I'm either doing it, or I'm not doing it, or I'm doing incorrectly, or I'm doing it the wrong way. Or I'm I successful or I haven't gotten there yet. And so it can feel, you know, that, that goes back to what I was talking about earlier. With, I will be happy when I'm doing it perfectly with air quotes again, because it's never perfectly. And so I, one thing that I have started talking about with people, my clients and myself is thinking about changes that we want to make or goals that we have in our creative lives or businesses on a spectrum. So we've got like, we, I, we think about things in my world of creative voices coaching in certain, possible, and audacious. So you know, for your in terms of a an evening routine, it might be certain that you're going to brush your teeth every night, that's going to be part of your certain routine. It might be possible that you turn off your phone 15 minutes before you go to, tobed. That's something you want to do and it feels doable to you and you add to it. And it might be audacious to think I'm going to have you know, wash my face, brush my teeth, turned off all my devices and be in bed to read half an hour before I actually want to go to sleep, like first and do yoga and do some yoga too. Yeah, all right. That might be audacious. But, but, but just realizing that it doesn't have to be the, that it doesn't that you can enjoy and give yourself credit for along the way as you're working up to what it is you really want, instead of thinking well I'm not doing that yet, so I'm not successful.

Jennifer Wilson 29:52

Oh, that you know, this is so true because recently I kind of got back on the routine train. I felt both that things were so busy, I couldn't juggle it. And then I finally found a little bit of spaciousness enough to recognize, oh, I would feel a little bit more in control if I had some routines going. And so another friend of mine and I, we started using the Reminders app on our phones to set up recurring tasks every morning, and every evening. And I'm starting super simple in the morning, it's three things. It is make the bed, scoop the cat box, and take my medicine. And that's what I'm starting with, because I need to be able to do those three things consistently in order to add anything else to it.

Jill Allison Bryan 30:36

Yep. Yeah. And that we have the Heemeesheemee, which is my made up word for serendipity, because I had just started for the first time using the Reminder, app thingy on my phone to remind me to look at my evening routines. To look at my plan for that. So that's great minds.

Jennifer Wilson 30:38

And just a little tangent here. Last night, I was doing this event called Start Fresh.

Jill Allison Bryan 31:00


Jennifer Wilson 31:01

And I had to like, I had to like mine my little Rolodex dictionary of words, because I couldn't think of serendipity. I just wanted to say Heemeesheemee, but I knew my audience wouldn't know it.

Jill Allison Bryan 31:12

I love it. I love it so much. I've told you I've had a client that Googled it. And she's like, it's just you that comes up. I'm like, right? I made it up. She's like, I thought it was a real word. Well, it is now.

Jennifer Wilson 31:24

It totally is to me.

Jill Allison Bryan 31:26

That's so funny.

Jennifer Wilson 31:28

So I think we're really getting to the point where we can identify that evening routines are almost as prerequisite to a successful morning routine. Because if we're running behind feeling a little frazzled, because we stayed up too late, because we didn't get things ready in the way we'd like to. But it's harder to go through that morning routine iis not impossible, but it can make it harder. Do you feel like one is more important than the other? Is one more challenging than the other? How do you compare the two?

Jill Allison Bryan 31:58

Oh, yeah, I would definitely say that they're increasingly becoming equally important to me. I think, you know, I think it was a year or two ago that I realized, like you, oh, I don't have an evening routine, so much. Like I have a really strong morning routine. And it's really, really important to me. But at night, rather than having an intentional routine, it was very much a default, you know, just like kind of, oh, this is what I'm doing. I'm not really giving thought to it. It's just like, I'm, and I hear this a lot from people, I'm tired, we're tired at the end of the day, you know, I'm tired. I just don't, I want to stop. I don't know, you know, I just want to quit thinking about things. And for a lot of people, you know, for me, I'm raising my hand like TV, like, I'm gonna have a glass of wine and turn on Netflix, because then I don't have to think about anything for a little while. But just seeing that and being like, oh, but is that what I want? Like asking myself like not that there's anything wrong with watching Netflix or having a glass of wine, but like really bringing intentionality to my evenings? And so yeah, I think that was one of the I had the idea, well, Jill, you have a great morning routine, why don't you practice putting in place an evening routine. And it is more challenging for me at the moment, that evening routine, but I think that's only because I've been prioritizing and practicing my morning routine for so long. That it's it's very, it's a habit, you know, it's just kind of the way that I live. And to go back to the idea of having a certain, possible, and audacious goal. What might, when I say my morning routine to some people, they're like, Oh, really, like that's a lot. Like that's, that's audacious to them. But now it's my certain.

Jennifer Wilson 33:47

That, that really, that really kind of makes you visualize that spectrum. Is that you can move along the spectrum over time.

Jill Allison Bryan 33:54

Yeah. So right now I'm in possibility with my evening routine, right? Like I can, I'm having, getting a better and better idea of what I want it to look like. And and then, you know, another thing that I think is really important is like what's my why? Because if we just feel like we should have a evening routine or or morning routine, any routine, that's not really enough to make us create that change. So...

Jennifer Wilson 34:22

That's a very important point. As you're thinking about this, whether you're talking about morning or evening or any kind of routine, even if it's you know, late afternoon, you instead of reaching for the snack, you want to go for a walk, you know, think oh, what is this gonna do for me? How is this going to improve, you know, so many different things in our lives.

Jill Allison Bryan 34:44

Right. And I think one of the things for me is remembering that we have options, that's the only thing it's like, it's like our brain just thinks there's no option. The option is eat dinner, finished dinner, turn, you know, turn on TV. That's instead of thinking, Well, wait a minute, what else might might I want to do? Going back to the very beginning of our conversation, asking yourself the question, rather than telling yourself what you should be doing in the evening? Like, what would I like to be doing? What what are some other options of ways that I could spend my evenings? And I actually created a list. You know, that's of things that sound good to me. And that are things that I don't tend to do. My days are very, like you said, scheduled and full. I'm, you know, working the first half of the day, I'm coaching the second half of the day, and I don't and you know, the evening is going to be the time that I get to do for the joy of it, visual journaling, or playing piano and singing or reading for pleasure, and those kinds of things. And reminding myself, oh, there's all these things that I would like to be doing, this would be a great time to do them, if I give myself permission to practice doing them in the evening.

Jennifer Wilson 35:58

One thing that this jumped out at me is, and maybe this is just kind of a tip, but other ways that you can kind of rearrange things similarly how we were talking about, you wanted to get into that high brain power time first thing in the morning. One thing that I've done is I've actually moved my Netflix time to lunch. And I work really hard to especially since so many episodes now are like in that 40 to 60 minute range, I watch half an episode during my lunch. So that doesn't take up too much time. And it helps me decompress, you know, have a little laugh or feel something about someone else, get into the story. And then in the evenings, I'm choosing to use my time differently. Because I found myself kind of more likely to watch two or three full episodes in the evening and just kind of feel cemented to the chair and not want to get up and actually go to bed at a reasonable time.

Jill Allison Bryan 36:54


Jennifer Wilson 36:54

Whereas if I start making my way towards the bedroom much earlier, I'm way more likely to go to bed, you know, way earlier than I would have otherwise. Often sometimes now even before Emily.

Jill Allison Bryan 37:05

Yeah, yeah. Oh, no, I think I think playing with and playing around and finding out what works well for you is great. I mean, for me, I'm still, I'm still going to if I'm going to watch TV, it's definitely going to be at night. But I do, I'm trying to be again, it goes back to intentionality. I'm trying to be more intentional about first giving myself the choice, like, Is there something you would like to do first. You know, I mean, and sometimes I do really start like, I'll start doing a thing, and then look up, and it'll be 9 or 930. And I'm like, I'm not going to start a show now. So I, you know, it just gets knocked out of the running by these other things that I want to do. But I think when the habit is so strong, that it really does take us thinking, okay, and this is how I'm using the reminder that I was talking about earlier. I'm in the morning, I'm writing a very simple evening plan, what would I like this, what would I like the evening to look like? So it might be like, is there, is there an event that I want to go to tonight? Or am I going to be at home and if I am going to be home, what do I think I might like to do? And that might include watching one, one episode of Succession or something like that, and then being in bed by 930 to read or something like that. And just by writing it down. It's like we're letting our brain in on the in on the plan. Like, hey, you know, this is what I would like to have happen. And so even though I'm a strong believer in flexibility in any routine, I also believe you know, that that having a purposeful plan is helpful.

Jennifer Wilson 38:52

Oh, yes, we've really started implementing that with meal planning. It was couple of weeks ago, we realized we're just kind of winging it every night. And the more we're going out into the world, especially since this is a busy time with spring sports for Emily, we ended up eating out way too much. And like we don't, we don't want to do this. It's not. It's not healthy for us. It's not financially healthy with especially with the cost of things these days.

Jill Allison Bryan 39:15


Jennifer Wilson 39:16

And so even just writing down a simple meal plan gives you something to react to. That here's something you could have, maybe you don't want that and you choose to make something else. Or maybe you choose to order the pizza. But at least here's kind of the starting point. And that has helped us you know, use up things in our pantry and not have to go through that what's for dinner question.

Jill Allison Bryan 39:40

Yeah, yeah, that's a great example.

Jennifer Wilson 39:42

Now, one thing that I wanted to talk about was kind of how this evening routine can support a morning routine. And do you think that it's more dependent on having the steps feeling prepared? Or is it more about a consistency and bedtime that supports the morning?

Jill Allison Bryan 40:02

Well, I mean, I think definitely, when part of my morning routine was getting up earlier, and earlier that that the good night, that getting a good night's sleep and feel, feeling well rested in the morning is definitely a plus. And vice versa. Because I love my morning routine so much. And I don't want to miss it that also makes going to sleep earlier more appealing, because it's like my brain start, knows the reward on the other side of it is going to be feeling fresh and focused in the morning. So they're really like, in the best way, they are dependent upon each other. And they could be the worst way to, right. Like, if you don't, if you blow everything off, and you don't do it. For me, I just feel off and out of sorts, if my routine gets messed with pretty severely. You know, I just, I feel so much better when I'm on, you know, some semblance of it. But I will say this, just like we talked about, I believe we talked about this last on when we were talking about the morning routines, it's I don't mean to that you have to do it all the way through all perfectly but even just touching it right? Even just like if I don't meditate for 10 minutes, closing my eyes and taking two or three deep breaths and telling myself this is my meditation for today. So that we we don't feel like it has to be done in perfection, or that has to be done every single piece of it. And maybe I only have time to do or only, you know, yeah, to do my energy routine, which takes about three minutes or something like that. And letting that suffice, or be the touch point for for my morning routine. I think that can be helpful. So we're not feeling that it has to be all or nothing. And I think it's more likely we quit when if we, if we you know do that all or nothing mentality.

Jennifer Wilson 41:53

So what do you think are your kind of essential must dos as part of your evening routine? Because it sounds like you're really trying to build it in strength the same way you have your morning routine, but you're not quite there on the spectrum yet.

Jill Allison Bryan 42:05

Right. So again, even though I believe, I believe in allowing flexibility for any routine creative workout, whatever, but I also believe consistency is a key. Like, I know you have a larger window of time that you might or might not go to sleep at night. And for me, it tends to be only about an hour, usually in the best case like between 930 or 1030. Because I'm getting up at 5 or 530. And I base this on my why of like, I know that seven hours is the sweet spot of sleep, for me, that's gonna be different for everybody. Some people need, you know, less, some people need more. But I think, I think definitely when we were first beginning, if we don't put the pressure on ourselves of making it be all or nothing. That's helpful right now, I guess I say I'm using delightfully doable steps to kind of incorporate a little bit of change into my evenings. You know, and just remembering that we're, when you're weaving something new into your life like this, like deciding, hey, I want to have my, my evenings look a little bit different than they have been looking for all this time, we need to be gentle with ourselves. And just realize that the main reason changes and new habits tend not to stick isn't because we're bad people or we're lazy or don't have willpower, which is usually what we tell ourselves. It's just because change can be scary, because it's new, indifferent, our brain wants to keep us safe, which means back to the familiar and known even if that's not what's serving us at the highest level. So really being aware of that, that our mind is going to try to resist it. And that's okay, I think is an important part of the journey to create a new, healthy, any kind of routine and evening routine. So for me, I think what I've been realizing is that the evening, my see my evening in two parts, there's kind of the post work dinner time. And and that's when I might like do I might attend an event or in online or in the real world. That might be the time then I get to, you know, the time between dinner or stopping work and going to sleep to read. That's one part and then like bedtime routine. Does that make sense? Like I kind of feel it's divided in that way a little bit.

Jennifer Wilson 44:29


Jill Allison Bryan 44:30


Jennifer Wilson 44:30

Well, I think that we're all going to have different little phases of our days and it's gonna look different depending on what season of life you're in, who's in your family.

Jill Allison Bryan 44:40


Jennifer Wilson 44:41

What responsibilities you have. And so kind of recognizing those might shift even throughout the year and you will have to adjust accordingly.

Jill Allison Bryan 44:51

Yeah, I'm sure for you shifting like with Emily's sports, if she has practices at night and that kind of thing.

Jennifer Wilson 44:59

Yes, we did. We have a couple of days where she has two things on one night, and it's kind of it's a bit of a juggle, right?

Jill Allison Bryan 45:05


Jennifer Wilson 45:05

But there's the overlap is only for a short period of time.

Jill Allison Bryan 45:08

Yeah. So yeah.

Jennifer Wilson 45:10

Making it work.

Jill Allison Bryan 45:11

Yeah. So yeah, I think remembering to give myself the choice, like, Okay, after you eat, what do you want to do? Do you want to checking out that if I can get in the habit of reviewing my list of possibilities, and just reminding myself, this piano is here every day, it's not going anywhere. But you know, like I need, I almost need to remind myself that it is an option for me to sit down and play and sing a couple of songs. And so that's, you know, and it's an option for me to open up my visual journal and do it, make a collage for the fun of it and listen to a podcast or some music or something like that, or go outside and visit with a neighbor. I mean, now that it's lighter, in the evenings, you know, people are out and about my neighborhood a lot. So and then, you know, after that, do I want to watch a TV show or not by that point. And then you know, that my bedtime routine is pretty much going to happen, no matter what, which is, you know, brushing my teeth, taking vitamins, whatever, that kind of thing.

Jennifer Wilson 46:16

I'm curious, what if you had to map out your audacious evening routine? What would that look like?

Jill Allison Bryan 46:23

What would it look like?

Jennifer Wilson 46:24

Yeah, like, tell me, take me through...

Jill Allison Bryan 46:27

Best case scenario.

Jennifer Wilson 46:28

End of the workday to bedtime.

Jill Allison Bryan 46:31

Which is so interesting. I want to say like, I know, you can relate to this as, as a person who owns, we own our own businesses, and we are mostly work at I work at home and you work at home for Simple Scrapper. It's like the potential to work all the time. All the times that we're awake, like, you know, we could easily sit down and write something at nine o'clock at night. I mean, it's, the computer is always there, the possibility is always there. So really, I think having some sort of a ritual or way to say, the workday is done, I'm finished. And this is a work in progress for me and several of my clients as well. I know like when people first started staying home with COVID, I had one client who's was working at her kitchen table. And so for her, it was like, her kitchen table was her office. And it was like supposed to be her kitchen table. And like, you know, the lines were very blurry as as far as her life sections. And so we decided she found a basket. And at 530, she would scoop up all of her work things, put it in the basket, put the basket in a closet, even to not see it. And so her kitchen table could become her kitchen table again. And she I think she lit a candle and turned on some music and that signified to her brain, end of the workday, now I'm making dinner. So for me, that is something that I it is challenging for me, I love my work and I love what I do. But I also realized that it's not it's not everything, that I do want these other parts of life. So, so having some for me, it would be making that I enjoy cooking. So like cooking something and maybe listening to music, instead of a work related podcast, that would be a lot of fun. And then after cleaning up maybe coming into the create, my creative room. And either or both playing some music on the piano and singing, doing a watercolor or making a collage, and then maybe watching one episode of something on TV, or not. Going upstairs and here's the audacious part, doing a little stretching, even if it's not yoga, but doing a little stretching. That's something that I'm trying to incorporate in. And, you know, brushing my teeth, washing my face, all that kind of stuff and being in bed with a half an hour to read before I really want to be going to sleep. And seven hours of knowing that whatever time I'm going to bed, I'm gonna get seven hours before the alarm. Oh, but you know, I will say two other things that are that actually that. I know we talked about making our bed. That is something for me. I was trying to as I was really thinking about these questions you were asking about evening routine. I realized this might seem a little granular but it's true that because I make my bed in the morning. The act of taking my pillows like my decorative pillows off of my bed in the evening also kind of signifies to my brain you're about to get to go to sleep now like the day is really over. I love that

Jennifer Wilson 49:38

I love getting into a made bed even better if I happen to wash the sheets that day and they're all like crisp and fresh. I just yeah, I love that feeling. And it's not the same to get into a crumpled messy bed where you can't figure out where the end of the sheet is and yes, totally different.

Jill Allison Bryan 49:56

Absolutely. So yeah, so um Uh, you know, I might do a quick scan of what my tomorrow is like just to see if there's anything out of the ordinary like a, like a like this, like I had this time scheduled with you today or dentist appointment or something like that, to make sure I know what's happening if it's not a normal day, in some way. And then again, those ta das, you know, stopping and that's, that's helping me to say that workday is over because I can say, look at what you know, this is what you accomplished, this is what happened. Good job. And now you can be finished for now. You know, I think instead of, yeah, I did all this. But there's still so much to be done, which is what happens with our never ending to do list. It's like we crossed two things off and put three more things on and it never ends. So we don't get that feeling of completion. And the ta das on the Magic Action Plan are helping me to feel like day is done. And good job and start again tomorrow.

Jennifer Wilson 50:59

Yes, I love that I need some sort of close of the work day routine to maybe even actually turn off my computer. Because I have a habit of coming back upstairs when Emily takes a shower. And sometimes it's just to like, tidy everything up and reset and check the email one last time. And sometimes it's diving into something else.

Jill Allison Bryan 51:19


Jennifer Wilson 51:20

And that tends to you know, spill out over into going to bed too late. So...

Jill Allison Bryan 51:25

Absolutely. That's one of my practices. I mean, I think, I think in an ideal world for me, it would be turning off all the screens of you know, TV, phone, computer, iPad, 30 minutes before I was actually going to go to sleep.

Jennifer Wilson 51:42

I'd like to spend more of that time like have it be the trigger. When Emily goes to shower, I come up and I make something in my office. But that's why I'm still here to like kind of, I always think of like the kitchen term expediting. Like I'm, that's what I have to do with my child all the time is to like, okay, come on, we have to do this next thing, right. So I'm here I'm proximate to get her going and remind her that she needs to actually put some clothes on and brush her hair and those things.

Jill Allison Bryan 52:06


Jennifer Wilson 52:07

But then I can be focused on my own personal creativity and not not the work stuff in the evening.

Jill Allison Bryan 52:13

I love that. That's a great idea. That's a great built in reminder for you. If you say she does shower every day, so yeah, just practicing that. So that's another great thing is having something to tie your habit to. So like in the morning, I'm often helping people tie things like journaling to coffee drinking or tea drinking or something like that. Something that is a foregone conclusion, not going to miss the cup of coffee. So then, okay, how can you tie in your journaling to that?

Jennifer Wilson 52:43

Oh, 100% We talked about the same thing about even doing, like photo deletion regularly because that tends to be a challenge. Like you have all these extra photos that you take you take random photos of grocery items, or somebody else to buy or send a meme to somebody. Just like when the coffee's brewing, go and delete all the junk on your phone. If you do that regularly, you won't have junk anymore.

Jill Allison Bryan 53:07

Except for I drink cold brew. So that's not gonna work for me.

Jennifer Wilson 53:10

I know, I've been drinking cold brew this time of year too.

Jill Allison Bryan 53:13

But I love that idea. I do need, that would be great to have a system? Well, I think for things like that. I do try to think about that goes back to like, When is your brainspace best used? Like I would not, that is definitely a task that I would not do first thing in the morning ever. So maybe even that like maybe like, I'm not a big, I try not to like promote multitasking. But if I could delete photos, extra photos on my phone while I was watching a show that I could watch with one eye that that would feel like a good use of time, you know, double dipping kind of a thing.

Jennifer Wilson 53:47

Or even like I've certainly done various types of things like that when I'm like walking on the treadmill. Obviously, if you're like you're really running into it, you can't like delete your photos. But if you're just like walking and taking a stroll, you certainly can.

Jill Allison Bryan 54:02

Mm hmm.

Jennifer Wilson 54:03

So yeah, just there's always I think mindful multitasking is something that can be helpful.

Jill Allison Bryan 54:10

I agree.

Jennifer Wilson 54:11

But you know, for example, I've really tried to stop bringing my phone into the shower. Now I kind of want to cut this part out of the podcast.

Jill Allison Bryan 54:21

What, What? Jennifer did I know this about you? I didn't because listen to my shocked voice. you take your phone into the shower?

Jennifer Wilson 54:31

Three years probably I brought my phone into the shower and there's like a little ledge up high where I set it. And I'm like listen to podcasts or watch a YouTube video. And it's a nice little distraction sometimes like that's the best thing. But you know, some of the best ideas I have, have been in the shower and so if I'm going to create that space for amazing ideas, whether it's for the business or something else or my own personal projects, I need to not bring that distraction. Maybe that's not a time for multitasking because I need that, that empty space.

Jill Allison Bryan 55:07

Absolutely. That's like...

Jennifer Wilson 55:08

To be there.

Jill Allison Bryan 55:09

Well see. So there's your why. You have a good strong why as to why. I'm the same way when I walk and run, I do not have your, your buds, your buds, your pods, whatever you call them in. I'm not listening to anything, because it's one of the few times that me and when I'm showering, those are the like two times a day when I'm not either taking in information or creating and sharing information. And that you're right, that those are the times we're driving in the car when we're walking around when we're taking a shower, when we have space bandwidth for those ideas to bubble up.

Jennifer Wilson 55:47

Yeah, I think that's, you know, perhaps one of the most important routines is to build in opportunities for space and stop trying to fill every moment with...

Jill Allison Bryan 56:00


Jennifer Wilson 56:01

Consumption and information coming at you.

Jill Allison Bryan 56:04

Yep, for sure. In fact, in you know, that just made me think of like, a dream scenario for me is to have an entire day of my week, non scheduled. Completely non scheduled, doesn't that sound just like luxurious and awesome. And totally possible, because I just thought of it. We anything we can think of we can make happen. It's just how to reverse engineer it. So...

Jennifer Wilson 56:31

Yeah, I mean, that definitely sounds amazing.

Jill Allison Bryan 56:34

Yeah, and of course, and to your point earlier, I am at a point in my life, where this is like much more potentially can happen. Like I don't have toddlers running or I don't have, I don't even have like, you know, kids in high school and stuff running around. And so I have a lot of autonomy right now. And I love it. I remember having little kids and you know, my daughter being young and people like, Oh, it's just a phase, it's a chapter, everything. You know, there's a season you're like, Yeah, but when you're in it, man, it feels like it's never going to be the next chapter. And so...

Jennifer Wilson 57:09

So kind of bringing it all back here, what are the recommended first steps that you would say to someone who wants to start building an evening routine?

Jill Allison Bryan 57:17

Okay. Um, I think, first, I would, you know, give yourself permission to think about ask yourself questions, what might my ideal evening routine look like? And then, you know, make a list of all the things that you think you would like to be experiencing and doing in the evening rather than. It's so interesting how we think we should know a thing before we give ourselves any time to think about it or ask ourselves what we want. And realize everybody's is going to look different. And then to really, you know, take your list and look at it all the possible things that you would like to do. Maybe, maybe you want to have like, if I did have somebody that was living here with me, if I you know, I might like to start playing backgammon again, sometime, you know, that might be fun. Or, you know, playing a card game or something, giving yourself permission to kind of think about all those kinds of things you would want to do. And then thinking about it on that spectrum of like, what is certain, you know, what can I start with? What's my audacious? Like, what would be the best case, ideal scenario, but then don't make it so much pressure on yourself that if it's not that, that it's not good enough. Then give yourself permission to say, I'm just going to slowly start incorporating these small, delightfully doable changes, and give myself credit for them along the way. And then just kind of reflect and you know, not evaluate, like, in a very clinical kind of way, but just kind of see, are you feeling happier? Are you feeling more rested? Are you enjoying the evening routines that you're creating for yourself? Because when when we stop and give ourselves, you know, some acknowledgment for the changes we're making our brain is so much more on board with keeping it going and building on it?

Jennifer Wilson 59:02

Oh, yes. 100%. I've been thinking a lot on this phrase that you use a lot, called First Class Life.

Jill Allison Bryan 59:09


Jennifer Wilson 59:09

Asking myself that question like, Okay, if I am building a first class life, what is that going to look like? What does, what would future Jennifer appreciate? How would she act even if I don't necessarily feel like I am her today?

Jill Allison Bryan 59:21

Yes, yes. And even like, we can do that in a micro like, session. Like, when I think about when I set my alarm at night, if I set my alarm for 525. I think about the why behind it. I'm like if you set your alarm if you get up at 525 that means you have an hour before you even go to work out, when your brain is the best, when nobody else is expecting anything from you in the world. And you can write this thing that you want to write or make this thing that you want to make and that's exciting to me. That just reminds me of my why versus like, I have to get up at 530 in the morning.

Jennifer Wilson 59:58

Yes, yes. 100%

Jill Allison Bryan 1:00:00

Yeah. Yeah I love that the first thinking of future you. But again even that it's a great idea but I don't think we do it on default we don't do it on our own. So just having the intention of every once in a while asking yourself are my routines how are they, or are they benefiting future me?

Jennifer Wilson 1:00:20

Yes, I think that's really where that I Am App is has helped me.

Jill Allison Bryan 1:00:24


Jennifer Wilson 1:00:25

Make that more of the default. Yes, Jill, this has been such an amazing conversation we will include all the links that we've mentioned in the show notes for this episode. Can you share where our listeners can find you online? Anything you might have new or coming up later this year?

Jill Allison Bryan 1:00:42

Yeah, so they can, you can find me at my webs on my website is And I, I will I almost always have some sort of a masterclass or free workshop going on. So you can sign up on my website for that. You can find me on Instagram on Instagram, I am, what am I? I am creativeoasiscoach on Instagram.

Jennifer Wilson 1:01:11

You are.

Jill Allison Bryan 1:01:12

Yeah, and yeah, I will be launching, I don't have the exact date for it yet. But I will be opening another round of the Magic Action for Multi Passionate Creatives creativity coaching cohort in 2022. So that'll be coming up as well.

Jennifer Wilson 1:01:30

Sounds awesome. Thank you so much, Jill.

Jill Allison Bryan 1:01:32

Thanks for having me, Jennifer. It's always fun.

Jennifer Wilson 1:01:35

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