A Simple, but Powerful, Bedtime Routine

A few years ago, I was in the habit of writing something every day in my online diary, using an app named My Wonderful Days.

I still have the app on my iPhone, and as I scroll through my entries, it looks like I started using the app in December 2012, writing something down most days of the week. Then in November of 2013 I must have made some sort of commitment to write in it every day and continued to do so until May of 2016. I’m not sure why I stopped the daily writing, and with the exception of our time in London last winter, I have not written in the diary on a daily basis since. To be honest the only thing I use it for now is to write down when I have had an episode of afib; kind of sad, I know.

But the latest episode of Dan Pink’s Pinkcast has me excited about getting back into the routine, but this time with a grander purpose.

In this Pinkcast, Dan highlights the value of writing in a “One Line a Day” notebook as part of his bedtime routine.

Dan says he uses the book to write down a really good sentence he read, an observation he may have made or heard that day, or a question he would like to ponder.

While it is a small habit, Pink claims that it offers three benefits:

  • a signal that the day is coming to an end, helping to shift his mindset and get ready for sleep
  • it provides a chance to reflect on the events of the day or thoughts you may have had
  • it is a great way to compile notes over a five-year time period

Here’s the (less than two-minute) video; clicking on it will bring you to the Pinkcast web site.

The diary Pink suggests can be found at Amazon, and it seems pretty clever in that each day of the diary has space for five year’s worth of one-liners, as shown here:

I like that design; in fact, that is one of the things I enjoyed doing with my online diary – going back and checking what I did on the same day the previous year.

I also like that there isn’t much room to write for any given day, it truly is meant to be a one-line-a-day diary. I think knowing that you only have to write something short and sweet makes it more likely that you will stick to the habit.

I am looking forward to getting into this new habit; I hope I just don’t revert back to what I did with my online diary, just basically recapping what I did that day. For example, here are my entries for some previous July 9ths:

July 9, 2014

  • still no power
  • 24 minutes on the bike
  • weight – 162.8
  • went into Nova for a while
  • Mary went to doctor with puffy eyes
  • picked up Nudy’s for Pat
  • Mary and Pat went to Perry’s

July 9, 2015:

  • 45 minutes on the erg
  • 9 minutes of bodyweight exercises
  • weight – 162.4
  • smoothie
  • planet fitness with Pat
  • went into Nova briefly
  • Pat went over to Mom-Mom’s
  • Pat and I went to Nudy’s diner
  • James had some car problems

July 9, 2016:

  • in Raleigh

As you can see, not very insightful or reflective entries in my daily journal.

I’m hoping that by writing in a physical book, I will be able to create a mindset of writing something a little more thoughtful each day than just how much I weigh or what I did for exercise. Besides, I already have another app that keeps track of that stuff…



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