You want to be on time, more efficient, less stressed, able to enjoy “the moment” more? You aren’t alone. So many people strive for these things. The best way to achieve that is through building better routines. And there is not better place to do so than in the morning.
As I like to say, as the morning goes, so goes the rest of the day.
But here is the thing: to have the morning go more smoothly, and therefore for you to have the best chance at making the day as fruitful as possible, there are simple routines you can start building in the evening.
Mornings are usually crazy because you haven’t set efficient routines in place the night before. Mornings do not have to be hectic. You don’t have to be running around crazy, feeling flustered, and late. You have the ability to enter into the day calmly and efficiently.
Try these tips to help you start – and end – the day in a stress-free way.
1. If you have a family, organize each evening what you need for the next morning.
This means you should lay out clothing for your children (or better yet, get them in the routine of doing this), pack backpacks with homework and snacks, and set the table for breakfast. All of this creates physical order and your children will feel the positive affects of it.
2. Assess the night before what the weather will be like the following day and prepare what you are going to wear.
If your mornings are fast-paced and require you to do for others, this tip is important. The mental time you save in the morning by laying out your clothes the night before is invaluable. Even if you are working from home, you should get dressed in the morning. You work more effectively when you dress for the part. Seeing your clothes laid out will trigger you doing that.
4. Look at your calendar each evening for the next day.
Being prepared for what is to come, actually knowing your calendar, will create ease in your head. If you plan out what you need to do the next day, group your tasks by like item, and assign a time to actually do them, you will be more productive. When you see the plan ahead of time you use your time more wisely. And you will sleep more restfully.
5. Have one designated space for all keys, purses, cell phones.
You’ll never again have to say, “I can’t find my keys” or have to be flustered or angry because you can’t put your fingers on them. As well, designate one place for children’s coats and backpacks. You will save time every day by setting this system in place.
6. Take inventory each evening of the things your children might need for the next day.
Have a checklist ready and go through their needs, including signing any permission slips, homework, and making lunch. Leave their belongings – backpacks, lunch boxes, coats – in their designated spot each evening. Doing this with your children will help them build this important habit.
7. Throw out the trash – in your head that is.
I truly believe what you think, what you expect will happen — will happen. Expect some calm; expect a smooth transition from waking to work. Intend for it to happen by writing in a journal at night how you wish for your day (tomorrow) to go. I actually suggest you write it as if it has already happened. “Tomorrow has started so smoothly, and efficiently. I am so happy for the ease of the day and all I have gotten accomplished.” Give it a try. Watch how is all “happens”.
8. Get enough sleep and get up earlier than usual.
Sleep is king and when you get enough of it, and are more rested, you function better. Period. Feeling more well rested also allows you to start the day just a little earlier than you need to without feeling like you are being dragged down. Build the habit slowly by getting up 5 minutes earlier each day until you have built in enough time to really feel like you can ease into the day instead of rush into it. Those extra minutes are so valuable. They can be spent meditating, having a quiet cup of coffee, working out, and/or setting (or repeating from the evening before) your intention for the day and how you want it to go.
When you do all of these things, you lighten the weight of the morning necessities – even those that might seem petty, or small. You will feel an actual sense of freedom, perhaps subconsciously, that you don’t have to worry or think about getting dressed, getting the kids dressed, preparing breakfast, finding your keys or making sure the dog didn’t eat the homework.
Routine means you have a system in place for accomplishing, efficiently, the same tasks every day. Much of what you and your family need to do each morning is repetitive and when you do what you can the night before, set the plan in motion, you will enter into it with more calm. And that will set a lovely tone for the rest of your day.