I have always been an organized sort of person. Being organized, I find, reduces my stress by at about 70%. I know that not everyone has the “organizing gene”, so today I’ll share with you some of the things I do at night so I have a smooth morning and (next) day.
Note: Now you might consider me a little crazy, but I’d say try one or two of these things, or your own, and see how they affect your stress level. With a little consideration and some prep (many of these things you have to do anyway, right?), I’m sure you’ll come up with a few reasonable ways you can make your mornings feel less harried!
In the bedroom . . .
- Pick out the clothes I’m going to wear in the morning — this includes shoes and any accessories such as bags, jewelry, and jacket (if necessary). This is one less decision to make in the morning!
- Stop using any screens at least an hour before bed. It’s good to have a paper and pen on my nightstand though, in case I have thoughts my mind is trying to hold on to — things like to do’s I’d forgotten about until my brain settled a bit. If I don’t write them down, my mind will be busy, and that doesn’t help me get to sleep. I know can always digitize the thoughts later, when I choose to look at the screen.
In the kitchen . . .
- Decide what I’m going to have for breakfast, based on what’s in the fridge and how long my food needs to sustain me. For example: if I know I’m going to be out and about and relying on a protein bar mid-morning to hold me over until lunch, I make sure I have a high-protein breakfast, such as eggs and bacon. I may set out something that reminds me what I planned on having, such as a pan or a plate.
- Prep the coffee maker: I set the timer so that when I’m ready for my first cup it will already be available for me. There’s nothing like the smell of fresh coffee made — without any effort — in the morning! This is one of the easiest things to do, and I love my coffee. 🙂
- If I know I’m going to be running around up until lunch, I want to have something available to eat (without a lot of cooking fuss) when I get home, or a plan for where to eat lunch that’s healthy. Usually this means there’s a plate of leftovers from dinner in the fridge with my name on it. Sometimes it means a lunch date at a gluten-free friendly restaurant with a friend.
In the office . . .
- Calculate how much time I will need in the morning. For me everything is about a half hour: my yoga practice is 30 minutes, getting ready takes 30 minutes, breakfast is 30 minutes. If I make a little extra “me time” in the morning, add 15–30 minutes. This means that I set my alarm to wake me up exactly at the time I need to; in the morning I don’t have to second guess (or do math about) whether I can snooze and still do what I wanted.
- If I’m leaving the house for work, my bag is packed and near the door. I’ve checked the weather so I have an umbrella or sunglasses handy — after all, I am back in New England. If I’m taking the bus, my Charlie card is at the door; if I’m taking my car, I know my keys are there.
- If I have to drive, take a bus, or otherwise commute, I know exactly where I have to be, and how I will get there. I use Google maps, check bus routes, and more importantly, view being early as an opportunity. I might pack a book or a podcast I’ve been wanting to listen to in my bag.
- I make sure there is space in my day’s schedule. I find I do best in two hour blocks, and then no matter what I’m doing, I need to switch tasks. It might be computer work vs. movement, social vs. alone time, whatever. But I get cranky and less fun to be around if I fail to follow this advice!
- I straighten up whatever area I’m going to encounter first thing in the morning. Maybe that means the kitchen sink is clean and free of dishes. Maybe it’s that my desk is neat and tidy so when I set out to work, I’m not distracted by clutter.
I certainly don’t ALWAYS do these things. But the busier I know my day is going to be, the more likely I am to do them the night before. Why? Because even if I do just a few of them, I leave my house or set out to work feeling more calm, more centered, and more ready to face whatever happens (that I haven’t prepared for)!
What are your tips for making your mornings (and days) run more smoothly? Let me know!