I used to hate mornings. My alarm clock always went off sooner than I was ready. My brain in a fog, I’d just grab whatever clothes I could find, and put them on after a quick shower.
Then, I’d slowly make my way to the kitchen, and had a quick bite to eat before heading out the door. I’d leave the dishes in the sink. Who had the time to wash them?
I was always frustrated. I so wished I were one of those people with plenty of time in the morning to do everything calmly, and leave the house looking polished and feeling relaxed. How did they do it?!
At night. They’d give themselves a head start in the morning by preparing for it the night before. Last year, I started doing the same.
I created 5 simple bedtime rituals that allow me to make the most of the 20-30 minutes before bedtime, and make my mornings so much easier! I hope they’ll help you too.
1. Set Your MITs
We’ve all got a gazillion things to do every day, but how many are really important? Very few. Replying to most of our emails can wait, but working on that presentation or getting ready for a job interview can’t.
So, pick the three Most Important Tasks (MITs) you must absolutely accomplish the next day, and write them down.
Make sure that at least one of them is related to one of your goals. For example, I’ve always wanted to write a book, so I’m scheduling time each day to write a chapter. I’d also like to grow my traffic and community, and find ways to serve it better, so I dedicate time each day to the most important jobs that’ll get me there.
But I don’t forget more mundane tasks, either! When I start to draw in dirty laundry, I know it’s time to wash my clothes! Or social tasks, like spending quality time with family and friends.
Once you’ve picked the most important three, write them down. I’m old school, so I still use a notebook and pen. I tried Evernote, but it didn’t work for me. I need to see that piece of paper sitting on my desk to do the tasks. But if you’re the techie type, Evernote, or another digital app, may work better for you.
Then, when morning comes, do the tasks. No excuses. You’ll be much more productive, and sleep a lot better knowing you already have a plan for the next day.
2. Prepare What You Need For The Morning
Now you have a plan for the morning, prepare everything you need to execute it. Gather your notebooks, files, pen, briefcase, whatever. I always make sure that my desk is clean and organized, so as soon as I sit down, I can get right to work.
If you have everything you need right at hand, you won’t have any excuses to procrastinate. Everything you need to take with you goes on a table or shelf near the front door. That way, you won’t forget it.
3. Lay Out Your Clothes
When you are rushing in the morning, you’ll likely wear whatever you can grab first. Not the best way to put together a stylish outfit! And if you don’t look good, chances are you won’t feel that good. I always feel a lot more motivated and ready for anything when I wear a cute outfit.
So, I started planning my outfit the night before. I check first my MITs and then the weather, so I can put together an outfit that fits the occasion and won’t leave me sweating in the heat or shivering in the cold (here in London, that usually includes several layers – the weather changes so quickly!).
If I’m going to exercise, I plan an outfit for that as well. When I see it there, all laid out and waiting for me, I’m much more motivated to put it on and start moving my body. If I don’t, even just the thought of having to look for my workout clothes may be enough to make me skip a session!
Don’t forget the accessories! Shoes, bags, necklaces, and whatever else you like to wear or think would complement the outfit, and add that touch of oomph to it. Pro tip: lay them out in the order you’ll put them on. Underwear first, jackets and accessories last. It makes dressing in the morning so much quicker!
4. Plan Your Meals
For years, I only drank a small cup of tea and munched on a few biscuits at breakfast. Not the most nutritious of meals! An hour later, my stomach was grumbling again. But who had the time to prepare and eat a proper breakfast when I was rushing around, trying to get ready?
So, now I plan my breakfast the night before. I lay out the dishes, and place the muesli box on the table, next to some fruit. Then, I fill in the boiler with some water. When I wake up, half the work is already done. I just have to heat the water for my tea, grab a yogurt from the fridge, and eat.
If you can’t function without a good cup of coffee in the morning, invest in a programmable coffee pot. It’ll do the hard work for you while you’re sleeping, and wake you up with the delicious aroma of a fresh brew.
5. Tidy Up
I know, I know. Who wants to tidy up after a hard day’s work? But you know, what’s worse than washing the dishes at night? Washing them first thing in the morning. Just seeing that mess as soon as you walk into the kitchen can put a damper on your day.
So, wash them before going to bed. Then, pick up everything that’s lying around and put it back in its place. It only takes a couple of minutes, and it’ll reduce your stress too. You won’t be lying awake at night anymore, thinking about what a mess your house is and the time it’ll take you to sort it all out.
While you’re at it, declutter your bag too. Every Sunday, I go through my bag and get rid of all the receipts, overflowing coins, and other random crap that somehow has made its way inside it every week. That way I don’t have to dig through all that junk while I’m looking for my wallet or lip balm.
Do you have any bedtime rituals that help you save time in the morning?