I’ve never been one of those “plan ahead” types who prepares for anything more than 5 minutes into the future. And morning? Morning is The Worst for me. I am always mentally calculating how little time I need to get ready and leave the house, and then giving myself exactly that amount of time and not a minute more.
This consistently set me up for failure for years – YEARS – because I was always running late, always trying to squeeze in that one extra task before I had to walk out the door, always looking for that thing I desperately needed right now, always underestimating how long something was actually going to take me to do.
Do you crash and bang through life like this, too? It adds a lot of stress to our day-to-day, so let’s stop torturing ourselves. Even if you’ve escaped Nine-to-Five Corporate Hell and are working from home, setting yourself up for a successful morning will set the pace for your entire day.
These are things that I’m trying to consistently do ahead of time so that I can have a happier day tomorrow.
Set up your morning coffee/tea/breakfast and pack your lunch the night before.
Does your coffee maker have a timed brew function? Figure out how that shit works and use it so fresh coffee is ready and waiting when you get up. Fill your kettle with water and put your tea bags and mug next to the stove. Get your breakfast bowl and cereal out and at the ready. Pack your lunch for work, or have it staged in the fridge and ready to go.
My Dude and I have a silent agreement – I make sure any leftovers marked for lunch are packed and ready in the front of the refrigerator for him to grab, and he gets a bunch of snacks ready and leaves them on the kitchen table for me so I don’t forget them. Neither of us have to worry about going hungry at work. I’m cranky when I’m hungry.
Lay out your clothes the night before.
This is the one I’m the least stringent about, but I stick to it on days I have to be up and about early in the morning. It has made my pre-work routine so much easier. I have a designated shelf in my closet where I stack my jeans, socks, belt and underoos. I hang whatever top I’m wearing right next to them. In the morning, when I haven’t had my coffee yet and I’m firing on only one cylinder, I can just grab the whole pile and put it on without thinking.
Make the bed every morning.
This? This took a long time to manifest. Most of my life, actually. I was always firmly in the “Why bother if I’m just going to mess it up again?” camp. But with a loafy cat and a dog who likes to roll on everything, I was tired of getting into itchy sheets at night.
Every morning I make the bed (sheet tucked under the pillows, quilt pulled up over the pillows) and throw the designated “dog blanket” over the whole thing so any pet hair stays on the outside. Even if you don’t have pets, there’s something very comforting and grownup about getting into a made bed every night.
Idiot-proof your healthy habits.
I have one of those old-people weekly pill organizers in my purse to hold all of my vitamins, and I have an alarm that goes off every day at 10am to remind me to take them. I have an alarm that goes off Sunday night to remind me to refill the vitamins. I have another alarm that goes off every night at 9pm to remind me to floss and lay out my clothes for tomorrow.
It sounds a little neurotic, but we’re all walking around with smartphones that can sync our calendars and send us timed alerts for whatever we want whenever we want them. You’ve got the technology at your fingertips, so use it. Set up one alert right now for that thing you just can’t seem to remember.
Start writing a meal plan.
By Sunday, I write a meal plan for the whole week. No, you’ve not wandered into a mommyblog by mistake. Meal planning sounds a little nerdy, but it has saved me and my Dude a boatload of money, time and from having to have those stupid nightly “I don’t know, what do you want?” conversations.
I use a spreadsheet labeled with the days of the week, dip into my huge collection of saved recipes and plan out what we’re having. Then I know what we need for groceries, and Sunday or Monday after work we go pick them up. When dinnertime rolls around, we already know exactly what we’re doing.
What are you doing to make life easier for your future self?