by Susan McCarthy
Create an evening routine that gets you off to a good start in the morning.
There’s this “little thing” called decision fatigue which means you wear down your willpower with every decision you make throughout the day. Now, I’m not talking about big, life-changing decisions. I’m talking about small, seemingly insignificant decisions like, should you wear the blue top or the green one … or should you have cereal, waffles, eggs, avocado toast, or a smoothie for breakfast?
Routines can help you feel more energized because they take the decision-making out of some less important actions. So, automating some of your actions might leave you feeling less stressed and more creative because you’re saving your willpower for more important activities.
A great routine to create is an evening routine that set you up for the next day. Morning routines seem to get more attention, but it’s your bedtime routine that will give you the time and energy to engage in that morning routine.
How much time do you need for your evening routine? This depends if you’re planning for yourself or for yourself and young children as well as what’s on the schedule for tomorrow. The first few times may take a bit longer as you get in the habit of preparing for the next day.
Do some of these actions (particularly “plan for tomorrow”) after dinner when your meal will raise your glucose levels which can give a boost to your end of the day willpower. Seeing what you’ll be doing the next day will guide many of the actions that follow.
Plan for Tomorrow
Take a few moments to review your planner or calendar and see what’s scheduled for the next day. Are there chores or errands you need to take care of? What other things do you want to get done that will help you move toward a goal?
Pack Lunch or Plan Your Meals
When you prepare what you’ll eat the next day, it’s likelier that you’ll stick to your plans. Make your lunch and start defrosting something for tomorrow’s evening meal to save yourself from making a stressful dash through the grocery store as you grab things for dinner and try to remember if you have rice in your pantry or not.
Set on the kitchen counter the nonperishable components of your breakfast. Put out the skillet or saucepan that will remind you of what you’ve decided to prepare.
Set Out Your Outfit
Once you know what you’ll be doing tomorrow, you can plan what you’ll wear. Even if you know this outfit will involve pajama bottoms, you can see if you need to do laundry or if you’ll want to add a Zoom-appropriate top to dress up your jammies.
Get Ready to Head Out the Door
If you’ll be heading out the next day, make sure your keys, wallet, and mask are ready to grab-and-go. Clear old receipts from your bag. Make certain you’re not carrying around a withered apple that was supposed to be a snack several days ago. Set dry-cleaning, library books, store returns, and shopping lists in a launching area near your front door.
Encourage everyone in the house to bring to this area their gym bag, sports equipment, backpack or briefcase, footwear, coat, etc. that they’ll be leaving the house with the next day. This will save frantic running around to collect things in the morning and keep tempers calm.
Set Out the Stuff for Your Morning Routine
Whether you write morning pages, do yoga, or engage in some other activity each morning, make it easier to stick to this routine by putting these items in place. When you get up and see that your yoga mat is already rolled out, then you’ll be prompted to move over there and stretch.
Prepare for Tomorrow, Tonight
Even if you wake up tired or lacking motivation, you’ll have made it easier to start your morning by having planned the day, setting out your outfit, getting everything ready to head out he door, planning tomorrow’s meals, and setting out prompts that remind you of what you want to do so to start the day right.
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Susan, chief (and only) organized squirrel at A Less Cluttered Life, pursues learning, practicing, and sharing information about the everyday habits that can lead to living a better life.