Regardless of whether you enjoy schedules and routines, starting your day right and wrapping it up peacefully is bound to make a difference on the way you feel and function. If you’ve been jumping out of bed late, rushing around to get ready, forgetting to eat breakfast and finally, getting onto the road only to be caught in the office-goers’ traffic snarl, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. I’ve been there and done that and trust me, starting my day off right makes the biggest difference to my mood and productivity and for that, I need to organize my evenings.
How to Have an Organized Evening Routine
Organizing your evenings is a simple and practical way of unwinding from the day’s stress and making a fresh start the next day. Best part is that it hardly takes any time. Most of these items can be done as you catch up with your kids and spouse or as you watch TV. Even, if you like being mindful and focused, the entire evening routine will take you only a maximum of 30 minutes. Now that isn’t so bad, is it?
Clear Up – I hate waking up to a cluttered and untidy room. Since I work in the dining room, these days, I make sure that I clear up the living room and the dining area each night before I go to bed. I make it fun and have my toddler join in as we run around trying to see who can pick up the fastest. Since most of the things are her toys, it’s a great way to have her put back things where they belong. A clean and clutter-free room is a joy to be and work in and wake up to.
Clear Your Head – It’s easy to spend 10 to 15 minutes each evening to jot down your to-do list for the next day. Clearing your head will help you sleep better and you wouldn’t have to waste time in the morning trying to remember things to do and errands to run.
Put Your Clothes Out – The morning is not the time to think of what to wear. Instead, do it while you watch your evening T.V. Take out your outfit for the next day, complete with accessories, and lay it out. If you have school-going kids, do the same for them. Also, spend some time getting your handbag (if you’ll be headed out the next day) and the kids school bags ready.
Put Your Breakfast and Lunch Out – Again, the morning is not the time to think of what to eat. Depending upon what you want to have, you can put out everything on the table, as in the case of cereal, or just the ingredients for whipping things up. For instance, when its pancakes, I keep the flour, sugar, vanilla essence out on the countertop along with the mixing bowl and the pan. So, in the morning, I just take the eggs and milk from the refrigerator and I’m on my way to making a yummy breakfast. You’ll be happier in the morning when all you have to do is sit down and eat and then, pick up your lunch and head out the door.
Create an Errand Central – If you have a list of errands to run the next day, keep everything you need to carry out with you, in one place. So, if you have trip to the hospital, library, supermarket on your to-do list, keep your hospital paperwork, library books and grocery list all in one place. That way, you’ll save time in the morning looking for things you need.
Unwind – Spend time doing what you love as you get ready for bed. Whether it is snuggling with your kids as you read bedtime stories, an evening walk or run, having a heart-to-heart with your spouse, watching a favorite TV show or reading a good book, do it. It’ll leave you relaxed, calm and happy. The day’s ended and you should end it well.
Set Your Alarm – Finally, before your head hits the pillow, set the alarm. And yes, keep the clock or your cell phone (if you use that for your alarm) at a distance, so that you’ll have to get out of the cozy warmth of your quilt in the morning. It’s all too easy to reach out, switch off the alarm , turn over and go right back to sleep. Don’t ask me how I know!
How to Start Your Morning Right
Let’s face it, your morning does set the tone and rhythm for the day. So, let’s start the day on the right note. You’ve already done half the job the night before, so now just enjoy yourself.
Wake Up Early – Getting up even 15 to 20 minutes earlier than usual can make a difference. I don’t want you to join my club and wake at like, 4:30 in the morning, unless you want to, of course. But if you’ve been waking up at say, 7 and finding yourself short on time, try shifting your wake up time to 6:40 and see the difference. If you need any help on how to wake up early and with enthusiasm, do check out Christina’s excellent guide.
When you’re up 20 minutes early, here’s how you can use that time to start your day right.
Take a Shower – Again, whether you’re a SAHM, WAHM or working mom, taking a shower and getting dressed is really what you should do once you’re up. Besides shaking you out of your sleepy stupor, a quick shower will ensure that you never feel untidy, crumpled and messy through the day. Since you’ve already laid out your clothes the night before, you just step in, shower, get dressed and voila, you’re ready to face the day. 7-10 minutes.
Read Something Nice – A few inspiring words, motivating phrases or simply, a scripture verse to lead you through the day will fill your head and heart with happy, positive and mood-uplifting thoughts. I never read the newspaper, first thing in the morning. I have a few books with Daily Inspirations and pick one up to quietly read and reflect upon in the living room. 5 minutes
Listen to Something Nice – Soothing music or happy beats, take your pick. Music is a great way to get in the groove. Pop on a good track and enjoy it while you eat your breakfast. I’ve noticed that whatever I listen to in the morning, tends to stay as a tune in my head through the day and I often, find myself humming and singing the same song as I go about my work. So, choose wisely.
Eat Breakfast – If you’ve used your evening smartly, you would have planned your breakfast and even, set out the cereal bowl or plate. So, just sit down and enjoy it. Breakfast is fuel and eating it will help you avoid a mid-day energy slump or afternoon crabbiness. 5-7 minutes.
And you’re set to face the day, peace-filled, happy and organized.
What helps you create a peaceful morning? How do you organize your evenings?
Photo Credit: Lin Fuchshuber
Next in the Series: Getting Organized in the Kitchen