6 TIPS FOR ORGANIZED & STRESS-FREE MORNINGS
Summer isn’t officially over until September 23rd, but for most of us, the more relaxed days of summer have come to an end. In their place, fall and school routines, including mornings where everyone needs to be out the door with lunches, gym clothes and assignments. Without some planning and organization, these mornings can be hectic and stressful, which can have a domino effect on the rest of your day. To avoid this, I’m sharing my top 6 tips for having organized and stress-free mornings. No need to worry if you don’t have kids returning to school, I promise these tips will help you have better mornings too!
A Great Morning Begins The Evening Before
I’m a firm believer that great mornings begin the evening before. That is why all 6 of these tips for better mornings need to be done the night before. When you plan and prepare in the evening, your morning is streamlined, you start your day off on the right foot and set yourself up for success. So, let’s get to the tips!
1) Map Out Your Next Day At The End Of The Current Day
Take the last 10-15 minutes of your workday to map out your next day, including errands, laundry or taking kids to activities. But don’t just list tasks you want to get done. Think about how long each task will take and schedule it in your day. This promotes prioritizing tasks, improves time management skills and helps avoid unrealistic “to-do” lists that leave you feeling defeated when not completed. Because you planned the night before, there is no stress in the morning trying to figure out what needs to be done or if you are forgetting something. Instead, you immediately start being productive.
Of course, things don’t always go according to plan. But if you have mapped out your day, when something unexpected comes up you can quickly glance at your list to see what can be set aside for the new task. This habit not only makes mornings better but because you have planned for the next day it can also help you relax and enjoy your evenings more.
2) Pack Lunches The Night Before
I don’t love taking the time at night to make lunches for the next day. But I know that doing it saves me time in the mornings: at least 5 minutes of making and packing lunches plus another couple of minutes of cleaning up after (who wants to come home to crumbs on the counter, right?). That is at least 7 minutes versus the 30 seconds it takes in the morning to get the cold items from the fridge and put them into the already packed lunch bag with an icepack. For those doing the math, that’s 6 ½ precious morning minutes!
3) Pack Bags The Night Before
Much like packing lunches the night before, packing your work bag, purse and children’s backpacks the night before also makes getting out of the house in the morning faster and less hectic. I pack my bag with everything I need for the next day, set my water bottle out to be filled and set everything, along with my keys by the door. I do the same for my daughter’s backpack. In the mornings we take 1 minute to add our lunches and head out the door.
While I always try to ensure things are placed in their assigned homes to avoid searching for anything, I do live with a 6-year-old and a husband and sometimes, even in my house, things are not where they should be. ? I would much rather look for the misplaced item in the evening than in the morning when the search could make us late.
4) Pick Out Your Outfit For The Next Day The Night Before
I don’t know what it is, but I can easily pick out my outfit the evening before, along with any jewelry or other accessories in about 3 minutes. But if I go into the same closet in the morning to pick out the day’s outfit, I suddenly descend into a spiral of indecision and it takes 15 minutes to choose something.
While it may not be this extreme for everyone, picking out your outfit the evening before saves time in the morning by altogether skipping any wardrobe decisions and avoiding last-minute realizations what you want to wear needs to be ironed. If you exercise in the mornings, you can save even more time by setting out your work out clothes too.
5) Take 10 Minutes At The End Of The Day To Tidy
I know I have said this before (here, here and here), but I cannot stress enough that quickly tidying up before going to bed is one of the best ways to get and stay organized. Waking up to yesterday’s untidied space can make you feel behind in your day before it even starts. Set yourself up for a good morning (and day) by taking 10 minutes at the end of each day to tidy items not in their proper “home”.
Even if you just corral all items into a basket to properly deal with the next day, at least the space is tidy and you only have one basket to carry around to put things away the next day. I promise, it makes a big difference when you start your day in a fresh and tidy space.
6) A Little Unwinding Time Before Bed
For me, it’s reading in bed before going to sleep. Sometimes I only read for 5 minutes before I fall asleep (not infrequently with the book still standing in my hands which delights my husband who loves to capture these moments on his phone). But I always take the time because it helps me unwind and clear my mind, which has the terrible habit of racing about anything and everything right when I am ready to go to sleep. Reading calms my mind, which makes for a better night’s rest, which makes for a better morning.
Even if it’s just for 5 minutes, do something to unwind and clear your mind before going to bed. A good night’s sleep means you wake up rested and refreshed. Waking up rested and refreshed starts your morning off right.
Morning minutes when trying to get out of the house on time are precious. Following these tips and doing a little preparation the evening before will save you at least 20 minutes each morning. But it’s not only about the time saved. It’s also about starting your day off right. When you plan and prepare the night before, you avoid starting the day rushed, frustrated and perhaps even late, which can set the tone for the rest of your day. Instead, you set yourself up for success and start the day organized, calm and on time, which definitely makes for a better morning! I’d love to hear in the comments below what you do to make your mornings better. And if you liked this post, please share it!