So far in our #betterdayproject we’ve discussed the benefits of waking up early and then gave you a format to attack those mornings. Hopefully you’ve been crushing your days, but if not we have pulled together some tactics to help. Strategies that can be accomplished before you ever begin your day. We’re talking about getting a jumpstart on your day with an evening routine.
Set an Alarm
Now if you are following our advice on becoming an early riser, then you already understand the importance of waking up early in order to improve sleep quality, reduce stress and gain productivity. You also understand that getting up at the same time every morning is key to sleep management. To make your morning even brighter, we are going to recommend that you set an alarm to sound an hour before you want to go to bed. Use those 60 minutes to wind down. Put away electronics, prep for tomorrow, foam roll, read a book and/or meditate. This gives the brain time to decompress before you doze. If you are still buzzing with ideas or to-do lists, keep a pad of paper and a pencil handy and write down any last minute thoughts to clear your head.
We want to use whatever remaining energy we have to plan for a better tomorrow. This means instead of exerting unnecessary mental and physical energy doing small tasks early in the morning— when most of us, even if we got good sleep, are still a little groggy — why not do them the night before?
A classic example is deciding what to wear. It seems silly, but having to take time to decide on, find, put on, decide against, then find and put on some other arrangement of clothing is time-consuming and mentally draining.
The same could be said for an assortment of little things that often bog down our morning, all of which create friction and make it hard to be productive. Now each person’s routine will be different, but here’s an example of how to plan ahead in order to get ahead:
- Make and prepare breakfast and lunch (for yourself and the kids)
- Get your clothes and gym essentials ready
- Track down and pack work-related accessories like laptops, tablets, folders, documents, ID badges, etc.
- Tidy up your home, wash any dishes and clean the counter tops
- Check your calendar
- Set your alarm for the next morning
Let’s be honest, getting up early and getting to work, school or the gym would be significantly easier if your clothes were laid out, breakfasts and lunches were packed, and your gym bag was organized and set by the front door.
Determine Your Top 3
Finally, one of the most important strategies you will hear us talk about consistently is to write down your Top 3. While this action was discussed as part of a successful morning routine, why not get this done the night before and free up the morning to “Eat the Frog”. Remember, these are the three most important tasks for tomorrow. Tasks that if completed would give you a sense of accomplishment for the day.
By creating space for an intentional and relaxing evening routine, we can build a habit of thinking about achieving goals in terms of identifying and removing obstacles rather than the more primitive push harder mentality. This is a key ingredient in creating a better day.