A successful morning begins the night before, and these 7 nightly to-dos will set you up for a great day, every day.
Earlier this week, I talked about 7 things to do every morning. But what about nighttime? We know that the key to having a successful morning is starting the night before, but what are the keys to doing that?
Here are 7 things that I’ve found set me up for a great next day:
1. Clean the Kitchen
If I go to bed with a messy kitchen, the next day I’m waking up already behind. I have to clean up YESTERDAY’S mess before I can even START today. I hate that feeling!
So I like to take a few minutes right after dinner to load and start the dishwasher, wipe down the table/counters, and get dinner all cleaned up. Then, once the dishwasher is done, I put away the clean dishes and make sure the kitchen is still clean.
It feels so good the next morning to wake up to a tidy kitchen, an empty sink, and clean dishes. Then I’ve got a fresh slate to work with when making breakfast and packing lunches. I’m definitely a less-stressed mom when things work this way!
2. Quality Time with My Family
My night just doesn’t feel complete if I don’t get to spend some quality time with the ones I love most. If it’s a normal night and I don’t have an event or outside obligation, I like to spend time in multiple categories: as a family, one-on-one with one or both of my kids, then later one-on-one with my husband. That’s ideal, but it defintiely doesn’t always happen.
For us, we like to make dinner a fun & connected time. We talk, laugh, dance, and play verbal games. Then after dinner is cleaned up, we try to spend a few minutes together doing something fun. Sometimes all we have time for is a quick dance party in the kitchen or tossing a ball for a few minutes. Other times we go out for a treat, go for a walk, or play a board game.
One-on-one time with my kids usually consists of tucking them in. For my daughter this means tickles, reading a couple books, and singing some songs. For my son, this means spending a few minutes talking to him about his life, his friends, his day, his concerns and fears, or his dreams. Then we usually read a few pages of a book together.
Spouse time usually happens right before bed. I do my night routine, get some work done, then we head upstairs and spend some quality time together before going to sleep. More often than not, we spend that time really talking to each other. We love talking! But sometimes we watch a show, read together, do a crossword puzzle, or play a game.
3. 5-Minute Pick-Up
This is a game changer, so if you don’t already do this, I suggest you start tonight. It’s amazing how taking 5-minutes a day to pick-up can (within a few days) mean that you no longer need more than 5-minutes to pick-up.
We TRY to teach our kids to clean up their toys as they go, but the reality is that it doesn’t always happen. So there’s usually a mess at the end of the day (and sometimes a HUGE mess). So after our family time each night, we set a timer (thanks, Alexa!) for a 5-minute pick-up. We move as fast as we can and see if we can get everything clean before the timer goes off. The kids know to expect it and find it fun to try to beat the clock.
Sometimes we don’t get it all done, and when that happens, I usually just set my own clock for later after the kids are in bed and bust out the rest. But with this habit in place, we rarely need more than 5 minutes.
4. Plan and Prep for the Next Day
This is huge! If you want to have a successful day, you need to have a plan. And along with this, don’t OVERplan–or over-schedule. When I plan, I like to focus on these things:
- The schedule (school drop-off/pick-up times, activities, appointments, etc.)
- Meals (what are we eating for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack?)
- Workout (what’s my plan for my workout?)
- Laundry (I do one load a day, so I plan what load needs to be done)
- To-dos (I pick no more than THREE things to get done. I’m honest about what REALLY needs to get done that day. If I have time for more, I can always look at my running to-do list and pick something else to complete, but when I’m planning my day, I only write down the things that really need to get done that day.)
- Fun (Looking at my schedule and my to-do list, I plan some fun and relaxing time in. Fun with the kids, our family time, something to do for me, etc.)
Then I like to spend a few minutes prepping for the day ahead: pulling out meat to thaw in the fridge overnight, packing my diaper bag for the next day, laying out clothes and my workout clothes for my early AM workout, etc.
5. Get Ready for the Night
I like to do this right after I get the kids in bed because I know if I wait until right before I go to sleep to take off my makeup, one of two things is going to happen: 1) it WON’T happen or 2) I’ll just quickly slap some soap on and rinse and call it good. And my skin deserves (and NEEDS) better than that.
Skin care is so, so important and I’m a firm believer in it. So, as soon as my kids are asleep (assuming I have nowhere to go that night), I head right into my room and complete my skincare routine. Sometimes I even take a relaxing bath and do a face and/or hair mask! Doing this before 8pm has been an AMAZING change for me. I’ll never go back!
If you’ve been here for awhile, you might know that I don’t have a typical journal routine. For me, journaling needs to have a clear purpose behind it. So I created a journaling routine for myself and now I LOVE to journal. You can read more about my journaling process here, but at night, I focus on one memory and some positive self-reflection. It takes just a couple of minutes, and voila, I’ve journaled with a purspose!
I’m a huge book nerd and believe in the power of words, so naturally I think everyone should spend time reading every single day. But it can be really hard to fit reading into busy mom-life!
I started reading every night before bed to ensure I got a least a little book time in each day. Now I have a hard time falling asleep without reading a little bit. Sure, some nights I barely make it through a page before zonking out, but at least I can say I read something. It definitely helps me settle down for the night as well.
Note: I recommend fiction reading at night because if I read nonfiction before bed, it gets my brain going and I have a hard time turning it off and going to sleep. Too many ideas!
There it is–my top 7 things for starting the next day off right.
What’s something you do at night to prepare for the day ahead?
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