9 Things You Can Do Tonight to Prepare for Tomorrow

by Henrik Edberg

Mornings can be hectic.

There are a whole bunch of things that need be done in little time.

Especially if you turned over in bed and hit snooze several times after the alarm-bell rang.

The rest of day can also be hectic at times.

But if you take some time tonight to prepare you can make tomorrow at least a little easier, more exciting and smoother to handle.

1. Plan your day.

Use the 80/20 rule or some other way to find your most important tasks for tomorrow. Write them down in order of importance so they don’t slip your mind and get lost in all the busywork of tomorrow. If possible, start with most important task first thing in the morning. This will often raise your productivity plus self-confidence and set the mood for the rest of the day.

2. Visualize your day.

Take a few minutes in your most comfy chair or in bed. Close your eyes and visualize how well everything will go tomorrow. How good your breakfast will taste, how easily you’ll get to work (or handle delays if there are any), how you will be effective and not get stuck in busywork in school or at work. And so on. And make sure you don´t just see it in your mind but also hear and feel it. Make it come alive as much as possible.

This may sound a bit corny but visualizing a good next day can really change your mood, heighten your performance and make tasks, meetings and your whole day run smoother. I have found that it is quite a bit of an improvement compared to if you do what a lot of us do; visualizing tomorrow but in a negative way.

Everything that will happen tomorrow may not be as fun as your weekend was. But how you think about your day – what attitude and perspective you choose – certainly changes how you interpret and create it.

3. Make your lunch.

Pack the leftovers of your dinner in a container and put it in the fridge. Just don’t forget to put it in your bag tomorrow. You may even want make an extra serving so you can quickly heat up dinner when you get home tomorrow. Doing this tonight will save you a bit of time and possibly a bit of money.

4. Pack your bag.

This very simple habit can alleviate quite a bit of stress in the morning. If you pack your bag tonight you don’t have run around in your house half panicked tomorrow looking for your books or some important papers.

On a related note, it’s also useful to check that your keys are hanging where they should hang before you go to bed. Looking for them in the morning – just as your bus is leaving – can create unnecessary stress. Keeping a place where you always hang or put them is an easy way to avoid a lot of keysearches early in the day.

5. Invest in yourself.

Cut out a bit of TV. Do a bit of reading instead. Learn something you can have use for. Take an evening class, read a self-improvement book, learn a language or a dance. Or go out running or exercising in some other way. This might not change much for tomorrow. But if you have an hour or so over every other night you can make some real progress and in the longer run change your future tomorrows a whole lot.

6. Journal.

Review your day and get what is on your mind out on virtual or tree-based paper. This can bring calmness and clarity to your mind. Journaling can also give you more structure in life and is a way to find focus and to think things through in a better way. It can help you to find solutions and opportunities in your challenges. You can read more about the advantages of journaling in Why You Should Write Things Down.

7. Ask gratitude questions.

I first wrote about this one way back in How to Start Your Day in a Better Way. If you don’t have the time for this little exercise in the morning or want to end your day on a positive note give it a try tonight.

Here’s what you do; ask yourself five empowering three-part questions in this way:

What am I ______ about in my life right now?

What about it makes me _______?

How does it make me feel?

Put in your own value in the blank space. For instance, a couple of my questions are: What am I happy about in my life right now? What am I excited about in my life right now?

It’s important that you really feel how it makes you feel. When I think about the last part about what makes me happy right now I really feel it. These questions are great because:

a) the way they are set up makes you recognize things you take for granted
b) and then they really get you to feel those positive feelings.

8. Relax.

These last two tips are in the super obvious category. But reminders are good from time to time. And you can’t get much done if you never get any rest and revitalization. Well, you can for a while but soon you’ll start to feel run down, stressed out and fill up with all kinds of negative emotions.

So find a way to relax that suits you. Meditate in one way or another. Take a warm bath. Take a walk in the woods. Listen to relaxing music. Or just catch up on sleep. For 14 more tips for relaxation click here and 13 additional ones click here.

9. Do something fun and exciting.

Do something more active than watching TV-shows you aren´t that fond of anyway (just watch the ones you really like). Don’t just get stuck in a boring rut that keeps your mood low and level. It’s important to just find something fun and exciting to do. Something that can cheer you up. Something that can make you feel better as the alarm clock goes off tomorrow morning.

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{ 9 comments }

Megan September 19, 2007 at 2:34 am

These are some really good tips! I know its true when I pack my bag and lunch the night before it does take away a lot of stress i cause myself when i don’t do it. mmhmm. I think i will start journaling more on a daily basis – that is a good outlet. thanks!

Annie Lawrence Author Love's Secret September 19, 2007 at 4:51 pm

Hi Henrick,
This is great information to include in daily life. These small steps done consistently on a daily basis can become positive lifestyle habits. It takes 21 days to establish a habit. If we make a commitment to doing these positive habits for 21 days we can replace our old habits that no longer serve us.

I love your blog. Thanks for providing positive input for positive living. I will dig your post and help to pass it on!
Annie Lawrence http://loveambassador.blogspot.com

Andrew Rondeau September 19, 2007 at 5:20 pm

Brilliant concise article – thanks.

You just have to try them and use them consistenly – make them habits, make them part of your daily life.

A small amount of effort the night before can save you loads of time the next day. These tips are spot-on.

Andrew

Landmark forum September 20, 2007 at 12:20 am

7th one is really important..especially the following questions ..

“What am I ______ about in my life right now?”

“What about it makes me _______?”

“How does it make me feel?”

This is a nice piece of article indeed.

David B. Bohl at SlowDownFAST.com September 20, 2007 at 2:17 am

Great post. I’d also add enjoy the moment you’re in and simply attempt to do the next right thing.

Henrik Edberg September 21, 2007 at 4:43 pm

Thanks you all for your comments!

GreatManagement October 1, 2007 at 8:07 am

And get a great nights sleep!

Andrew

Tristasn December 3, 2008 at 12:18 am

I got inspired to do work today and it makes me confident and happy. I’m going to try and implement this into my life. It’s almost bed time. Better get organizing!

Thanks

Tristan

Nea | Self Improvement Saga October 9, 2009 at 4:24 am

I’m not a fan of planning my day, but I cannot deny how much it helps. Another thing that I have started doing is to make sure I take on the most difficult or important task first…. you know, the one you’d be most likely to procrastinate on. I circle that task on my to-do list each night and that is where I start the next day. I no longer start the day by checking email. That’s a big, big NO NO.

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