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.
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.
7. Ask gratitude questions.
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.
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.
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.