So tell me – what does life look like at your house in the morning? Is it controlled chaos or an exhausting sprint that coffee can’t cope with? Do you feel like you need to get organized and have a morning routine or an evening routine?
I’m SO not a morning person so without some sort of routine I am NOT going to be functioning in the morning. AT. ALL. It ain’t purty. <<<(PS – Dear Grammar Nazi – that’s an intentional typo. I look forward to your emails.)
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Should I Have a Morning Routine or an Evening Routine?
Seriously, if I answer that here we can just end the post at 46 words or so. But you didn’t come here for a one-word answer, right?
The thing is this: you need both. And, if you want a good morning, you NEED both.
Take a peek at my blathering on about my morning routine of sorts here.
Truth is, a good morning routine starts with a good evening routine. And a good evening routine starts with <<< wait for it >>> a good morning routine.
That’s a lovely dance around the mulberry bush, eh?
A Great Morning Starts the Night Before
Raise your hand if you’ve never heard that before.
No worries, I’ll wait.
Yep, I thought so.
The reason you’ve heard it before is this: it just makes good sense. Not every cliche is a …. cliche.
If you read the post I linked above (and didn’t fall into a coma while you read it) you’ll notice that it doesn’t completely encompass my entire morning. It’s just the things I have to do to be:
- Upright in the morning
- Not scalded by my hot water for tea (still no guarantee on this one!)
- Ensures I don’t get arrested for going to the grocery store without my pants on
Sure, I have some tips on what to do in the evening but it’s just for me. You may be different. You may not wear pants at all.
The point is this: not only does a great morning start the evening before, but YOUR morning routine also depends on your evening routine and what works best for you and your bunch.
One huge benefit: knowing I have everything set for the morning helps me feel more settled when I go to bed. If I have a bumpy night at least I know starting my day won’t be as stressful as it could have been. And bumpy nights are all too frequent.
Let’s Get Started on That Evening Routine:
The first thing we need to figure out is what we want our morning to look like.
Say WHAT, Kemosabe? I thought this what about the evening routine??!
Don’t get your britches in a twist. We’re getting there. We’re going to reverse engineer your day. Or maybe that’s circle engineer your day. (Note to self: trademark ‘circle engineer’.)
Make a list of exactly what needs to be accomplished in your morning. All of it.
It might look like this:
- Wake up (this awesome clock might be just the thing to get you on your feet)
- Get bathed and dressed
- Brush teeth, if you have them (or at least the one you want to keep)
- Make bed
- Get the kids ready
- Prepare breakfast
- Make school/work lunches
And so on, ad nauseum. You get the drift.
Now make a list of what needs to be done for EACH task on the list.
- What can you do the night before?
- Set that crazy clock. Seriously. This clock will get you out of bed, guaranteed. (Make sure you keep your front door locked)
- Lay out clothes for the morning
- Arrange makeup for quick use
- Get the kids clothes out
- and so on …
What can you do in the evening?
Mark up that list:
Of all those items on the second list, what can be done the night before?
Keep this in mind:
- Everything does not need to be done in the 30 minutes before bedtime.
- Not everything needs to be done by YOU. (Unless you live alone with a cat. Trust me – that cat will be NO help.)
What Do You Already Do in the Evening?
Batching tasks is always a timesaver, so work on lunches for the next day while you’re doing meal prep for dinner or before cleanup.
Set out a list of responsibilities for the kids if you have them. Create a chore chart so they can check them off. Don’t forget rewards!
I’ve taught The Commodore how to push two buttons. If I’m a lazy lay-a-bed for a few minutes I know he’ll get things started his coffee and my tea. (See? Old dogs CAN learn new tricks!)
What Can You Do During the Weekend?
Get all the sets of clothes ready during the weekend so you only need to pull a set out. Easy if you put each set on a hanger. If they need certain shoes with them, add a post-it note on the outfit as a reminder.
Do breakfast for the week during the weekend – waffles can be warmed up quickly in the toaster. Bacon can be stored in a storage bag in the fridge. You can make overnight oats to warm up (or not) if your folks like oatmeal – especially in the winter.
You can find ways to streamline breakfast, even if it’s mixing up the dry ingredients the night before, or fixing a breakfast casserole to pop into the oven before everyone else is stirring.
Scrambled eggs? Mix them up and pour them into a storage baggie the night before. Just pull them out of the fridge in the morning, squeeze the baggie to mix, and pour into your pan.
Other Simple Tips
- Get a small basket that holds all your normal makeup so you only have one thing to get out.
- Toss a load of laundry into the washer before you head to bed. It’ll be fine to stay in the machine overnight; you can toss it in the dryer when you get up.
- If you’re a cereal-and-milk gang, get the bowls, spoons, and cereal out (and set the table) the night before.
- Take advantage of technology. If your coffee maker has a timer, use it. And, yes, I call that “technology”.
- If you don’t have one of these advanced fancy-schmancy coffee makers, use a regular timer. It’s not JUST for your Christmas tree!
- Get up a few minutes before everyone else – enjoy your coffee and quiet time to pray or meditate. Ease into your day gently. There will be plenty of time for chaos later.
- Don’t try to change your routine all at once. That’s a recipe for overwhelm. Rome wasn’t built in a day so give yourself some grace.
- Make one or two small changes per week. Once you have that solid, make your next change.
And Don’t Forget:
You don’t want to get caught off guard by something that you need to do on the day you need to do it so:
- Check your upcoming weekly schedule on Sunday.
- Check your next day schedule every evening.
It’s much easier to realize the night before that you promised cupcakes for school tomorrow than it is to find out tomorrow!
If you need a planner, you may be interested in 5 Undated Planners Guaranteed to Boost Your Productivity to keep you on track.
- Decide what needs to be done.
- Decide when it needs to be done.
- Decide who needs to do it.
- Keep an eye on your schedule so you don’t have any surprises.
- Implement it over time.
And One Last Thing …
Your evening routine will evolve over time as you find ways to make it work for you. Bend a bit and let it be flexible. Let it flow, baby.
Do you have any easy ways that you make your mornings easier?