A short and simple evening routine can go a long way to making the next day run smoothly. The routine outlined here should only take about 15 minutes and will save you time and frustration each morning. Here is a simple checklist for removing tomorrow’s mental clutter:
1. Start fresh: The 2-minute room tidy! I invented this when my kids were small to help me stay sane. It is really amazing how much can be done in two minutes, especially if you have little helpers who are in on the game. Set a timer for two minutes (per room):
• Start at the front door, straighten up mail, shoes, jackets (whatever tends to collect in the entryway), when the timer goes off move to the next room.
• In the living room; straighten the pillows and coffee table, put any stray items into a basket to be put away, fold the blanket on the back of the sofa, etc.
• Powder room; wipe down the counter, straighten the towel, empty the trash.
• In the kitchen, neatly contain papers and mail, and wipe down the counters.
No pressure to make everything perfect, this is not your scrubbing and vacuuming time. This is just a quick end of the day ritual to return your main living area to neutral for a more peaceful morning.
2. Create an inviting breakfast area: Years ago, I read Romancing the Ordinary, by Sarah Ban Breathnach. She encouraged creating rituals around the most ordinary things. Whether it is a beautiful juice glass that you can't wait to drink out of each morning or a pottery mug that fits your hands just perfectly. Find yourself something that happily greets you when you wake up, and make sure the breakfast items you use daily are easy to access so you can enjoy a peaceful morning.
3. Check your calendar: Glance over tomorrow's calendar and set out any items you will need for your day. Make note of social meetings as well, this way you won't be surprised by that phone alert 20 minutes before you are supposed to be at Starbucks... “Oh... was coffee with Jane today?”
4. Set out your clothes: It's so much easier to browse through clothes at night without the added pressure of having to get out the door on time. When you wake up, they are waiting to help you ease into your day.
Prepare tonight and set yourself up for success tomorrow!