Ever have one of those mornings where your alarm didn’t go off? I did. It’s rare, but it happened to me about a month back. I let my phone die earlier in the day and while I plugged it in at bedtime, I forgot to turn it back on. So my phone (which is also my alarm clock) was fully charged but not powered on. So no alarm.
I woke up in a panic at 6:30 to my partner’s alarm and realized I needed to be out the door in about 15 minutes. I am NOT a morning person. Even when jolted awake by the realization that I overslept, I don’t move especially quickly in the mornings and my brain doesn’t fire on all cylinders.
But I made it out the door and to my early morning networking meeting on time! Whew! How the heck did I manage that? I’ve created routines for myself to make up for the fact that I’m not perfect, not a morning person, and don’t think clearly when it’s stupid early.
My clothes were already laid out, and I had everything I needed for the day already packed in my bag. My lunch was prepped and waiting in the fridge. All I needed to do was brush my teeth and hair, put on my clothes, grab my stuff, and head out the door.
By taking about 15 minutes each evening to prepare for the next day, I can relax because I set myself up for success. Every morning is a smoother experience (despite the fact that it’s morning), and I’m much less likely to leave something important at home.
I recommend that everyone prepare for the next day the night before, but it’s especially important when you’re not a morning person. All that thinking and decision-making about what you’re going to wear, what you’re going to eat for lunch, what you’re doing today, and what you need to take with you? Do that thinking the night before when your brain actually works! If your brain doesn’t work that well at night, then do that thinking as soon as you get home from work to prepare for the next day and you can transition to your rest and recovery with peace of mind.
A little advance preparation can save the day in all sorts of situations, whether it’s a missed alarm, waking up to a sick kid or pet, or anything else that might throw off your day. Plus, you can rest more peacefully because you’re not thinking about all the things you need to remember to do in the morning. It’s already done!
For some ideas of how to put this into practice, check out the (NSFW) blog Unf*ck Your Habitat. It has lots of great ideas for making your space and your routines work for you instead of against you.
If you’ve never really prepared for the next day the night before, commit to trying it for a week and see what happens. I think you’ll be surprised at the difference it can make in your mornings!