You know the mornings. The ones where you’re running around the house trying to simultaneously shove breakfast into your kids’ mouths, find someone’s lost shoe, and sign off on homework—all while the bus is just rounding the corner. It’s exhausting! And then, once your ragged (and perhaps shoeless) little angels manage to barely make it on the bus, you still have to run around the house getting yourself ready for work and you can’t find your phone and you still have a major case of bedhead.
I’ve written about my secret to calmer mornings before. But I thought I would include it in this Small Habits, Big Difference series because it’s a habit that actually has immediate consequences. If you prepare things the night before, your morning is more likely to go smoothly. You might still have a few hiccups here and there, but I guarantee that if you don’t prepare the night before, your morning will basically stink.
My last post about this mainly focused on the kids’ night before preparation, but your night before preparation is just as important! The following list has a little of kids and parents, and if you do all of it before bed, it really should only take a half hour or so at most. The important thing to remember is that it is a calm half hour, instead of a stressful half hour that results in a missed bus and a yelling mom.
7 Things You Should Prepare the Night Before
Homework should be finished, put into the folder, and put into the backpack. Anything that needs to be signed by a parent—permission slips, homework planners, etc.— should also be signed and put into the backpack.
Make sure you remember any out of the ordinary items such as library books, field trip money, science projects, etc.
If your child goes to extra-curricular activities right after school, pack necessary items as well. Last year my friend picked up Chloe straight from school to take her to piano lessons, so every Wednesday we had to make sure that her piano bag was in her backpack the night before. Both my older girls run cross-country, so during the fall they needed to make sure they had running clothes and shoes packed, and if there was a meet that day they had to have their uniforms packed.
My kids are required to make their own lunches the night before. Not only does this free up time the next morning, it means that they pack healthier lunches because they don’t rush through the process. Every time they forget to pack it the night before, they end up grabbing a piece of fruit and a cheese stick and that’s about it!
3. Tomorrow’s clothing
Have everyone in the entire house pick out their clothes for the next day—right down to the underwear. This includes you and your spouse! This way, any ironing can be done the night before (ironing? what’s that?) and you won’t have to run around looking for socks.
When I was working (I quit my job recently), I also set out my jewelry with everything else.
4. Purse/work/computer bag
Prepare whatever you need for work the next day if you are working. For me, that included whatever music I needed for the following day’s students, my water bottle, and my computer bag.
Now that I am not working, I still make sure I have everything I need for the day in my purse.
Especially for the kids, setting out breakfast components is super helpful. Or, if you plan to make a hot breakfast, set out the ingredients that you need (unless they need to be refrigerated). It’s nice to just have everything ready to go, and as silly as it seems, it saves a ton of time.
Same as breakfast. This especially helps when you find that you are missing an ingredient—that way you can pick it up after work or while running errands.
7. Planner check
For me, this is the most important thing I can do before bed. If I am using my planner correctly, everything I need to know about tomorrow will be written in it. I will be able to remind my children that they have dance or piano lessons after school, I will be able to prepare for any appointments I may have, and I will be able to have everything ready for the day—because I know what is supposed to happen.
Whenever I don’t look at my planner the night before? That’s the day I have something totally out of the ordinary and I either miss it or am completely unprepared.
It’s amazing to me how far a little preparation can go. I’m not a fan of the whole running around like a crazy woman in the morning, so I will continue to do my preparation the night before.
Small Habit: Prepare for the next day the night before.
Big Difference: Calmer mornings, better preparation, more productivity.
This post is part of my Small Habits That Will Make a Big Difference 30 day challenge. To see all of the posts in this series, click here. Or, join the challenge and receive a daily email with a new small habit that can affect your life in a big way.
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