How many times have I said I’m not a morning person? Too many, I’m sure. I hate climbing out of my warm bed and I have a horrible time settling into my day once I wake up. It doesn’t matter if I was able to get 6 or 8 hours of sleep, my mornings are rough. I need at least an hour and a large cup of caffeine-heavy tea before I can even think about starting the day. It’s in my genes, it has to be. I don’t have any other excuse for hating mornings so much.
I know we all have those mornings. You might be a natural night owl (like me) or you might have other things occupying your mornings. Maybe you struggle with getting yourself and your kids ready for the day. You may have overslept due to a faulty alarm or a phone that died during the night. Whatever it is, mornings can be awful if you’re not prepared. I’ve learned to take advantage of my night-owl tendencies to develop a nightly routine that sets me up for an easier morning. It only takes a few minutes and I’ve even created a helpful checklist you can print out to put on your refrigerator to make it even easier for you.
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- Empty the sink and sanitize the countertops – Before you go to bed do a quick pass through the kitchen. Empty the dishwasher, load the dirty dishes and schedule it to run, straighten the countertops and quickly wipe them down with Lysol disinfecting wipes. I love these wipes because they make quick cleaning a breeze. Just pull one out, wipe the surface, and toss it in the trash.
- Do a quick sweep through the common areas – Walk through your common areas and pick up any things you can quickly grab and put away. Put books on the shelves, remote controls back in the baskets, dirty laundry in the hamper, dishes in dishwasher, and pillows in place on the sofa. You don’t have to clean, just tidy so you wake up to a semi-organized space.
- Prep breakfast – I love to prepare overnight oats for an easy breakfast in the morning. It takes 5-minutes to prep a batch of overnight oats in the evening so in the morning all you have to do is grab a spoon and a jar, then go.
- Prep your coffee, water, or smoothie – What do you drink in the morning? Whatever it is, prep it the night before. If you drink coffee, schedule your coffee pot or prepare the Keurig pod. If you drink water, fill a pitcher and infuse it with fresh berries, cucumber, or lemon. If you prefer smoothies, portion the smoothie ingredients into a freezer bag so it’s ready to blend together in the morning.
- Pack lunches – While you’re in the kitchen prepping breakfast and drinks, prepare lunch for the next day as well. Whether it’s for you, your husband, or the kids, having the meals ready to go saves a lot of time and stress in the morning. I love to make soup (like my tomato soup) in big batches and freeze individual portions in these freezer-friendly bowls. Lunch(es) are ready by adding a quinoa salad, fresh fruit or veggies, and crackers.
- Review your planner – I love love love my Create 365 planner and I use it religiously to schedule my days. Whether you use a paper planner or a digital planner, take a few minutes to review your agenda for the next day and mentally prepare your schedule. Whether you’re working with meetings at the office, community events, or children’s programs, it’s good to know what you’re waking up to the next day.
- Check your email – A lot of experts disagree with me here but I love to review my email as part of my nightly routine. I don’t actually respond to emails but I do quickly review them. I’ll delete anything unimportant and star anything urgent for follow-up in the morning. When I wake up, I don’t have to comb through the junk and I’ve already identified anything that needs immediate attention.
- Write your to-do list – Now that you’ve reviewed your planner and checked your email, jot down a quick list of your urgent to-do’s for the next day. Since you’ve just looked over your schedule you’re able to prioritize your tasks and start your day with a plan.
- Take care of your skin – It’s not good for your skin to go to bed still covered in make-up so take the time to wash it off and care for your skin. I remove my make-up with make-up remover cloths then wash with this foaming cleanser from Formula 10.0.6. I found the foaming cleanser in Target but you can save a few bucks if you order it on Amazon. I end with this ultra-calming night cream from Aveeno.
- Brush, floss, and clean your teeth – I’ve always heard that a lot of health problems start with bad oral hygiene so take time to care for your teeth before bed. I love to use Crest White Strips as I’m taking care of other items on the list then brush, floss, and rinse with mouthwash. If you’re consistent, you can really see results with those white strips! My whole family uses them.
- Lay out your clothes – Check the weather and plan your outfit for the next day. I choose everything I’m going to wear (down to the shoes and jewelry) and hang it all together in the closet. You can always change your mind in the morning if you find yourself wanting to wear something else but waking up to a stylish look waiting for you is a great feeling.
- Go screen-free – A 2017 study seems to have identified a link between excessive screen time and mental health issues, especially in teenagers. Other studies have found links between screen use at night and sleep disorders so it’s a good idea to shut the screens off and go screen-free at night. As an alternative try reading a book, practicing a quiet hobby like sewing, or spend spiritual time either through prayer, meditation, or other practice.
Now, even if you’re not a morning person you have a nightly routine that’ll work to make your mornings more bearable and less stressful. Now, get your checklist ^, print it out, and start settling into a routine that’ll put you to bed with peace of mind and a happy home.