Every day brings new choices, said Martha Beck. To that, I want to add that the choices you make every morning depend on the ones you made in the evening.
Preparing things the night before is merely anticipating the morning demands. We all know the things we MUST do. The non-negotiable, repetitive actions that build our days.
The secret here is to eliminate as many steps and decisions as possible from the morning and do them in the evening.
This is the one instance where you have the power of control. We can decide to design our small actions, and thus free the brain-width to focus on what is truly important.
We are the architects of our own time and what we choose to build with our resources will significantly influence our enjoyment of life.
Every household is different, and your morning and evening routines are dependant on so many factors that don’t stand to be generalized.
In this article, I will walk you through what I do in the evening to make my life easy the next day. Use it as inspiration and try to see what works for your own life circumstances.
This year I started preparing the adult lunches once a week, by batch cooking starches (quinoa, rice, beans) to which I add raw veggies and hard-boiled eggs. I prepare separate containers of dressing.
For the kids, I use dinner leftovers and place them in their lunch boxes, even when they do not go to school. I almost never cook lunch when lunch needs to be served.
Prepare water bottles
Everyone in my family uses a water bottle during the day. I prepare them in the evening, so in the morning they are ready to go in backpacks, bags, and cars.
Leave the sink clean
My ideal scenario here is actually to leave the kitchen clean, but an empty sink is a minimum requirement for me to feel unburdened by housework.
Put a load of laundry
With five people living in this house, doing laundry is an almost daily affair. To avoid piling up, I put a load of laundry every night. I pour the detergent as well and press start on this the first thing in the morning. By the time my morning routine is done, the load is finished, and I can transfer them to the drier. By the time the kids wake up, I can already fold that one load. For some reason, this makes me feel in control 🙂
I take our every single item of clothing my children will wear and lay it out for them on the sofa in the order they will use to get dressed.
For my girls, who these days seem to be very vocal in the fashion realm, I ask them the night before to take out what they prefer to be wearing (usually twirly skirts).
I do the same for myself.
Take a shower or a bath in the night
Both children and adults shower in the night. This minimizes the time we spend in the morning on hygiene.
Plan enough sleep
A no-brainer that nevertheless I feel it needs to be mentioned. The days when I get enough sleep, I function smoother and happier. This is done by reverse planning the desired wake-up hour.
So if I want to be awake at 5 AM, knowing my body is thriving on 8 hours of sleep, I should be in bed by 9 PM. I need at least 15 minutes to wind down, so I have an alarm on my phone at 8:45 PM to signal my bedtime. When that alarm gets on, I leave it all and go to bed.
End the day with gratitude
Every night before I go to sleep, I do a quick reflection of how my day went. I write down in my Five Minute Journal the “3 amazing things that happened today” and “what could I have done better.”
These simple rhythms are something I developed over years and years of overwhelm. The more things I had to do to get the day started, the more burdened I felt in the morning. When the day begins this way, I tend to continue down the spiral of feeling like a victim. And with three small kids, I just couldn’t joyfully function by “letting things unfold.” I took ownership and responsibility for how I wanted to feel and aligned my intentions with my actions.
I hope this article inspires you to believe that you indeed have all the power to control how you want to feel when you start your day.