If you read my blog you probably already know that I am a type A person who is working very, very hard to be less stringent with my type A-ness. I recently started listing to this podcast, Sparktending-that talks about ways to honor your personal creativity and goals. One of the episodes was about writing down your ideal-day, space, what have you, and then working backward from that, filling in the compromises we all have to make throughout the day. The idea is that in that middle space we will find a happier place then if we start from a kind of worst case scenario version of our day and work up. Starting with the ideal helps us to see what we are really shooting for and in turn, get closer to that goal.
Working off of that exercise, I wrote down my ideal way to wake up and start my day. What would the house be like? What would I do first? What would help me start the day of on on my best foot? And so on. Fom there I thought, what can I do at night to make some of these things, if not all of them, possible?
So here’s my list of 5 things I do before bed that help me start the day off on the right foot.
- Assure the kitchen is clean before I go to bed. For me this means making sure the dishes are done and the counters and stove are wiped off and the floor is swept. We are not white gloving it over here, I just need a clean and neat space to walk into in the AM. With two boys, I spend a majority of my time during the day in the kitchen. Starting withe a clean slate is a great way to make the day run more smoothly.
- Do at least one thing at night that I have been thinking about doing all day. Most days I get insanely good ideas at super convenient times like when both kids need something and there is no way in hell I could ever even think about said idea for more than 10 seconds. If you are a parent you know this state of affairs is basically all day, errr day. So I usually, if I can manage it, write a quick note down to revisit these ideas at night. Some nights I’m so wiped out I just look at that list, chuckle, pour a glass of wine and retire to my couch blanket nest and read a book or watch some netflix. While I still do this a few days out of the week, I find that if I set aside even 1 hour to address even one of the things I wrote down during the day, I feel better the next day. Even if it’s only for an hour, I can have the satisfaction that the genius idea I had at noon was tended to for at least an hour that night. And this also gives me the inspiration to keep jotting those notes down, knowing I will eventually give them a bit of real attention. It’s a way to tell myself, “yes, I have value. My ideas have value.”
- Review my day. Whilst in my couch/ blanket/wine nest I always have my planner next to me. Yes, I have a planner addiction. Anywho, while I’m hanging out I will review my planner from the current day. I look at what I did (yay me) what I didn’t do (there are always a few things in this list friends). From the what I didn’t do list, I either migrate the task to another day in the future, or decide that I don’t need to do that anymore. I jot down a few things from the day that went well and a few things that may not have.
- Plan for tomorrow. After I review the current day, I plan for the next. I migrate any tasks from yesterday that I am keeping, review my weekly and monthly calendars for any events or appointments that are time sensitive and fill those in. Then I make a menu for the day (if I don’t do this i just stare like a catatonic into the fridge about 1,000 times a day with two small children crying out of starvation because they haven’t eaten in the last 10 MINUTES.) I write down my top 3 things that must get done. Then I leave the rest blank for the morning. In the AM i fill in those things that I thought of just before I fell asleep or that jarred me awake in the middle of the night (I’ve got another notebook for those on my nightstand).
- Pack my bag. This is not a “mommy is running away in the night” bag, this is a kids diaper/stuff bag. This may not sound like much, but it’s a must over here. Most days I head out with he boys at least once, for an outing, errand, meet up, what have you. Having the bag packed with clothes, snacks, water, money, etc. is crucial to the leaving of the house to actually happen.
Bonus: Asses the sleep situation. I’ll admit, I am a night owl. Night time is mommy time- whether that means finishing up client work from the day, or question-free time spent in the aforementioned couch blanket nest. I like my night time. But, because the boys usually wake up around 7 am here, I have learned to love mornings as well. Out of this contrast, my somewhere in the middle plan emerged. After I put the boys to bed, I asses the next day. Is it a particularly busy day? Are the kids going through something and are a little more difficult right now? Go to bed early (aka 10 pm). Is it a relatively slow day the next day and the kids are (as of now) pretty even keeled? go ahead and stay up a little later you party animal (aka 12 am).
What nighttime routines do you do to make your mornings and days go a little smoother? What does your ideal morning look like? Stay tuned for more talk about planning and life balance for solopreneur and entrepreneur moms.