This is a hectic time of year…especially if you’re a teacher like me, or you have kids in school…you know it’s crazy: there are exams, and grades, and planning vacation, and what to wear tomorrow, and soccer practice, and dance recitals, and crazy. crazy. crazy.
This is (and Thanksgiving/Christmas) the time of year a lot of people begin to burn out if they haven’t already. But stay strong mighty life-warrior! Don’t give up! If you’re feeling burned out, just change some of your daily habits to help things flow a little smoother. There is an old saying that the success of a day begins the night before…so start with what you do at night to help your day kick off a little better, and hopefully keep the productivity ball rolling.
1.Prep your breakfast and/or lunches the night before.
- If you take your work to lunch like I do to save money, go ahead and putit in your to-go container at night. Prep everything so all you have to do is open the fridge, grab, & go. It may not seem like a big deal, but having to stop, pull out food, prep everything, close it up, put the food back in the fridge, then go…can really be a stumbling block in the morning. It will trip your brain up and you’ll be a lot more likely to forget something you need to do, walk out of the house, and remember it 10 minutes from home.
2. Set out what you’re going to wear the night before.
- This doesn’t have to be laid out all nice and pretty. It could be set aside in your closet, or folded neatly in the bathroom waiting for you after your shower…but wherever it is, have it prepped the night before. You won’t even have to think about it in the morning. Use that valuable shower time to relax, to wake-up, or think ahead on the other things you need to do in the day rather than trying to try on clothes in your mind.
3. Set out things you’ll need to take with you in an obvious and regular location.
- First of all, pick 1 spot you put your stuff everyday. Be intentional and logical about it. Don’t put your stuff in a place at the opposite side of your house, put it where you’ll see it on the way out the door or somewhere with easy access. Again, this is a lot like the clothes. If you think it through and set it out the night before, it’ll save you valuable brain time in the morning…and again…you’ll be a lot less likely to forget something you REALLY need in the morning. **This is also a perfect place to put aside any mail you need to put in the mailbox in the morning. Having it there will remind you to do it and make it easier to do as you pull out of the driveway.
4. Set your coffee pot to go off before your alarm.
- Obviously, this one is for my fellow coffee-addicts and morning-haters out there. This is also a great reason to get a programmable coffee pot. It might sound a little silly…why would you have the coffee pot get going BEFORE your alarm goes off? Well…really…no one wants burnt or bitter coffee. If you know you set that thing to go off 15 minutes before your alarm you’ll be a lot less likely to hit the snooze button, or at least you’ll hit it fewer times. And if anything, once you get up, you’ll have coffee right there, ready and waiting for you and you may end up waking up a bit faster.
5. & 6. Turn off your electronics and pick up an ACTUAL book at least 1 hour before you go to bed.
- Turn off the TV, get off Facebook, stop reading this blog. And no, no kindles or nooks or iPads allowed. The lights from the screen can strain your eyes and also keep your brain stimulated. Just turn it off and pick up a real book. The later you use electronics the harder it can be for your brain to slow down and get itself ready for bed. Just grab a good book, snuggle up in your bed with a soft lamplight and read. The monotonous movement of your eyes back-and-forth, the low light, will set the tone and make your eyes tired. Check out some of these blogs for some great reading material ideas: (The Most Memorable Books Every Person Should Read- Part 1 &Part 2).
7. Go to bed EARLY!
- Yes, your mother was right when she gave the great advice of going to bed early. Seriously, you have a lot to do tomorrow, you’ll be busy, and feeling exhausted because you stayed up to watch that Justin Timberlake music video for the 17th time will only drag you down. Plan ahead, figure out what time you need to get up, and count backwards by 7-9 hours. You should know yourself. Some people operate better on 7 hours, some on 9 or more hours. Plan accordingly and get the sleep you need so your little grey cells can fire at top speeds the next day.
If you complain about being exhausted all the time, or never having enough time in the day, or not getting enough stuff done…yes, it might be that you have too much on your plate…but check yourself. It might also be that you’re the one causing yourself to be unproductive by lack of planning and implementation. Don’t be that guy…or girl.