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Are you tired of spending your mornings in a rush or having nothing to do for the day? Contrary to popular belief, there’s so much you can do within 24 hours. You could learn new hobbies, increase your finances, and change your lifestyle for the better. Yet you might also be complaining that there’s not enough time or opportunity to do so.
Here’s a secret about that: you might be acting this way because you haven’t planned ahead. It’s not often that you have an itinerary for each day of your life. There are days when you have a lot of tasks or chores, which leaves less time for yourself. There are also days when you have so much free time that it’s almost impossible to decide. So, how do you fix this?
Before you understand how to plan ahead, you need to know why. Knowing the benefits of planning your day the night before can help you make it a part of your life. Here are five key benefits to making a daily plan before sleep or rest.
Firstly, you might have a hard time sleeping because you don’t know how tomorrow will go. You can imagine all the scenarios in your head, but none of them could come true. Worse yet, you probably don’t even know how long a specific task or chore might take. What feels like a five-minute assignment could turn into a two-hour slog. All these thoughts could make you anxious, confused, and unable to sleep.
If you plan your day the night before, you learn to release all your thoughts. By setting specific times or blocks for each task, you build a schedule that feels simple and easy to follow. More importantly, you become more assured because you now know what tomorrow will look like. It eases your mind and it helps you prepare the next day. Speaking of which…
How you choose to wake up and act can greatly affect the rest of your day. If you woke up on the wrong side of the bed or roll off by accident, you might feel tired and unhappy. Similarly, if you wake up with no idea of what to do, you’ll likely spend your morning confused and concerned.
Should you plan your day the night before, you help set a mood of productivity. Thanks to your schedule, you can now motivate yourself into getting the job done. There’s no room or time left for worrying or wondering. Instead, by taking action and doing something, you set the scene for how the rest of the day plays out.
For example, imagine you wake up at 6AM every morning. Many people might choose to go back to sleep or browse their phones. However, what if you got to your feet and made your bed? If you do this every morning, you set a routine and tidy up for yourself. It can make you feel confident, composed, and responsible. Not only do you clean up, but you also prove to your mind that you can do any task you need to.
Let’s say that you spend your mornings planning for the day. It’s possible if you can do it consistently and effectively. However, many people struggle to come up with an idea and feel pressured because they only have half a day, maybe a bit more, to do what they need to. It can make you nervous and unsure about getting started on a task, let alone finishing it.
By doing it the night before, you allow yourself more control and freedom over how you spend your hours. You can get your tasks done on time and find some extra hours to relax your brain. In short, if you plan ahead, you give yourself more time and, as a result, more power over your schedule.
Nothing is more frustrating than having a day with little to no focus. Imagine that you have 24 hours to do whatever you want. Ideally, you can do anything and everything that’s possible. However, without a clear path, you might find yourself doubting or second-guessing so many decisions. Give it enough time and you end up wasting so many minutes in coming up with a direction.
Now, imagine that you plan your day the night before. Once you wake up, you immediately know or understand what should be done first. Perhaps it’s cleaning the bed, cooking breakfast, or taking a good shower. Whatever you choose, a good plan helps you settle in and focus on a specific task or objective. Instead of feeling listless and lost, you give yourself a reason to get busy and work. Even if it’s as simple as cleaning the house, your mind becomes more dedicated and energized to fulfilling its goals.
Lastly, the best thing about planning ahead is that it teaches you to manage your time. The act itself helps you understand how many hours you have and how you can use them to their full potential. Instead of spending your noontime or evenings without a clue, you give them a purpose. Whether you study a new skill, write a story for your blog, or any other idea, you learn to understand how to use time effectively.
More importantly, it also teaches you how to view each situation realistically. Once you reflect on a task, you might notice that it’ll take longer than you initially thought. For example, cooking might seem like a short chore but it could up to an hour, even if done right. The sooner you learn to view tasks based on their timeline, the sooner you can work ahead and plan around it.
Now that you know why it’s good to plan beforehand, it’s time to understand how to do so. With the right technique and approach, you can turn a busy schedule into a linear course of action. Here are five steps you can take to plan your day the night before.
The first step to planning for your day is to know what you should be doing. A to-do list can help you reflect and see what tasks need attention and how soon they should be done. Whether simple chores or job interviews, it’s important that you plan what must be done and why.
To make it simpler, don’t try and write down general goals or big ideas. Things like “get a job” or “write a book” sound simple but they can happen in so many ways. Instead, go smaller and focus on achievable tasks. You can even make them sub-goals or checkpoints that take you to your ultimate plan.
For example, if you want to write a full-length novel, you can’t expect it to be done in a day. However, you can start by setting aside an hour or two for writing 1000 words. This task is simple to do, easy to plan for, and flexible enough to manage within a day. Other options for your to-do list include cooking meals and meditating. You can even use a to-do list to start a new habit. In fact…
According to James Clear, adults have an average of 25000 mornings to enjoy in their entire life. Sure, it sounds like a big number, but you’d be surprised how many mornings you can let slip through your fingers. You might take a nap or laze around in bed, but you risk losing a morning full of opportunities.
To break this habit, Clear recommends setting a “pre-game routine”, a daily wake-up regime that you can do at any time and place. For example, he pours a glass of cold water to wake up and start the day. You could try other types of rituals, from stretching to meditation.
If you want to plan your day the night before, you have to consider what times should be work and what times should be personal. A big problem that adults face is the lack of proper work-life boundaries. Some face burnout or fatigue because they spend too many hours at the office instead of resting or sleeping.
To make it easier, stick to a specific time for focusing on work and for leaving it. For example, you could set your mental focus on work from 8 AM to 6 PM. During this time, avoid going on social media or resting with video games or movies. This is when you should be productive in your career. Conversely, once it hits 6 PM, do not try to bring or spend any more time on your work portfolio unless necessary. This way, you can give yourself enough time to rest and recover.
In addition, you should also consider how much time each task or goal should take. Going to get groceries and cleaning your room might take longer than you expect. Be as realistic as possible and consider a time limit for each task. For example, if you give yourself twenty minutes to nap, then do not try to sleep a second further. Otherwise, you slowly teach yourself to ignore your time and priorities.
If you plan your day the night before, you need to keep to that itinerary. However, you might occasionally forget what specific task should be done at a certain hour. It’s normal to forget at times, but you shouldn’t make it an excuse to ignore your plans. Instead, take the initiative by your list as visible as possible. It’s easy to lose track of time, but once you notice your schedule, you’ll be more perceptive of the minutes and seconds you have.
One way you can carry your list around is by writing down a physical copy or printing it, then taking a picture on your phone. This way, you have a piece of paper that outlines your day and a digital copy to help you see it wherever you may be. You can also try apps like Google Calendar to set reminders and goals for each task and assignment.
Lastly, you can plan your day the night before but you shouldn’t stay awake for too long. The best way to prepare your mind and body for tomorrow is to get enough rest. So, if you have a plan in hand, make sure you set it aside and go to sleep soon after. Don’t waste more than an hour after planning to recharge.
To make it easier, always choose a specific time for your lights off period. For example, if you plan to rest by 10 PM, turn off your phone or put it in another room at 9 o’clock. Shut off your lights and unplug the TV before you do so. Otherwise, the blue light from these screens will keep your mind awake and alert. Once you start making this a habit, you’ll find it easier to plan for tomorrow and sleep on time.
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