The moment someone finds out I’m a professional organizer, they look to me as if I have all of the answers. “You’ve got to help me!” they say. They feel lost in all of the clutter. They are tired of playing catch up all of the time. They seek more control over their lives. They want more good days, and less overwhelming ones. And they want me to fix it for them.
The truth is…getting a grip on daily life is much easier than they might think. There are actually five little things you can do that will make a BIG difference when it comes to having a good day…and they are actually things you can do before the day ever even begins. A great day starts by getting things in order the night before. In other words, it starts with a night routine.
Does a routine really help?
Routines give us the power and ability to do those things that we have to do, but just don’t want to, as I wrote about in “30 Minutes to a Happier, Healthier You” in a guest post at Smittenby.net. I’m talking about those things that, when done daily, make your life a whole lot easier. A routine allows those important tasks to automatically fall into a regular time slot each day. A routine makes the decision for you. You do what you need to because it is part of a habit.
I’m not kidding, my friends. Routines are the best-kept secret when it comes to getting organized. They do all of the hard work for you! So here are five simple suggestions for a night routine that will plant the seeds for a great day to come.
Do the Dishes
At the very least, clear the counters and start the dishwasher. If you can, completely empty out the kitchen sink. Marla Cilley from Sink Reflections seconds this notion. “Keep it empty and shining,” is her motto. Doing yesterday’s dishes robs you of what you want to be doing today. Commit to the standard of a shining, empty kitchen sink every night before you go to bed.
Pick up the Family Room
A fresh start is one of the building blocks of a great day. Tie up the day’s loose ends by clearing the cutter in your main living space every night. This doesn’t have to fall entirely on your shoulders, nor does it have to be drudgery. Make it into a game if you have little kids, or create an incentive for older kids to be responsible for cleaning up their own things by a certain time of night. You might need to be creative in how you execute this one, but the payoff is worth it.
Check the Calendar
I’m pretty sure that all of us have missed something important because we didn’t plan ahead the night before. Checking your calendar every night before bed is the best way to be where you’re supposed to be, when you’re supposed to be there – especially if it’s first thing in the morning. It never fails to amaze me how critical this step is. Even me, the “professional organizer,” gets in a pickle when she doesn’t consult her calendar the night before. The greatest benefit in this step is helping you to know if you need to do anything out of the ordinary – such as get up earlier or make an important phone call first thing.
Brush Your Teeth
I sound like your mother, don’t I? You ought to know that with this tip, I am less interested in your dental hygiene and more interested in the message you send to yourself when you take a few minutes to brush your teeth, take off your makeup, and wash your face. You are worth this time and attention! No one else will do this for you. Implement this healthy habit as part of your nighttime routine. Your teeth, skin, and self will thank you for it!
Close the Day
This is the crowning moment of the night routine. After the day is done and the house is quiet, give conscious thought to the good things that happened during the day. Certainly everyone has their own spiritual practices, and so you’ll need to do what feels best for you. It might be prayer, visualization, meditation, or writing in a gratitude journal. However you choose to do it, be kind to yourself by focusing on the positive in your life. Think about what you’d like your life to be – both in the long and the short term. Visualize yourself doing something that makes you happy the next day. Mentally list five different things you are grateful for, and really allow yourself to feel the joy that these things bring you. Such practices are the best investment you can make for a great day to come. And if you want to get scientific, research shows that your subconscious mind marinates all night long in the thoughts you have right before you fall asleep. When you think positive, happy thoughts, it goes a long way to creating a good mood when you wake up the next day.
Once you have experienced the power of a night routine, you won’t want to stop there. Be sure to check out the companion to Night Routines – “30 Minutes to a Happier, More Productive You.” Want to be happier and more productive? Then you’ll want to take a look at my suggestions for a morning routine here.
Any way you look at it, routines are the best-kept secret when it comes to getting things done, feeling better about yourself, and planting the seeds that will yield a good day to come. If you are already a believer in the power of a routine, please comment below. I want to hear about it! I would love to know what you include in your morning or night routine, or how you have used routines in other areas of your life. And if you notice that a night routine really does make a difference the next day, be sure to comment below or share here in the testimonial section. Happy Gal followers need to hear your voice!