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Try One of These Nighttime Routines for a Better Morning

Try One of These Nighttime Routines for a Better Morning
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Whether it is a new year or you just want to make a fresh start, improving your habits can start with your nighttime routine. Most people have a morning routine even if they don’t realize it. You may get up every morning and brush your teeth, drink a cup of coffee and grab a smoothie on your way out the door.

If this routine starts your morning on the right foot and brings you peace of mind, then slipping into a nighttime routine may be as easy. If you are living life sans any routines and feel overwhelmed, then the following nighttime routines may be just the change you should consider.

Tips for Improving Your Morning at Night

The following are 10 tips you can start this evening for a better night’s sleep and a smoother tomorrow. You don’t have to do them all — just pick one to start:

1. Spend a Few Minutes Preparing for Your Morning

The best time to prepare for a busy morning is the night before. Spend a few minutes gathering items you need for work, laying out an outfit with shoes and packing your lunch.

Having everything you need in the morning sitting near the door can relieve the early morning panic of not finding your keys.

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2. Make Your Bed Look Inviting

One of the reasons you may find it difficult to go to bed at a decent hour is because your bed does not appear inviting. Take the time to change the sheets on a regular basis and maybe add a few extra pillows to make it seem a little more luxurious.

Also, in the mornings before you get dressed, make your bed. You’ll be more excited to get into it and relax and night.

3. Review Your Top Priorities

Before winding down for the night, check your planner or calendar for your top three priorities for the next day and write them down. Reviewing them the night before reduces the risk of you forgetting something important.

It also helps keep your brain from operating in overdrive and becoming overwhelmed with a never-ending to-do list. You definitely don’t need that before bed.

4. Draw a Line between Work and Home

Making a smooth transition between your work life and your home life is easier than you may think. It could mean spending an hour at the gym working up a sweat after work before you head home in the evening. You could change from your work clothes as soon as you come home into more casual attire — or even your favorite pajamas. You can also try listening to an audiobook on your commute home or engaging in a favorite hobby before dinner.

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No matter what helps you disconnect from work, doing so will give you a break from the grind — and make your time, as well as that of those around you, more pleasant.

5. Relax With Your Family

As much as you may love your career and other responsibilities, making time to relax with your children and/or significant other before bedtime will create strong family bonds.

For example, Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, leaves her office at the same time every day to ensure she makes her children a priority in her day.

6. Make Your Bedroom Device-Free

In 2014, an estimated 75% of children and 89% of adults had at least one electronic device in their bedrooms. Yikes.

Electronic devices interfere with your production of melanin, your body’s natural chemical that regulates your circadian rhythm and tells you it’s time for sleep. If you’re up until the wee hours of the morning checking your social media on your smartphone, it’s going to be hard to face the morning.

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If possible, keep your phone on the charger in another room and remove devices like the television. This keeps your room solely for sleep and intimate activities.

7. Take a Bubble Bath

One way to relax after a long and stressful day is with a bath. You can add bubble bath mix or essential oils to the water for a scented soak.

Gwyneth Paltrow swears by her nightly bathing ritual of soaking in Epsom salts and rubbing essential oils on her pressure points to help her wind down after a hectic day.

8. Reflect on Your Day by Journaling

Benjamin Franklin used to ask himself, “What good did I do today?” This question was the Founding Father’s way of reflecting on his day and on what went well and what he could do better the next day.

Assessing your day can help you keep track of where you are with your goals, and it can help you develop a deeper understanding of your thoughts and emotions. You can also take it one step further and write down what you’re grateful for. Gratitude can improve your physical and mental health as well as self-esteem — and yes, it can even help you sleep better. Win.

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9. Slip Into Another World Through Books

If you are not quite ready to slip under the sheets, consider slipping into another world through books. Many successful people, like Bill Gates and Arianna Huffington, make it a point to unwind with a good read before they hit the hay.

Whether it’s a fiction novel, a steamy romance, the newspaper or even a non-fiction book about a particular topic, reading can help your mind disconnect from the day — meaning you’ll fall asleep easier and wake up more refreshed.

10. Keep a Consistent Bedtime

Pick a bedtime and stick to it. Once your body adjusts to the new time, you will find yourself ready for bed earlier and possibly falling asleep faster.

Ready to make your mornings better? Put these tips to use and get started — tonight.

Featured photo credit: Thought Catalog via stocksnap.io

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More by this author

Kayla Matthews

Productivity and self-improvement blogger

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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