Monday, June 3, 2013

5 ways planning ahead makes success easier

5 ways planning ahead makes success easier


Have you ever gotten all ready the night before, so that all you had to do in the morning was get up and go? It makes the morning so much easier, since you're not wasting time or energy thinking about what needs to be done, or what clothes to wear, or where all the pieces of your project are. Instead, you do what needs to be done, and you do it well.

If you've done this before, try making it a habit. If you haven't; give some of these a try:

1.) Working out in the morning. Spend a few minutes the night before getting ready for your workout. Lay out your clothes, shoes, and any other gear you'll need. Juice, coffee, or a piece of peanut butter toast? Have it ready to go as well. Write down exactly what route you're going to run, or what workout you're going to do. Then, when your alarm goes off, just get up and do it. No thinking required. No time constraints. No excuses. By the time your mind wakes up, you'll be halfway through the hardest part of your day!

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2.) Preparing dinner. Knowing what you're going to have for dinner tomorrow can eliminate a lot of stress if you're trying to feed a number of people. Anything you can do to pre-prep the food helps even more. Some of the easiest evenings at our house are when we've prepared food for a slow-cooked meal the night before, then simply dumped everything into the crockpot in the morning and headed off to work. We come home that night to a fully cooked meal - no effort required!

3.) Making lunch. Packing lunch the night before practically guarantees victory, at least for me. Lunch is the meal where I'm most likely to make a spur of the moment bad decision and put down far too many calories, either because I decide to join others and go out to a restaurant (big portions), or because I'm in a hurry and hit the drive-through (bad food). Having my lunch pre-made and waiting for me eliminates both of these temptations.

4.) Getting dressed (or more specifically, picking out what you'll wear.) If you're new to preparing the night before, this is a great place to get started. For me, this isn't a big time saver - I grab a shirt and a pair of pants and I'm ready. But for my wife (or anyone who puts more thought into what they wear than I do), who can easily spend five minutes looking for what to wear, this helps make the rest of her morning a lot less stressful, as those extra five minutes come in handy when it's time to get out the door.

5.) Get your To Do list in order. This one is huge for me. Having a plan of attack when I wake up in the morning is usually the difference between a proactive, getting-things-done day, and a reactive, getting-sidetracked-by-email-and-other-webstuff day.

I've learned over the years that the more of these I do, the better my days go.

Does planning ahead take a little extra time and energy in the evening? Of course. However, it isn't any extra time and energy, because you'll have to do those things anyway tomorrow. In fact, I've found doing these things ahead of time takes less time and energy that it does the next day, since you don't have multiple distractions pulling you in different directions at the same time.

So give it a try. Plan ahead for tomorrow, and let me know how it goes. And if you have some good planning ahead tips, please share in the comments below..

-Chris Butterworth

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