Self-care, Self-Management

8 Things You Must Do the Night Before to Reduce Decision Fatigue and Overwhelm in the Morning

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As I’ve come to experience time and time again, a good day starts the evening before.

No matter how perfect your morning routine is, if you have a terrible evening routine, it will affect your mood and the quality of your next day.

Also, a “good” day is one where you give yourself the means to work and make advancements on what matters to you the most.

Generally, this implies making good use of your brain’s capacity in the morning, so that you can be 100% focused on what matters: your morning routine and your most important task of the day.

Consequently, you don’t want to spend the two most productive hours of your day doing:

  1. Tasks that don’t require high cognitive capacity
  2. Things that are frustrating or annoying
  3. Things that could have made your day better IF they had been done the day before (in preparation for the day).
things you must do the night before

So, here are 8 things you must do the night before to reduce friction, time wasters, decision fatigue, and procrastination during your day.

Make Your Lunch

Make sure to prepare AND pack your lunch the night before so that when the morning comes, you only have to grab it and go.

If you work from home, use your evenings to decide what you will eat during the day for each meal.

meal prep

After four years of trying and testing different routines, let me tell you, there is a definite difference between days when I do this and days when I don’t.

Not only does it save me time and mental energy, but:

  • That’s one less opportunity for me to get frustrated early in the day, trying to do it all when I’m already late or have “more important/urgent” things to do.
  • I get to focus more quickly on important tasks in the morning when my brain is most efficient (aka tasks that advance my personal goals).
  • That’s one less source of stress in the morning.

Wash Your Dishes

You know that feeling when you wake up in the morning, go to make yourself coffee or tea, and you can’t find a single clean mug, cup, or even mason jar for your precious potion?

Well, that’s a bad way to start your day, and if you think it doesn’t impact you throughout the day, you are so wrong!

How you start your day sets the tone for the rest of it, and, you’ll have guessed it, a cluttered kitchen sets a negative tone for your day.

And, since nourishing yourself in the morning is important, make sure nothing stands in the way of you doing just that, and do your dishes at the very least.

Plan Your Frog

“Eat the frog” is a concept popularized by author Brian Tracy.

This approach consists of identifying your biggest priorities and tasks that weigh the most on your consciousness (your frogs) and doing them first thing in the morning when your brain is at its peak capacity.

Beyond eating your frog in the morning, I say you should decide the night before which frog you will eat so that you can hit the ground running in the morning.

This proactive approach has helped me start my days with a clear focus instead of spending my morning asking myself a million questions, trying to figure out what I’ll do or work on that day.

Pick Your Outfit of the Day

The key to a peaceful and productive day is to reduce unimportant decision-making in the morning, which can be time-consuming and stressful.

When you have work to do, goals to achieve, and your ideal life to create, you don’t want to spend your morning trying on different outfits, checking the weather, or looking for that cute skirt you can’t find anywhere.

(I swear, it was right there. I saw it!)

things you must do the night before

When you plan your outfits ahead (i.e., the day before and NOT in the morning when you have work to do), you can quickly move on to what matters while looking good doing it 😊.

Ever since I started picking my outfits the day or evening before, I look much more put-together and stylish! (well, “stylish” is subjective, but you get my point).

That’s because I have time to put more care, attention, and intention into my outfits.

And since I already did my most important tasks of the day (because I follow everything I talk about here), and I’ve eaten my frog, I now have the time and mental space to be more creative and just have fun with it in the afternoon/evening.

Check the Weather

Check the weather the evening before so that you can plan your commute, outfit, and any adjustments to your schedule ahead of time.

Why waste your morning getting frustrated with the weather and lose at least 15-30 minutes in last-minute scrambling?

The key to feeling less overwhelmed and stressed during the day is to prepare and relax.

productivity hack

Check and Reply to Your Emails (IF necessary)

Managing your emails the evening before can give you a sense of control and prevent early morning stress from an overflowing inbox.

I’m not one to advocate working in the evenings. HOWEVER, I do believe in setting fixed times for checking (and replying to) your emails. And if you get lots of emails during the day, why not do at least one last check in the evening (or late afternoon)?

This will allow you to enjoy a more peaceful start to your day, giving you peace of mind to focus on your morning routine (and frog) without distractions until your next “email checking” time slot later in the day.

Set Up Your Workspace

If you work from home, don’t forget to clean up your desk the night before so you can start your day without the distraction of clutter, or the excuse of “cleaning” your desk (aka, procrastinating).

things you must do the evening before - clean desk

Also, a clean and clutter-free environment can improve focus and productivity, so take advantage of that to do things more effectively and spend less time working.

Write a To-Do List

I always finish my day with a to-do list for the next one. I take it as an opportunity to prioritize tasks and set clear goals.

Ever since I started doing this, I waste a lot less time in the morning figuring out what to do.

I don’t know about you, but I lose motivation so quickly when, in the morning, I start reviewing the million random things that I need to do. It’s stressful, overwhelming, and I end up procrastinating.

Now, I take two minutes in the evening to write down what I have to do the next day, as well as one or two things that would bring me happiness, like writing or taking a walk).

I just jot down a few points on a piece of paper and then rewrite that list in order of priority and urgency on a clean post-it or notepad.

I also always highlight my ONE THING, that one task that I will do regardless if I ditch everything else on that list (because I’m too tired, for example).

Some of these productivity hacks may seem surprising, but they work!

So, if you’ve been neglecting your evening routine, I highly suggest starting with at least one or two points form this list and taking it from there.

After all, the key to building a new habit is to start small, but stay consistent!

Read next: The Best Morning Routine for the Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)

productive morning tips

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About Steph

I am a personal growth/self-management enthusiast. I was able to completely transform my life using everything I share here. I hope this blog helps you transform yours as well.
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