It looks as though I took National Simplify Your Life Week a little too seriously since I haven’t posted since Tuesday. Whoops! That makes today’s tip even more applicable: spend a few minutes of preparation to make your tomorrow easier.

Benjamin Franklin portrait“Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”

Now, let’s not get all crazy and overload today but won’t tomorrow be easier if some preparation occurred? Starting your day in a rush immediately increases stress levels. This stress will affect the rest of your day and can even give you a downright negative outlook. Here are a few simple ways to make your tomorrow easier:

1. Make lunch.

Whether it’s a sandwich or leftovers, it’s way easier to take 3 minutes to do it, especially while the kitchen may still be a bit of  mess from dinner. While you’re putting away that night’s dinner, portion out some in individual containers for lunches. If you’re afraid your sandwich will get soggy, put the mustard between the meat and cheese and pack the veggies in a separate baggie to add on at noon.

If you’re really feeling like going the extra mile, plan breakfast, as well. When we lived out of town in the suburbs, my husband regularly got up at ridiculous times to go to work. Once a week, I made kolaches which I could easily zap and wrap for him to eat en route. I also ground the coffee beans and set up the coffee maker. It made it super easy for him to have a good (not great) breakfast to start out his day, even at 4:30 A.M.

Preparation Hack - Valet Stand2. Lay out your clothes.

I hate when I wake up and have an idea of what I want to wear only to discover it’s dirty, at the cleaners, needs pressing or is missing a button. Consider selecting your clothes the night before. What do you have to lose? It’s not like you can’t change your mind in the morning but, if you oversleep or are having a bad hair day, you have one less thing to think about.

3. Put all work and school tPreparation Hack - Mud Roomhings together.

Load your work bag the night before. Put your car keys and wallet or purse with it. If you brown bag it, pack as much of your lunch as possible the night before. Get the kids’ homework and school needs packed into their backpacks. Shoot, think about tomorrow’s dinner and put anything that needs to be defrosted into the refrigerator. I’m a huge fan of a formal “Launch Pad” like a mud room but it doesn’t have to be that fancy. Something like the end of a table, your dresser or the front seat of your car will suffice.

4. Make a To Do List.

What do you HAVE to accomplish tomorrow? Write it down. You think you’ll remember it, don’t you? Stop. Write it down. I promise you’ll get a much better sleep with fewer of those anxiety dreams if you just take a minute to write down what you needs to get accomplished. I’m a huge fan of my bullet journal, which keeps all my To Do Lists in a single place. You can read more on this blog of mine.

What are some of your preparation hacks?