The Key to Starting Your Day Right

In the last post I came to the realization that I really needed to structure my time while unemployed to still spend each day productively. There are many factors to consider when coming up with a schedule or some kind of daily or weekly routine. But in this post I just want to mention the first step of my schedule, which by the way, is still in super beta mode.

I’ve been listening to different podcasts and reading articles for ideas and inspiration, and after my mini research my takeaway on scheduling and productivity is this:

YOUR DAY STARTS THE NIGHT BEFORE.

So I could technically write about a plethora of “tips” and things I’ve learned or experienced, but sometimes I think it’s better to keep things simple so everything actually sinks in and sticks.

It’s a really awesome feeling to be able to wake up early and start the day feeling productive and accomplished, because that sets the tone for the rest of the day. And this is so true. I rarely regret choosing getting up early over snoozing my alarm over and over again. But I’m still working on the consistency of my better choice, which will probably require finding something to really look forward to in the morning that will motivate me to get up, like coffee. But it has to be good coffee.

But tonight the only thing I’ll emphasize is that the key to a successfully structured and productive day is how you spend your time the night before. This means…

  1. Set an early bedtime – My new assigned bedtime for myself is 10:30pm, which means 8 hours of sleep if I wake up at 6:30am. There really isn’t anything that can replace a good night’s rest. Catching up on sleep with long midday naps does not give us the same quality of rest that we get at night.
  2. Have a simple wind down routine – I emphasize “simple” because I know how lazy I can be when it comes to taking care of my hygiene when I’m exhausted and just want to sleep… but ending my day in a sloppy/lazy way (i.e. not washing my face, or not brushing my teeth.. I know, gross) never helps me wake up with a good mindset in the morning. But recently I’ve noticed that the nights that I do my full getting-ready-for-bed routine always lead to more refreshing mornings. It’s hard to explain how that works, but all I can say is that that has been my experience. Oh, and my evening routine or ritual is basically washing my face, putting on night cream, brushing teeth, flossing teeth, contacts, and retainers.
  3. Prep for next day – This refers to choosing your outfit, getting your purse/bag/backpack ready, packing your lunch, and anything else that would make your life easier in the morning. For now I will say this is “optional.” I know that there are people out there online who talk about how important it is to prepare your outfit and everything else for the next day, but I personally don’t always find that to be so practical in the evenings.. maybe because I have the tendency to change my mind last minute about what I wear. It also makes my evening routine feel overwhelming when I’m just tired and want to sleep already. That’s just me and my opinion, or maybe it’s my depression that makes me “lazy” and I have a lot of beef with the depression/laziness correlation which I will not get into now.

But anyway, like I said I’m still in beta mode with this whole scheduling my life thing.

Finally I am personally giving myself “no screen” time an hour before my bedtime, starting 9:30pm, because these bright electronic screens are good at decreasing our sleep quality. It’s also just nice to rest the mind and get into a more relaxed mode.

I am definitely still figuring things out and am open to suggestions/advice/tips, and I will probably document this trial and error period to help work through all of this.

In the meantime, I have a job interview tomorrow (yay) for a job I’m not too sure about but you just never know until you go see the office for yourself.

Author: Amy

Amy Lo is a millennial whose life today looks very different from what it looked like a year ago. A year ago she was living by herself in an isolated studio where she often spent many days depressed and bedridden, unable to get up to go to work, because of her soon-to-be broken-off wedding engagement. A year later she finds herself happier than she ever was in her life, and does things she never thought she could do, like waking up early and going to the gym multiple times a week! Because of her personal experience, Amy hopes to inspire and encourage other young adults who may be in a seemingly perpetual funk, by sharing things she's found helpful in positively redirecting the trajectory of her life. She believes it's never too late to turn your life around, and there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how dark it may be at the moment.

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