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11 Things to Do Tonight to Set You Up for Success Tomorrow

Things you can do each night to set your next day up for success! SO simple and helpful!

Last night, I shared a post with 15 Things You Can Do Each Morning to Set Your Day Up for Success. I thought it’d be fun to follow that post up with 11 things you can do tonight to set you up for success tomorrow:

1. Make a List for Tomorrow

Take a few moments before bed to look at the calendar for tomorrow and map out a simple plan and to-do list. This will help you wake up with ambition, intention, and motivation.

2. Cross Three Things Off Your List

After you make a to-do list, take a minute and challenge yourself to immediately cross three things off of it. By doing this, you’ll carefully consider everything on your list and weed out those things that aren’t really a priority.

3. Do a Quick Tidy & Pick Up

Take 5 to 15 minutes before bed to quickly pick up and put away things that are out of place in the main living areas of your home.

4. Shine Your Kitchen Sink

I love FlyLady’s advice to go to bed with a shiny sink. It’s such a wonderful thing to be greeted with a clean kitchen in the morning.

5. Take Your Vitamins

I’ve become a big fan of taking my vitamins before bed. When I make it part of my evening routine, I seem much more apt to remember to take them regularly — and I feel better the next day, too!

6. Get the Coffee Pot Ready

I don’t use a coffee pot (I love my French Press!), but for those who do, this can be a wonderful thing to wake up to!

7. Lay Out Your Clothes

Save yourself some time and effort in the morning by picking out your outfit for tomorrow. And don’t forget to dress for the day you want to have!

8. Start Winding Down Early

If you plan to go to bed at 10 p.m., don’t wait until 9:45 p.m. to start thinking about bedtime. Turn off the TV, turn the lights down, and start prepping for your bedtime at least 30 minutes to an hour before it’s supposed to happen.

9. Think of Three Highlights From Your Day

I don’t know about you, but I have a terrible tendency to spend time in the evening feeling badly about things that happened (or didn’t happen) during the day. I can’t change the past, though, so this helps nothing.

If you need to ask forgiveness or work through something, do it, and then make yourself focus on the positive aspects of the day — the blessings, the surprises, the highlights, the good things.

10. Fill Your Soul & Mind With Something Encouraging

Turn on some relaxing music or read a good book before bed. Choose things that will calm and soothe your soul, not make you feel antsy or anxious.

11. Go to Bed Early

And finally, just go to bed. As early as you possibly can. Take it from me: unless you’re staying up with a sick child or for some other very important reason, it’s usually pointless to burn the midnight oil.

Do yourself a favor and get to bed early if at all possible. That’s one of the best ways to set yourself up for a successful morning.

What are your best nighttime tips and tricks for setting yourself up for success the next day?


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  • Load the washing machine and program it to start 2 hours before you get up! Have another load near the washer ready to go in when you get up after you put the first load in the dryer.

    • Crystal says:

      Ah, a programmable washing machine sounds so nice — I didn’t even know they made them!

      {And now I’m thinking I need to go check my instruction manual for my washing machine and see if maybe mine has some time delay feature on it that I didn’t even realize it had!}

      • Ellen says:

        Just run a load as you go to bed! Ready to transfer to the dryer in the morning.

      • I can only delay it in whole hours. You can also, as Ellen suggested, do a load before going to bed, but I only recommend doing that in colder months. I have done that as well; I just turn it on before I go to bed and then put it in the dryer in the morning. Or, I treat the clothes for stains and put them in the washer, and then turn it on first thing in the morning.

  • Lorie says:

    I’ve started keeping my laundry caught up every day in addition to the clean kitchen and picking up the main living areas. Before bed every night, I start the washing machine with everything from that day that needs washing. I also start the dishwasher before bed. I put dishes away and fold/put away clothes first thing in the morning. It’s been great and such a stress reliever! No huge laundry piles!

    • Crystal says:

      Such great advice and suggestions!

    • Shauna says:

      I also start a load of laundry at night. If I wait until morning I never seem to get around to it.

    • My husband and a child put away the clean dishes in the morning (we run our dishwasher every night as well) and the children fold and hang up 3-4 loads of laundry every day before breakfast. I make breakfast, sometimes start lunch or dinner as well (cook a pot of beans or start some soup), and get another load of laundry in the wash after the children sort their clothes (every morning; I have baskets in my closet for each load).

      • Em says:

        I am not trying to be rude but I have been curious as to how you have three or four loads of laundry per day? I know you have more family members than I do, but I have five in the house and have 3-4 loads per WEEK.

        • You’re not the first person to ask!

          I have an extra-large capacity front loader, so I can fit a lot of clothes in there. I wash very full loads.

          We use cloth napkins at all 3 meals, and cloth cleaning rags. I also have 2 children with cloth bibs, and after oatmeal, bibs can’t be reused without washing (I made extra-large bibs that cover the child’s whole body, which helps so much). These get washed every other day; the napkins in with the regular loads and the rags in with any extra towels. With 21 napkins a day and a good number of cleaning rags (for both spills and cleaning) they make a significant difference in the laundry. Rags get washed 2-3 times a week along with waterproof crib sheets and towels that are used on top of the sheet for my child who wets the bed (every night). I also wash bread cloths (for covering my rising bread), cheesecloth (for making straining yogurt), and mop covers (we have a wood floor and there are cloth covers that go on the mop) in this load (washed on super-hot with bleach).

          Then we have darks, lights, whites (cold water wash whites, including blouses, church shirts for the 3 males in the family, tights, etc.), and warm whites (underwear, undershirts, socks, white towels, kitchen towels, cloth diapers used as a barrier for changing the baby on my bed; I don’t have a changing table). I only throw towels in there once a week but that load gets washed a couple of times a week. Darks and lights are usually full every single day, and my husband and I will wear pants (or skirts–me not him–several days before washing). Warm whites are full every other day; less in the summer when everyone goes barefoot.

          I also have a light delicate and dark delicate load, for things like fancier church dresses, nlyons, handkerchiefs, linen skirts, blouses, and jumpers (it is so hot here in the summer that a linen/cotton skirt is the most comfortable thing to me). Those get washed about every 10 days.

          The children’s towels will fill one load; those get washed all together about every 7-9 days. They each have their own towel with their name embroidered on a piece of twill tape (this cut down my towel washing and I know who is responsible for the towel on the floor!)

          Then there are the sheets for 8 beds, which get washed a lot less than they should–about every 2 weeks. All of the sheets in the house are white, so if I need to wash my son’s a bit more often (I usually do his once a week) I can throw them in with the cold white load. Those are usually 2 loads once they are all in there.

          Items that get washed on occasion: blankets, bed pillows (usually once a month; I can fit 2 pillows in a load), bath rugs for one bathroom.

          I also have toddlers and small who like to change clothes often 🙂 I try to limit this, but it still happens, especially if there is a diaper leak, a spill and an upset child, etc. The baby usually does fine, but then there are days when she will have to be changed several times despite my best efforts.

          I have pop-up laundry hampers that stand (they are mesh and have handles); they each hold a load. I have 6 in my bedroom closet (lights, darks, whites, warm whites, light and dark delicates). The children sort from laundry bakets in their own room into those, so when they’re full, I can just pull them to the washer. My husband and I sort our own clothes and the baby’s clothes right into these.

          I have two buckets on top of my washer; one for napkins and bibs and the other for cleaning rags/towels.

          So, yes, I really wash a lot of laundry every week! I hang the adult shirts and my skirts, my oldest hangs the other clothes (dresses and shirts for the children) and the children fold the rest (my husband usually helps them fold a bit as well) and are responsible for putting it away each morning. 2-year-olds can fold kitchen washcloths and cloth napkins, so even my little ones help (in fact one of my children at 2 insisted on doing all of the washcloths and rags by herself each time!) It doesn’t take a real long time for folding when everyone works together (about 15 minutes a day).

  • Mary Ellen says:

    In regards to #9, research also suggests to not only list 3 blessings, but also why they happened. After 21 days, most people report a higher sense of well-being. This is an exercise that originates for Dr. Martin Seligman – a founder of positive psychology.

    Thinking about why these things happened focuses your mind on the blessings and maybe to help you replicate the “why” another day. It is really important lesson that stems from a larger phenomena sometimes entitled “pink elephants”. If I told you to not think about pink elephants, then pink elephants are all you think about. Focusing on the positive instead of the negative/worries, focusing on healthy food instead of obsessing about what you are cutting out of your diet leads to greater success.

  • Shauna says:

    Thank you for this post. I have actually been sitting here feeling discouraged that the last two weeks have been busy and really interrupted our routine and I just feel two steps behind all of the time. This post has given me motivation that tomorrow is a new day and I can start tonight to make it a good one.

  • Dianna says:

    Setting out a recipe and the things to make breakfast really helps me. Not refrigerated ingredients, obviously. I sometimes have a hard time figuring out what to make, and my brain works better before bed than after it.

  • Elizabeth says:

    What a great post! I LOVE to make a to-do list before I go to bed. It helps me feel so much calmer when I go to bed. I’ll have to try crossing 3 things off now!

    Just a tip about #5 – I also feel better when I take vitamins and supplements, but I don’t take mine before bed anymore. Some supplements are “uppers” that give you immediate energy. Unfortunately, that might prevent you from going to sleep quickly and easily. The two that come to my mind are vitamin B (I think any of the B vitamins fall into the category, but I always avoid B complex before bed) and also the probiotic acidophilus can affect some people in this way. So, I avoid those pills at bedtime and instead take them in the morning or if I need a boost during the afternoon lag.

    • Joy says:

      I was going to comment along the same line! Some vitamins can keep you awake, which can be good if you take them as soon as you get up! Put a glass of water and your supplements next to your bed to start your morning routine. It keeps me accountable to my schedule for breakfast, because if I wait too long after taking them on an empty stomach I’ll start to feel nautious. Also, I’ve found some supplements can give me heartburn/indigestion taking them right before bed. You have to find out what works for you and with your supplements.

      I loved the tip about crossing three things off of your list straight-a-way! It really is important to keep ourselves focused on our priorities for that day.

      Thanks for the inspiration, Crystal!

  • Julia says:

    Brilliant post, lovely site! Way to go!

  • Victoria says:

    I love a lot of this list and practice it already. I put out the comfy clothes I am going to slip on for the morning until workout time and place them just outside my bedroom door so as to not to wake my night owl hubby when I get up. Most nights I try my hardest to turn off all screens 1 hr before I go up to bed and either read or listen to a podcast (right now I am listening to Micheal Hyatt’s This is your life series) while doing some knitting. I keep a gratitude journal by my bedside and each night write three things in it that I am thankful for that happened that day, and then I also have a devotional book I read. If I am still awake after reading that I read a magazine for a few minutes as I find if I start a book in bed I will stay up for hours! but I can easily put down a magazine after an article or two.

  • Dee Wolters says:

    I take vitamins plus any once daily meds at night time. I started this when I was pregnant and so sick that I could not take my prenatal vits in the am, or I would throw up after taking them. Anyway, even with babies and little ones I would forget to take meds in the AM. But I do always do my evening routine- brush teeth, take off make up, etc, and added vitamins to the routine and it works great.

    I get the coffee maker ready to go then the first one up just has to push the button. It is programable, but our power goes off so often that we stopped setting the clock.

  • Sandra says:

    I turn the TV/radio off at least 1 hour before I go to bed. Then, I take a product called Night Time which not only helps me to sleep really well, but if I wake in the night to use the bathroom, it helps me to drift right back to sleep. I get a fabulous nights sleep each night! I make my list of things-to-do for the following day, walk around the house and straighten it out (love waking up to an orderly home). I will read for about 1/2 hour before I turn in for the night.

    Just thought I’d share. I used to take my vitamins at night until my doctor pointed out it would be better for me to take them first thing in the morning for vitamins are best absorbed with food. I pay a good price for quality vitamins and I want to get the maximum benefit for my money so, I switched to taking them with my breakfast. I believe consistancy is key and so often times women tend to be so involved with taking care of their family that vitamins are one of those things forgotten.

    Have a great day everyone!

  • Sarah says:

    Making a to do list the night before is absolutely key for me. If I wake up with no direction, that’s how my day tends to go. I also start a load of laundry, start the dishwasher and wash the hand wash dishes before bed so they are ready to be put away in the morning. I have to start the day with a clean kitchen or it just really brings me down.

    The one thing on this list that I really want to start doing is thinking about the highlights of the day. I spend too much time thinking about tomorrow at night instead of appreciating what happened that day. Great idea.

  • Jess says:

    I totally agree on the vitamins. We take ours with dinner (some are better absorbed with food) and we have our vitamins sitting on the table so we don’t forget. I’ve tried to do it in the morning and there is just too much other stuff to remember.

  • Melissa says:

    #6, get your coffee pot ready is one that I practice regularly. It really does help me get my day off to a good start. I also like to run the dishwasher before bed if it is full enough to run. Our electric company charges less for usage between 9pm and 9am so I find this is a great incentive to get the dishes done instead of making excuses.
    Another thing I do before bed that helps set my morning up for success is to identify what I will be packing for lunch the next day. It’s good to have that direction in the morning when it’s time to do the packing!

    • Shannon says:

      How did you find out that info. about the electric co. charging less between certain hours? I’m wondering if mine does too and if that is just a known fact.

      • Amy says:

        Some people say this is a common practice, but I can’t answer to that.

        I can say that where we used to live, the electric company gave us the information. Maybe you could contact yours?

        • Shannon says:

          Thank you. I will. I have never heard of this before and if this is the case, I could consider doing certain chores that require more electricity during these times. This is why I love readers comments!

      • Melissa says:

        Hi Shannon,

        Each of our electricity bills actually has it printed at the bottom what our peak and off- peak hours are (and it breaks out our peak time usage from our off-peak usage for the month). Oddly enough, our off-peak hours are different than those of a woman I work with who has the same electric company as I do and who only lives 10 miles from me. I’m not sure if this is something you have to have set up when you open the account or not. I didn’t set ours up, my husband did and he can’t seem to remember as it was a long time ago. It probably couldn’t hurt to call your electric company and ask about it.

        • Shannon says:

          Melissa, thank you so much for this valuable information. I will certainly be calling my electric company.

  • Jaime says:

    I would love to get myself to bed early on a more consistent basis. However, my husband tends to feel snubbed when I make that priority. Any suggestions on how I can make this work for us?

    • sarah says:

      My husband and I make our marriage a priority by going to bed at the same time every night. one way of making that happen early with my night owl husband is by giving him something to look forward to when he gets there.

    • Kate says:

      I struggle with this, the other way around! Can you set aside together time during another part of the day? Or sometimes when my husband goes to bed really early and I’m disappointed I’ll just lie in bed with him for a little bit then get up and do what I want to do.

  • Shannon says:

    My night time routine for while has been the same. At 9:30 p.m. I make my husbands lunch for work, get my clothes out and put them in the bathroom so I don’t wake him in the morning, place my vitamins in a container and put that in the kitchen next to the coffee pot, and make and set my coffee maker. I am fortunate that I have always fallen asleep easily but more recently I have wished the hubby didn’t need to watch t.v. to be able to fall asleep because then I cannot read in bed. Reading in the morning before he wakes up is a small sacrafice when he was raised to fall asleep to the t.v. so I’m not making that hard change on him.

  • oh I LOVE the tip to immediately try to cross 3 things off the list you just made…although it goes against the tip I blogged this week which is to avoid saying, ‘Just one more thing’ 😉

  • Jen says:

    I don’t do as many of the things as other people have commented on, but I started a routine that works for me a few months ago and I simply can’t go to bed now without doing it. =)

    I completely clean the kitchen, load the dishwasher, wipe down counters, etc. I also vacuum our living room, dining area and kitchen (tile floor). All books, magazines and toys get put away (by whomever left them out), shoes by the door get straightened, bags and backpacks get checked for the necessary items for the next day, laundry gets switched (at whichever stage it is at), teeth are brushed, clothes changed to PJ’s…..

    It’s not as much as some do, but it’s what I NEED to do before bed. If I have time, I might run the vacuum upstairs in the hall and bedrooms quickly while tooth brushing is happening in the bathroom. Feels good to wake up to freshly vacuumed carpeting. =)

  • Kalyn Brooke says:

    I like that… ” Dress for the day you want to have. ”

    I need to do that more – maybe I would be more motivated!

  • sarah says:

    “After you make a to-do list, take a minute and challenge yourself to immediately cross three things off of it.”

    Couldn’t figure out if you meant to do them or just cross them off! I kind of like the idea of actually doing three of the things immediately. I’m a procrastinator, so, I’m going to try it…even if that’s not what you meant!

  • Kate says:

    4, 9, and 10 are huge for me! When I wake up to a messy kitchen I am crrrrraaaanky. And then it never seems to be clean the rest of the day! I tend to lie in bed and beat myself up, too. It’s definitely a discipline issue to train myself to think differently. And the other night I watched SVU before bed and had nightmares all night! I like to peek in on my baby before bed, then I go to bed with a smile!

  • L. Olson says:

    You are so right about waking up to a sparkling sink! Each and every time I do this I am just amazed at how much happier I begin my day knowing there are no dishes to tackle right off the bat. I wish I would remember this more often! I went and did all the dishes right after reading that on the list 🙂

  • Kayla Lowery says:

    Love this! Just tweaked to fit my AdvoCare lifestyle instead of Coffee, I have my Spark flavor picked out and check to make sure water is stocked in the fridge each evening. Thanks for this post!

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