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The One Thing I Do Every Night Before Bed

The One Thing I Do Every Night Before Bed

Every night before bed, there is one thing I almost always do. It’s simple and it only takes a few minutes, but it has revolutionized my productivity, helps me sleep better, and allows me to go to bed feeling peaceful and calm.

So what is this life changing thing I do? I check my Google calendar and write a to-do list for the next day. Ta-da! I know you are shocked at this amazing tip. {Insert sarcasm.}

It may seem boring or simplistic, but doing this consistently has completely changed my life.

How I Create a Time-Blocked To Do List

There are a few things I ask myself while putting together my schedule for the following day:

  • What appointments do I have?
  • What do I absolutely have to get done tomorrow?
  • What would I really like to get done?
  • Are there fun things that I should put on the schedule?
  • What does my soul need? {Down time, rest, laughter, time with friends, etc.}

Once I know what needs to be done the following day, I make time blocks and put each of the things on my list in one of the blocks of time.

I will block out the first hour of the day to include getting up and taking time to read my Bible, journaling, exercising. The next two hours are focused on getting ready for the day, getting in a little blogging, and scoping. The next hour on breakfast, Bible time, and reading aloud. The next hour on homeschooling… and so on.

Each hour or half hour, I block out for a specific project or to-do item — in order of significance and priority. Certain parts of every day are the same, but each day varies somewhat, depending upon the projects and activities scheduled for that day.

The One Thing I Do Every Night Before Bed

Why I Schedule My Day The Night Before

It Revolutionizes My Productivity — By having a Time Blocked To Do List, I’m able to focus on one project or to-do at a time, all while knowing that everything that needs to be done each day has been accounted for on my Time Blocks and that I can give full attention to the current project or to-do without stressing over what I still have to do!

It Helps Me Sleep Better — I’ve found that if I don’t schedule my day out the night before, then I will go to bed and stress about the following day. I’ll lie there and go over all of the things I need to do. If I allow myself to brain dump those plans and ideas before I get in bed, I’m able to rest better.

It Allows Me to Go to Bed Feeling Peaceful & Calm — The other big thing that I have found about scheduling the day ahead of time, is that it keeps me from feeling overwhelmed. When I see the day mapped out, then I don’t have to worry about whether or not I can do it all. I make sure that when I’m scheduling, that I give myself enough time to accomplish each task.

Don’t Forget to Give Yourself Breathing Room

When I’m putting together my time blocks, I look at all the things I need to do and then schedule myself some wiggle room. If I think a task will take me 15 minutes, then I try to go ahead and give myself 30 minutes to get it done — because it seems like things always take longer than I think they will!

It is such an important thing to give yourself extra time to do a task, especially if you deal with a lot of interruptions. Those interruptions will not stress you out as much, because you aren’t scheduling yourself too tightly.

By looking over my Google calendar and taking time map out the day, it gives me a peace of mind. It clears my head and helps me to sleep better. And when I sleep well at night, I wake up refreshed in the morning which allows me to be more energetic, more productive, and more joyful the next day.

I encourage you to sit down tonight and take time to schedule out your day. Just try it out for a week and see if it makes a difference for you.

What do you do every night to set yourself up for success? I’d love to hear!

P.S. Read more about how Google Calendar simplifies my life here.


Want some practical help with setting up your day for success? Be sure to grab a copy of my brand-new online course, Make Over Your Mornings.

This 14-day online course includes videos, a workbook, and step-by-step projects and is designed to help you revolutionize your productivity, streamline your routines, invest your time in things that truly matter, and find more joy and peace in the process.

If you’ve ever wished that you could figure out how to get more done, have more organization in your life, and find time to spend on things you love, the Make Over Your Mornings Course is for you. Find out more about it here.

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  • Amy says:

    This is wonderful, thanks for sharing!

  • Alicia says:

    I do the obvious, like try to have clothes picked out for all the kids and myself, and lunches made. But the ONE main thing that just makes my mornings SO much better? If I pre-make my coffee! I try to do that, because while doing the obvious things really helps streamline our mornings, having my coffee all ready to brew just makes me HAPPY! 🙂

    • Oh! I love the pre-making coffee suggestion!

    • Jennifer Tasker says:

      Alicia stole my answer! School just resumed for us last week (I live in Australia) so the weekend before school started I made little flip books for each of the kids with their morning routine and afternoon routine (and made one in my head for myself). It definitely all starts the night before, for all of us, with some of the following tasks:
      – set up coffee on timer so its ready when I get up!
      – clean up the kitchen, nothing better than coming downstairs to a clean kitchen
      – run dishwasher, so kids can unload before school
      – kid layout their clothes for next day – they go to private school so have 3 different uniforms
      – fill water bottles and pack away homework in backpacks, so there isn’t panic the next morning

      Things are running so smoothly this year, let’s hope it continues!

  • Kayla says:

    I like to out everyone’s clothes, make sure the diaper pack is packed for whatever we are doing the next day, make a to do list, and get my coffee in the pot! Haha

  • Sarah says:

    You are becoming my life coach through this blog. Your tips are so valuable to this mom of 4 little ones ages 7 and under! Thank you souch for these posts. I look forward to see if there is a new one each day.

  • I love these tips! I can’t tell you what a blessing you are being to so many people! You are giving so many valuable tips and ideas to people through Periscope, and your blog. Thank you for all your hard work! I’m going to start trying this. 🙂

  • NaDell says:

    I like to make a weekly (or longer) to-do list that keeps track of things I’d like to get done and then daily make a list that includes something on the other bigger list that is achievable. On my big list I have three main categories: PTA, Church, and Home. I can add things to each list that I don’t want to forget to take care of without having to stress about them, like the curtains that need to be washed, but not more than the closets that need to be sorted through to unload junk….

  • Lauren says:

    What a great idea!!! I homeschool too and often feel my days aren’t as productive as I would like :/. I am sure coming up with a plan the night before would help and I can see how it would improve rest.

    The one thing I do before bed that hands down makes the biggest difference in sleep for me is reading. My husband and I started this little ritual about a year ago. Studies have found reading for a minimum of five minutes before bed does indeed improve sleep–how quickly you fall asleep and quality. And so have we!

  • Victoria says:

    I think I have told you before, but writing a to do list is the one thing I cannot do before bed.

    It wakes me up as I write the list and then I start thinking off all the little things on the list I could knock out before bed.

    I had to give this practice up years ago and instead make my to do list first thing in the morning.

    I do however put my workout clothes out for the next day and if I am going somewhere right after my workout I will gather the things I will need and place those by the door.

    Then I switch to wind down mode and read a book, color then climb into bed for devotionals.

    I guess it really all boils down to personality types.

  • Kristina Holcomb says:

    I’ve been doing something similar to this for quite a while and it really does help me not only to stay on task and get things done every day but also to get to sleep every night because I’m not thinking about what things I need to get done the next day…. I am embarrassed to admit however, that I have not been able to sleep well the last two nights because I know my husband ordered the gift I wanted for our anniversary (coming up on Valentine’s Day) and I’ve actually been having all kinds of crazy dreams about all the stuff I’m going to be doing with it! So, that being said, I’ve overslept my 5 am wake time… But after Sunday when I finally have my present hopefully I’ll be sleeping again… 🙂

  • Amanda says:

    Love your question set that you ask when making your to do list!! Taking notes on that. 🙂

    I always make our lunches the night before, and lay out everything I need to grab for work by the door.

    I also menu plan for the week, so I make sure to have dinner in the fridge thawing.

    I pick my outfits out on Sundays for the whole week and group the hangers together, so in the morning I can choose one and get ready so much quicker! Rather than staring at my closet for 15 minutes 🙂

    I actually wrote a post on this on my new website (It is very much beginner)..

    Thank you Crystal! You are truly inspiring.

  • Kris T says:

    I would love to know more about how you fit getting up, devotions, journaling, exercising, and getting ready for the day all in the first hour! That would take me at least two hours! Do you have any tips or tricks you can share on that one? I need all the help I can get for mornings, no matter what time I go to bed! Thanks, Crystal!

    • The first hour is for getting up, devotions/reading, journaling, and exercising. The second hour is for getting ready for the day. The next hour is for blogging and scoping. It usually takes me around 1 hour and 45 minutes to do all of that. So if I get up at 5, I’m usually ready for the day by 7 a.m.

      {I realized that it was confusing in how I wrote it on the post so I changed it to clarify!}

      • Kris T says:

        That makes me feel a lot better, because if you were able to fit all of that in in one hour, you definitely have reached some sort of morning zen the rest of us are still striving for! You would definitely be the master, but now I know you’re normal like every other girl in this world, and I’m going to let my husband know that there is another woman who takes around two hours to get all of that stuff done too! God bless! Thank you, Lord – I am not alone!

  • Kelly says:

    Thanks you for all your wonderful posts! I have a question…do you still do this on the weekends too. I did you morning makeover last summer and loved it ever since. I struggle getting up early on the weekends…but when I don’t I feel like I wasted my morning. 🙁 do you get up early on the weekends and also make your schedule on weekends? I also tend to have a hard time giving myself grace and being ok with down time. Thanks!

  • Anonymous says:

    I have 4 kids ages 4, 3, 2 and 6 weeks and I’m a stay at home mom. I feel like my to-do list every day can’t consist of more than “take care of the kids without losing your temper or your sanity.” I have found that as soon as I start trying to get things done, things go haywire. Fights break out, the baby is screaming, someone else is throwing things and someone else is going through the cupboards.
    This is SO hard for me. I’m a task oriented person that likes to feel on top of it and I’m just so not right now. I felt depressed reading this (not your fault at all!!) because I felt like “what’s the point of planning out my day? There’s nothing I can do other than constantly watch the kids and the hours are so long.”
    Do you have any advice for me?

    • Sara says:

      Hi anonymous…
      I “hear” the fatigue and overwhelm in your msg. If you have 4 kids ages 4, 3, 2, and newborn remember to give yourself TONS of grace. The little years – toddlers and babies – are the hardest years physically and emotionally. Give yourself grace, grace, grace. . . Just getting through the day with everyone fed, clothed and loved is a great accomplishment! Seriously.
      And little by little as they grow up and can do more and more things for themselves, you will find more time to plan your days and get more done. This is a rough season – but it is a season and things will get easier little by little.
      One thing that has helped me is that even when kids are passed napping age, we still have an afternoon quiet time where they spend time in their beds with books. Then I take a 30 minute nap because it’s a REALLY long day otherwise. And then I take another 30 minutes to have a cup of tea and read something that has nothing to do with kids. Sometimes its a devotional and sometimes it’s just something fun. I have found that this hour mid afternoon to have a moment to myself to breathe, to not be needed, to physically rest and emotionally rest recharges me to make it through the rest of the day.
      Hang in there. Your kids are blessed to have you!

  • SaskiaLevina says:

    Thank you , please keep me in the loop, I need strategies please, single mom here. Really need strategies and plans!

  • Natalia says:

    Nice advice for stay at home mom, but what about single widowed mom working full time, who’s day starts at 5 am and doesn’t end until almost 10 pm I feel so overwhelmed… Any advice?

  • Gail Dudlicek says:

    I would love to see an example of how you time block. Is it the same every day? I want to get a paper planner so that I SEE what I need to do every day

    • Jordan says:

      For me personally my day has certain things that always occur, like my puppy waking me up at 5:30 in the morning! I tend to plan my days around the things that remain consistent. I get up deal with my pups and sign on to do my morning work tasks. Then I do household chores or errands that need to be run. I have volunteer commitments on Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays so those days my schedule changes to accommodate those events. All in all my daily routine is pretty much the same just adjusting for the different things I need to do that are specific to those days! I hope that gives you a little insight! -Jordan, MSM Team

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