The Secret to a Productive Day

With all the talk about the importance of getting the day started on the right note, it’s no wonder that getting a good night’s sleep has become more important than ever. If you have ever tried to have a productive day after only 4 or 5 hours of sleep a night, you know what I am talking about.

If you are like most folks, you may feel as if there is not enough time to do all the things you want to do. Yes, most of a productive day is often work related but fun relaxing things are important too. So how do you have a productive day; do everything you want to do and get a good night sleep of 7 to 8 hours?

The answer appears to be a better bedtime routine. You might be asking how does having a bedtime routine have anything to do with a more productive next day?  Isn’t a good night’s sleep all you need to pave the way for a productive day?  What does a nightly routine of washing your face, brushing teeth or limiting caffeine after 6 p.m. have anything to do with the next day?

A lot!  Especially if we give ourselves a head start by doing a few things for tomorrow before we go to bed tonight. I’m talking about taking control of the 30 to 40 minutes before going to sleep.  The best part?  Most of these 5 things can be completed within 5 minutes.

  1. Write down your most important tasks for the next day:

Write down the three most important things you need to get done the next day and then literally put them to bed. Don’t think about them anymore once they have been listed on paper until the next day. If you wake up with a groggy mind you won’t need to think about what to get done. Simply check you list.

  1. Collect Your Thoughts:

Ever feel like there are too many random thoughts and unresolved issues flowing through your brain?  If you’re constantly trying to clear your mind before sleeping, consider writing these things down in a journal.  Journaling has been proven to have therapeutic effects.  The process of writing down thoughts frees your mind to think about other less-stressful things. Come tomorrow, you can use your brain to think about fresh ideas, and your journal to remember any leftover matters that were important. Whether you write it down in a journal or keep a detailed record, it’s all good.

  1. Pick out your clothes:

Also check out the weather forecast too. Anymore, it seems one day it’s 75 degrees and a few days later in below 40. By knowing tomorrow’s weather before bedtime, you can select your outfit and have it laid out right down to the type of shoes and jewelry. And if working out is the first thing you do each morning, then also have your workout clothes laid out because that way you are more likely to do it.

  1. Declutter your handbag or work satchel and put your phone away:

Most of us start off ever week by carrying a light handbag. By the end of the week, however, your bag is almost always overflowing with business cards and receipts, and you end up wasting time digging for more important items like car keys and wallet.

Start removing unwanted items from your handbag or briefcase each night That way, you don’t have to start your day searching through random things and layers of germs for the things you need.  Also, the light emitting from your phone can play tricks on your circadian rhythm, thus spoiling a good night’s sleep. But leaving your cell phone in another room before bedtime is not an option.  If you are like me, your phone is also your alarm clock.  So, lay it away face down, hide it behind something or put it on night mode.

  1. Relax, doing something just for you:

Finally, to jump start tomorrow, you should get plenty of rest tonight— even before you go to sleep. And there’s no better way to relax than by spending time on your favorite activity.

Whether that’s reading a book, my preference is one with real pages, taking a long bath or talking to a loved one on the phone, try to do it for 30 minutes before bedtime. By removing yourself from the hustle and bustle of the day and giving your mind the rest it deserves, you’re much more likely to get a better night’s sleep. If getting in your bed to read before going shut eye, make sure you are pulling back the sheets from a clean well-made bed that you can easily get into.  This helps to make sure your place of rest is peaceful and restorative.

It’s not too late to introduce new habits into your life. At the end of the day, an intentional evening ritual will help you take better control of your time and help you move closer to your long-term lifestyle goals.

Lisa Burbage

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