I was recently asked what is the best morning ritual to save time for busy singles and parents. How to get dressed and out the door without misplacing and redoing things. And for those with children: How to get your kids from forgetting 2,591 things back in their bedrooms. How to NOT have a
last-minute scramble for sports equipment or library books.
My answer: The best way that busy people can save time in the morning is not wait until morning to prepare.
1) Replace the “morning ritual” with the “bedtime ritual”
a) select your clothes the night before
b) setup your accessories, makeup, etc the evening before
c) review your day-planner the night before, and pack everything you need the night before
d) even visualize and play-out all your important meetings, projects, and discussions the night before
2) Visualize your day in advance allows you to create any supporting documents and anticipate questions your cohorts or managers might have.
a) Playing out those scenes in your head the day before, allows you the opportunity to gather any supporting documents, memos or presentation materials.
b) It also allows you to review the agenda for the next day’s meetings, to make sure you’re on top of things.
When you do this as a bedtime ritual, you have a more relaxed sleep, because your feel prepared. You subconscious is also armed with all the information to continue to pre-pave for your successful day.
Parents: Parent’s role is to encourage and assist their children to be independent and to think/do for themselves. One way to assist, is to get the child accustomed to a similar evening ritual to prepare for the next day.
1) Play the “Tomorrow Game” — with your children. When your family is exchanging the day’s activities — get them used to visualizing how their next day will be like. Have them step through each segment of their day. Ask them — “What do you think your first period will be like tomorrow?” — “Do you think you will have fun doing that?” “What do you think you will need to have more fun with that?” “Oh — yes — let’s put those things in the car now.” and step them through their entire day. You will find out more about your child’s activities as well as understand what is needed. You will also be encouraging THEM to independently review what they need for tomorrow.
2) Make sure you take the time to actually step them through each segment (this is called segment intending) of their day. Avoid asking — “What will you be doing tomorrow” — that may be too big and overwhelming for them. When approached with a general question like that, they may not recall that they will be in the library for study hall at 5th period (which will not trigger the need to return the library book). Guide and allow them to focus on just one piece at a time or one period at a time. When they get to their 5th period in the library– it will be easier for them to recall — “OH — I need to return that library book”. Or it will help you to ask “Oh — you will be in the library? Is there anything you need to return or checkout? What’s your reading list look like for this week?”
3) Guide your children to focus more on FUTURE then on the past. It’s certainly fine to ask “how was your day”. But it’s really more important (and something we don’t take advantage of) to ask “How do you want tomorrow to go?” Assist your children to be future focused. We can’t do anything about the past, but we can use “now” to positively prepave tomorrow. Get them aligned with that practiced thought or habit. Get them to imagine how they really want tomorrow to go. Once they have imagined what they really want to happen, the more likely it will go that way.
Let me know if any of these ideas hit a cord with you and your’s.