Remember the agony of picking out the perfect outfit for the first day of school? Okay, you might not…

If you wore a uniform, or didn’t care about what you wore, maybe getting dressed for the first day of a new school year was just like getting dressed any other day. But if you got to choose your own clothes and you wanted to dress to impress, well, the night before the first day was a big deal.

School Mornings: Your First Lesson in Time Management

Does this sound familiar? You might:

  • Examine all your options
  • Try a few things on
  • Ask friends or family members to weigh in

Maybe you’d run through the next day’s schedule in your head when debating your options: Would you have to change for gym? Would it be hot or cold? You’d lay out everything, including shoes and accessories, and go to bed feeling – well, if not thrilled about going back to school, at least confident that you would look good.

Or did the opposite happen? You didn’t think ahead, woke up panicked,   and you scrambled out the door dreading the day with fingers crossed that you had the things you needed…

Parents of school-age kids know all about the night-before-the-first-day preparations and the difference it can make. If your kids recently went back to school, I’m betting that you were scrambling on that last night. You might have filled lunchboxes or organized lunch money. There were backpacks to check, forms to sign, pickup logistics to clarify, outfits to approve, kids to reassure.

Even if you’re a two-parent household, there’s so much for everyone to do.

Those night-before preparations can be draining, especially at the end of a long and busy day. So why bother? You could get up early the next day and tackle everything then…. but there’s already so much on your plate for tomorrow. Getting the kids up, fed and out the door on time is a big enough challenge to give yourself before 8 a.m. So you look ahead to what you’ll need to do tomorrow, and find ways to set yourself up for success. Time management at work!

Meanwhile, the students all around us are learning about the benefits of planning ahead. Middle schoolers who don’t finish their math homework at night learn that doing algebra on the bus is even harder than doing it at home. High schoolers who are responsible for their own lunches end up scrounging from friends because they failed to make lunch ahead of time. Ideally, they’ll learn from these lessons and develop new time management skills because of them.

In terms of your professional life, how do you get yourself ready for the next day?

Maybe you prepare your breakfast and lunch ahead of time, and iron your clothes at night. But what about planning ahead around the work itself? At the end of each workday, do you take some time to set yourself up for success the next day, so you can hit the ground running each morning?

What that next-day prep looks like will really vary from person to person. For you, it could be taking five minutes each afternoon to look at the next day’s schedule and jot down a list of the first five things you’ll do when you sit down at your desk. Someone else might set himself up for success by clearing his entire workspace at the end of the day, or by writing emails and saving them as drafts so they’re ready to go in the morning.

Part of developing a time management system that helps you get more productive is finding small, easy ways to make big changes.

If you’re feeling like you’d like some clear actions to take to create that easy flow in your day and know that things are handled, join me for my Free Masterclass called: Back to School Without Freaking Out: Simple Tools for Peaceful Productivity –  Click here for more details. It’s on September 26th, I can’t wait to see you there!



Sarah Reiff-Hekking