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Hi, my name is Brittany and I am not a morning person. In fact, I’ve never been a morning person. But in 2014 I read a book that turned that all around on me and convinced me to start waking up early. Most of the writing I do on this blog is right after I wake up, pour myself a cup of coffee, spend time in my bible study and then sit quietly at my kitchen table while my brain slowly acclimates to the world and the idea that in an hour and a half or so, I’ll have to interact with human beings.
It is a productive time for me, and I can get way more writing done in the morning before being a lawyer all day exhausts my brain entirely. But I’m not naturally good at waking up early. So to compensate for that, I have some habits that I follow at night to make the mornings easier. Every so often I try to add a new goal to this method so that I can further improve my productivity, abilities and strengths in my personal and professional life. For example, you’ll remember from Monday’s post that my goal for November is to floss every day.
Here are my 5 tips for starting tomorrow off right, tonight.
1. Get Things Ready in Advance That Can Be Readied in Advance
Every single night before bed, I set up my coffee pot. I add the filter and grounds, I pour in the water, I replace the carafe, and I double check the timer to make sure I didn’t change it for some reason and then forget that I changed it. The coffee starts brewing about 5 minutes before I wake up every morning.
When I’m on track to have a productive week, I do the same thing with my lunches, but in a batch on Sundays. For example, I’ll go grocery shopping on Sunday before or in between football games. I’ll make sure to get lunch meat, bread, lettuce, salad toppings and chips or fruit. On Sunday evening, I’ll chop everything up and put it into containers. To keep things from getting soggy I always put a piece of paper towel in the container. For sandwiches that are meant for Wed-Fri I don’t put condiments on the bread. In my experience, Monday and Tuesday’s sandwiches are OK with mayo as long as they’re wrapped in a paper towel. This means that on Monday I can grab my lunch for the entire week and take it to work. Now I don’t have to spend any brainpower in the morning trying to remember to bring my lunch to work. As I’m sure you can imagine, it also saves me a pretty penny and it’s healthier.
The last thing I do is set out my clothes for the next day. I check my planner to see if I have any meetings, because this often dictates how dressed up I’ll get. On the days I’m running behind schedule it’s often because I’ve grabbed a skirt or dress in the morning, only to discover every pair of nylons has a run in them (or they’re missing entirely – where do they go?!). When I pick out outfits at night, my brain is more functional and I’m not in a rush. So when I discover there are no nylons I can either decide to leave early the next day and pick some up, or decide to wear pants instead. No stress, no rushing, no fashion disaster moments at work the next day.
2. Find Ambient Noise to Listen to Instead of a TV Show
I don’t keep a TV in my room. About 10 years ago I read a lot of convincing materials that you shouldn’t have a TV in your bedroom. There were some reasons for married couples that don’t apply to me. But there were also facts about how it makes things worse for people who have trouble sleeping.
Now, thanks to various streaming apps, I have the world of TV at my finger tips on my iPad. I used to watch documentaries and cooking shows. But now I try to stick to ambient music. I’ve found that rain-related ambient noise puts me right to sleep. Ones that feature the beach and a few select “nature sounds” also work, but not as quickly. By listening to ambient noise, my brain is truly able to relax and rest, rather than multi-task falling asleep while watching TV.
As you know, I firmly believe that goals that are not written down are not achieved.
Brushing our teeth gets a lot of attention. I brush mine at least twice a day, and I hope you do too! I also
almost always take my makeup off before bed. But you know what often feels like a huge time suck? Flossing.
I’ve tried to improve upon this habit by buying those flossing sticks instead of regular string floss, and sometimes they help. I’m also guilty of starting to floss two weeks before my dentist appointment in hopes that my dentist won’t be able to tell that I the last time I flossed was the two weeks before my last appointment. Spoiler alert: They always bust me.
Alright, now it’s confession time. Do you floss every day? Don’t worry, I won’t tell your dentist!
I have a lot of fillings, and try to take care of my teeth the way I should, but it seems like I’m in a constant battle against oral health. Luckily, I recently started using the new Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected Sonic Electric Toothbrush. You guys. This toothbrush is amazing.
Now before you look at the price tag and think “$200 for a toothbrush?!” let me remind you what’s more expensive than this toothbrush: fillings. And it’s a lot less painful, too. If you’re into sales and coupons (I assume you are, if you’re here), Target Online is offering $20 off until 11:59 PM on 11/05/2016.
I have been a Sonicare user for several years now. I am super impressed by the design of this toothbrush. Just look at it next to my now-retired Sonicare! It’s so sleek and takes up way less space. Plus, the app capabilities are amazing. It was a breeze to set up with the easy-to-follow directions that were included in the box. And if you’re a goal setter like I am, you know how satisfying it is to check off the boxes for accomplishing your goals. The Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum asks what your goals are, and then follows up with you every single time you brush. Now, on those nights I feel like flossing will take too much time, I remember that electronic checkmark, and I take the lid off of my floss container.
The toothbrush does more than just help you track your goals. It also helps guide you in brushing. We learned to brush our teeth when we were little kids. Recently, I told J that even though I have been brushing my teeth for 28 years, I feel like I must not know how to brush properly, or else I wouldn’t keep getting cavities! Then I learned about the Sonicare FlexCare Platinum.
I don’t know how it works, but somehow it knows what you’re doing, and it syncs up with your phone’s app via bluetooth! I can watch the app as I go and it shows me in live time how I’m doing on each portion of my mouth, if I’ve cleaned the front and the back well enough, times me for each area so I give each area the proper attention, and vibrates if I’m brushing too hard or too quickly. I can’t even tell you how many times it’s “yelled” at me for moving too quickly. I wonder if this is part of my problem? When you’re done brushing, it gives you the opportunity to touch up any missed spots. Then, it asks if you flossed and you check yes or no. It also follows up on if you used mouthwash and brushed your tongue. If you have flossing down, and mouthwash or tongue cleaning are your goals, you can set those to be the priority and will give feedback on those as well!
I used to brush my teeth while doing other tasks, but now I’m actually focusing on my teeth while I watch the app tell me what to do. I anticipate it will make a huge difference in my oral care just by better brushing alone.
Then, as if the app didn’t have enough features already, you can tell your app where your trouble areas are. I went to the dentist a couple of months ago and for the first time in many years I didn’t have any new cavities! yay! But there are two “watch areas” that he has marked for me. These are places where I don’t have a cavity, but something about it concerns him enough to think I could get a cavity. I can tell my app about these areas and it will guide me on how to extra-focus on those areas.
I’ll let you know what my dentist thinks in six months when he realizes I really HAVE been flossing this whole time!
4. Find a relaxing night-time task
I love reading before bed, but I’ve found that after about 1/3 into a good book, I can’t put it down! This means that reading before bed isn’t always a wise choice for me. So instead I do a crossword puzzle on an app in my phone. I don’t know what it is between the crossword and other games like Sudoku or puzzles, but I find myself closing my eyes much faster and before I know it, I’m asleep.
I assume it has something to do with the way that I think of the answers. I’m not staring at the screen trying to figure it out so I can give my eyes a break and close them while I try to imagine a word that fits. On a bonus note, it keeps me from scrolling through social media “one last time” before bed, too.
5. Set an intention for the next day
We talk a lot about waking up to new mercies every day, but for awhile this summer I had a lot of anxiety. I would fall asleep stressed and wake up feeling it. What helped a lot was going to bed telling myself (and eventually believing) that I would wake up in peace. Every night before you fall asleep, set your intention that tomorrow will be a good day, tonight will be a good night’s sleep, and waking up early to get things done is going to be awesome. It might sound silly at first (it did to me), but it has worked in my life. It doesn’t hurt to try, right?
With these five tricks, I can start tomorrow off, right, while it’s still my prime time of day. I may not say many words to other people, and I might be wrapped up in a blanket slowly sipping coffee, but I will also wake up with clean teeth and a clean slate to start the day!
If you’d like to learn more about the Sonicare FlexCare Platinum, check out more information here! If you’d like to follow Sonicare for details on all of its awesome products you can here: twitter; instagram; facebook.