ll archives: How to Set Yourself Up for a Successful Day


It's all about starting the night before. Ever had one of those mornings where you turn off your alarm, swear you are just going to lay there for a minute, and then doze off again? The next thing you know, you’re leaping out of bed and running off to work unshowered, trying to rock the messy bun trend with no breakfast in your stomach. Oh, and that phone with the alarm that failed you? You left it behind on your bedside table.

Of course.

We’ve all been there and starting off your day like this just guarantees feeling groggy, dirty, and unhappy all day.

My trick? Plan your day the night before. It requires a little motivation, but the benefits are worth it.

Here’s are a few things you can take care of before your head hits the pillow:


Don’t just plan it out in your head. Lay everything on a chair or hang it on a separate hook in your closet—do whatever you need to do so you’re not hunting for pieces in the morning. Make sure this include shoes, underwear, tights, jewelry, etc. This ensures that you are perfectly polished the next day with no thought required before your morning coffee. (And who can really think before their morning coffee?)


If you make your coffee at home, set the machine to brew the night before (Bonus: you’ll wake up to the rich smell of your Colombian roast!). Lay out everything you’ll need for your breakfast, too. For me, this means a packet of oatmeal, a bowl, spoon, honey, fruit, and the measuring cup that I use for the water with my oatmeal. It doesn’t sound like a game changer, but I find it so much easier to head straight to the counter with everything laid out in the morning, then to go one place for a bowl, another for a spoon, and then hunting for oatmeal and toppings in my pantry.

I’m also more inclined to save a few dollars by packing my lunch if I can do the majority of it the night before. I make a sandwich, cut up fruit, bag up cookies, and fill my water bottle. I group everything together on one shelf of my fridge so that all I have to do in the morning is transfer it to my lunch bag. Money saved and healthier food eaten! Win win.


Pull out receipts, papers, and the umbrella that you won’t need tomorrow—as well as the five lip products and hair ties that have somehow accumulated in your bag. Tuck your keys—or a transit pass if you use one—into a side pocket for easy access and leave your bag by the door so all you have to do is toss your phone in on the way out. (And if you use a separate alarm clock, leave your phone in your bag, too).


Politicians and CEOs are frequently given briefing books for topics they need to know about. You may not have those resources, but it pays to be up to speed on the news. My favorite resource is The Skimm which pulls from multiple news sources, but every newspaper and news site has their own version. Pick your favorite, sign up for it, and read it while you are eating breakfast. It never hurts to be prepared in case you get stuck in an elevator with your boss and need something to talk about or need to look “in the know” if she mentions something.


I set my alarm for the time I need to get up and then another alarm for ten minutes prior to that. It makes me feel like I can lay in bed for a few minutes, but still be on time.

Don’t let your day start off on the wrong foot. A little prep time the evening before can go a long way!

Originally posted on: Career Contessa Copy: Jennifer Joseph