We’re all secretly envious of that one co-worker who consistently comes to work at 8:00 a.m. bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready to take on the day. Their energy is authentic, and their actions are undoubtedly the result of intentional living and the establishment of a solid routine.
Routines enable us to put our best foot forward, and encourage us to be more intentional with how we spend our time each day. Initially, I focused a lot of energy on creating a solid morning routine. Most of the time, I woke up each morning at the crack of dawn, took a brisk walk around the neighborhood, brewed a cup of tea/coffee, read a devotional, got dressed, ate two eggs with some fruit and was out the door. Most of the time. Truth be told, there were quite a few mornings where my routine just didn’t work. And here’s why…
Over time I realized how much my evening routine (or lack thereof) effected my morning routine. Some nights I would deliberately leave a few dishes in the sink, or the living room in a whirlwind of blankets and work materials, in order to get to bed on time. It was these once seemingly inconsequential actions that I would have to deal with first thing in the morning. Cleaning dishes, tidying up my living room, and sorting through then packing up all of my work documents would throw off my coveted morning routine, and leave me rushing out the door in a mood. Our evening routines directly effect our morning routines, and focusing on developing a solid evening routine can set you up for morning routine success.
There is no perfect evening routine, but here are a few activities which you should consider integrating into yours.
// Wash the Dishes // Dinner is put away and dishes are in the sink. No matter how tired you may be, washing the dishes at night will only create more room for you to get ready in the morning. Whether you choose to hand wash your dishes, or load them in the dishwasher – going to bed knowing the dishes are done really takes a load off. Plus, no one wants the looming thoughts of rodents and insects feasting on your leftovers while you sleep upstairs. Am I right?!
// Wind Down // For some, this can mean reading, exercising, doing devotionals or journaling. For others, this can mean sitting on your couch binge watching The Mindy Project on Hulu and cruising Pinterest (cough cough). In essence, winding down means choosing an activity that you enjoy which does not produce stress or anxiety.
// Have a Sip // Warm decaf tea or coffee, water or a glass of wine. Whichever you prefer, choose a beverage that is free of caffeine at least 4 hours prior to going to sleep. It is amazing just how much caffeine can disrupt the natural cadence of a sleep cycle, and you want every minute of sleep that your body needs to make it through tomorrow.
// Pack Your Bags // Load up your laptop, planner, pens, headphones and any other work related materials into your briefcase and set it beside the front door for grab and go access.
// Wash up // Washing up is the only way to remove the dirt and grime from the day, and start with a clean slate in the morning. Removing makeup with makeup removal pads (Neutrogena is my favorite), using a face scrub (I recommend St. Ives), taking a warm shower, and brushing your teeth and hair (preferably with different brushes) are just a few things to do before you crawl into bed for the night.
// Pick out Your Clothes // The time you take to pick out your work clothes at night could save you 15 minutes or more in the morning. The trick is not only picking out your outfit, but sticking to it when the morning comes. I remember reading somewhere that the most productive VP’s and Executives tend to wear the same exact clothes everyday – white shirts and black dress pants. They keep it simple which saves them valuable time. And time is money.
// Dim the Lights // Just before you crawl into bed, dim the lights by turning on your bedside lamp and turning off your main overhead lights. The dim lights tend to have a calming effect, and will help usher you into a deep slumber.
// Say I Love You // Express your love and gratitude to someone who is important to you. Be it your spouse/significant other, mother, father, siblings or friends. It can be a text message, or a phone call – but this simple act should leave you in a good mood and create good energy for the rest of the evening.
// Set Your Alarm // Try to set your alarm for just a bit earlier than you would normally wake up. Let’s say you need to get up by 7:00 a.m. to make it to work by 8:00 a.m., you should try to set your alarm for 6:45 a.m. Having a little bit of a buffer is helpful, and should give you a bit more time to actually wake up after you get moving.
// Make Some Plans // The Bible says, the heart of a mans plans His way but the Lord directs His steps (Proverbs 16:9). Each night, exercise your heart by casting short term and long term vision over your life. Whether reviewing your calendar and considering your tomorrow, or brainstorming some fun adventures - dream big, and trust God to direct your steps in the near future.
What’s your nighttime routine? What are some things you do in the evening that sets you up for morning success? Leave a comment and share it with us!
I spent 7 years of my life pursing higher education - earning my undergraduate degree in Business Management, and my Masters in Business Administration from Southeastern University (SEU). My first job out of college fell right into my lap (almost literally). I was spontaneously contacted by an old roommate (and friend) whose mother was looking for an Administrative Assistant. After some prayer and research on the company, I accepted the position with open arms and a resolute spirit. I was determined to make the position a starting point and use it to launch my career. I was determined to climb the corporate ladder and use the new position as an Administrative Assistant as a stepping stone.
After ten months in the Administrative Assistant role, I was promoted to a Sr. Account Management Analyst. This role came with a very sizable salary increase of $20,000.
How did a 25 year old recent graduate manage to earn a $20,000 salary increase within 10 months you ask? Well, I have included a list of 7 disciplines that made a $20,000 difference. These disciplines earned me a great reputation, and multiple opportunities very early on in my corporate career. These are all disciplines that I practiced while in my Administrative Assistant role, and continue to practice to this day.
1. Beat The Day
I firmly believe that the early bird get's the worm. I was taught by a friend and mentor the invaluable importance of waking up early and "beating the day." While in the admin role, I woke up at 5:30 a.m. every morning, and would be in the office by 6:30 a.m. The first thing I would do upon arriving was check and respond to emails. I did this for a number of reasons. Primarily, I wanted everyone to know that I was extremely disciplined and took my job very seriously. I also enjoyed the peaceful solitude that getting to work early provided. I was able to prep the office appropriately by stocking the coffee station, refilling the printers with paper, cleaning up the conference rooms etc. before anyone ever arrived. More on that in a few!
Navigating the corporate world can be tough, especially when you are young and just starting out (like myself). There are many lessons to be learned. And no matter how many books you buy, or articles you read, some of these lessons you can only learn by doing. Nevertheless, I feel compelled to share my experiences as a young professional in the hopes that one day my experiences can prove useful to someone in a similar situation.
I want to preface this post with one hard truth. Life is not fair. This is something that I am reminded of time and time again. Just because you share your food with someone, doesn't mean they will share with you. Just because you lend someone money, doesn't mean they will pay you back. This same principle applies in the workplace as well. Just because you are doing the same exact work as someone else, and may even have the same credentials, doesn't mean your boss will pay you both the same salary. There are many people that feel as if they are overworked and underpaid, but I wonder how many of those individuals have ever ask to be paid more?
For all you young professionals out there - remember that:
In order to reach your goals, you will first need to make them, and then bust your butt in order to achieve them. This means asking the hard questions, knowing what you want and clearly articulating the reasoning behind it.
When the day comes for you to negotiate your salary or ask for a raise, remember these key points:
1. Know Your "Why"
This is perhaps the most important of them all. You should know exactly why you are asking for a raise in the first place. What prompted the thought? Did you take on more responsibility? Have you figured out others in your same position are making far more than yourself? Do you find yourself spending far too much in gas and travel expenses? Are you starting a family? Whatever it may be, your ability to articulate why you are looking for a raise, can directly affect if you receive one.
2. Do Your Homework
Research comparable positions and salaries within your company. Then, research salary ranges in comparable positions within your region at various companies. Be realistic in determining a salary range. I did google searches for my job title and included the keyword "salary" in the search box. A number of sites came up that assisted in finding the average salary for that position.
I love to travel. Exploring old places with a new and fresh perspective is more than exhilarating, it's life changing!
I remember my trip to Italy like it was yesterday. I miss the cobblestone streets, the sea filled air, and coffee chats with my bestie. We found a great deal on Groupon, which included round trip airfare, car rental, hotel stays and quite a few complimentary breakfasts for one low price. Gotta love Groupon!
After landing in Rome, we hopped into our little Fiat rental, and headed for the Amalfi Coast. It was an amazing journey, and here are some tips that I learned along the way:
1. Save $$$ and learn to drive a manual car.
In Europe, stick shifts are the most common cars on the road. Our Groupon deal included a manual automobile, which posed some initial difficulty. We did have an option for selecting an automatic car rental; however, that change would have cost us an additional $1,000 USD. Not happening. So, I learned how to drive a manual instead (easier said than done.)
2. If you travel in March, bring an umbrella...and a jacket.
My friend and I chose to visit Italy just before tourist season. We wanted to get to know the beautiful country void of its large number of seasonal tourists. While there were virtually no tourists in Sorrento during that time, there was a lot of rain. In fact, it rained everyday. Neither of us were prepared for the rain, and the chilly temperatures that followed in the evenings also took us a bit by surprise.
3. Plan your schedule around the locals' - riposo
The riposo is the Italian version of "siesta." Each day, anywhere from 1:00 - 5:00 p.m., local businesses close down for a midday break. If you are the kind of traveler that loves a packed schedule, keep the riposo in mind and plan your meals and activities accordingly.
4. Bus tickets - buy them early.
When visiting Italy, I recommend buying bus or ferry tickets early. None of the buses or ferries have assigned seating. If there are multiple people in your party, purchasing tickets and boarding early can give you a better chance of staying in a group. It can also give you a better view!
5. Ferry tickets - buy them one way at a time.
This advice may seem as a contridiction to #4, but hear me out! Buying round trip ferry tickets is more expensive than purchasing one way tickets at each port. For example, buying a round trip ticket in Sorrento costs more than buying a one way ticket in Sorrento and then a one-way ticket in Capri. Secondly, you do not know how much time you will want to explore the island. Trips between ports are pretty well staggered (keep in mind tip #3) so you shouldn't have a problem finding an adequate return time.
So there you have it, 5 useful tips for visiting the Amalfi Coast. All based on my personal experiences. If you have any more useful tips, definitely mention them in the comments below!
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