A More Organized Tomorrow Starts with One Question Today

published Jan 14, 2019
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(Image credit: Dustin Walker for Hutch)

Kendra of The Lazy Genius is an expert on getting dinner on the table every night—and all the preparation that goal involves. One practice that she’s advocated repeatedly is asking yourself this simple but game-changing question: What can I do now to make dinner easier later?

Once I heard it, that question lingered on my mind. Not only did I begin to apply it to dinner time as Kendra intended (revolutionary), but I also began to consider how to ask this question about other sticking points in the day—the frazzled parts that make me feel behind, frustrated, or rushed.

The question:

“What can I do now to make [that time of day] easier?”

Asking, “What can I do now to make [that time of day] easier?” allows me to focus on these points of the day before the chaos of the moment and think about what it is that makes those times hectic. Then I can iron out those little wrinkles and everything goes so much more smoothly.

Here are some examples:

1. The morning mad dash

Oh man, the stomach-churning morning scramble. Not the egg one. The one that makes you swear you’ll stick Tile trackers on every. single. darn. thing. It’s the frantic search for shoes, keys, sunglasses, the extra charger you might need since you’ll be out all day, the kids’ missing mittens.

When I focused on the morning rush as a majorly frustrating part of my day, I asked myself, what can I do now—the night before—to make tomorrow morning easier? I decided to pack everyone’s bags right then and there, and the next morning went (mostly) like clockwork.

Your morning could have other sticking points that would benefit from some “doing now.” If you struggle with what to wear, pick clothes out the night before. And when it comes to breakfast, if it’s hard to cook before the coffee kicks in, consider making freezer breakfast burritos.

(Image credit: Craig Kellmann)

2. Making dinner

The point of day that inspired this helpful question in the first place—getting dinner on the table at a decent time or at all—is a hiccup in many people’s evenings. Some things that you can do ahead of time—whether it’s a few hours or even a few days—include thawing meat, chopping vegetables, or even cooking portions of the meal, such as browning meat.

If meal prep is something you struggle with, you can sign up for Kitchn’s new meal prep newsletter to help you plan out the week ahead: Sign up here!

3. At-home work time (or workout time)

Anything that you’re supposed to or trying to do when you’re at home can become a frustration because there are so many other distracting things pulling for your attention—from the dog whining for a treat to the laundry that’s not going to fold itself. But there are things you must do and that weigh on you until you get to them, such as work and exercise, to name a couple.

The thing you can do ahead of time to make these types of times go more smoothly (or happen at all) is to set yourself up for success. If you know you tend to clear off your desk before you can actually sit down at the laptop and you spend valuable work time preparing to work, clear off your desk ahead of time. And if putting your exercise clothes on first thing in the day motivates you to move your body, do that.

What are your big sticking points? What will you do ahead of time to make those moments easier?