For most of us, our day begins when we wake up. According to our clocks and calendars, however, a new day begins at midnight. But when God created the world, He had something else in mind.
God actually created the new day to begin at evening—not at morning. Remember?
And there was evening and there was morning, one day. —Genesis 1:5
Odd, isn’t it, to begin the “day” with evening activities like family time, dinner, and—of all things—sleep? This mindset feels totally foreign to westerners, but many Jews still abide by it today.
Honestly, I have no idea why God did this. But I have discovered beginning the day in the evening has its productivity benefits.
And There Was Evening
From a practical perspective, I have found the most productive mornings and the best days begin the night before. In other words, prepare for tomorrow tonight.
Here are a few tips worth trying:
1. Go to bed on time. Turns out, your mother was right. Having a set bedtime and sticking with it goes a long way in solving the problem of getting up on time. Just like when you travel and you force your body to learn a new time zone, you can do the same in your own home.
2. Make the tough decisions ahead of time. Let’s be honest. We’d like to think (and say) we do our morning routines because we have discipline and we see the benefits outweighing the detriments of sloth. (But then the morning comes.) Don’t give yourself the angst of making the decision the next morning. Plan roadblocks to any impulse to exit your plan.
- Plan to trip over your exercise clothes. Set out your exercise clothes, your gym bag, or your car keys the night before (a trick I learned from Michael Hyatt). I set my razor and socks on my sink to remind me the decision is already made. However you do it, set up something to physically get in the way of any plan but your chosen discipline.
- Open your Bible to the place you’ll begin reading. Have your Bible and reading plan open and ready. You might even put a lamp on a timer to come on at a certain time.
3. Give yourself an incentive or reward to prime the pump. For me, it looks like this:
- Sipping coffee with Scripture—and the coffee is made and ready as I walk in the kitchen—with my Bible already open and my reading plan laid out.
- Listening to audio while I exercise—podcasts and audiobooks give me a treat I get nowhere else and help the time pass faster.
And There Was Morning
Even with all these plans and incentives in place for your best days, you will still have to protect your morning routine. Have you noticed how your “creativity” piques just about the time you begin to read your Bible? You think of something you can do “really quick”—and then you’ll sit to read and pray. When that urge hits, remember:
- All the times before when “quick” distractions derailed your best intentions.
- The benefits of discipline outweigh the promised satisfaction of the distraction.
The solution? Keep a “distraction list” handy so you can jot down your creative diversions—then forget them—and stay focused on the main thing.
I like thinking of the day beginning as the sun goes down. When the morning comes, you will find yourself more apt to follow through with a plan if you have one.
The best days begin the night before.
Tell me what you think: Do you prepare for the day the night before? To leave a comment, just click here.