3 Things to Bring to Bed Tonight

Since I have a day job as a novelist, I'm tempted to say:

  • Your favorite romance novel

  • Chocolate-covered strawberries

  • Champagne

Indulgence has it’s place, so you should absolutely do the above on occasion, but since I’m focused on removing mental clutter, let’s instead go with these three:

  1. A pen

  2. A notebook

  3. Mental clutter

That last one should be easy. I'll be you have an entire suitcase stuffed with metal clutter! You know what I mean when I say mental clutter, yes? The list of errands you need to run (post office, Target), items to buy when you’re there (stamps, toothpaste, a welcome mat for the front porch), and even a few to-dos that aren’t tangible (research clip art for blog, write the blog, meditate.)

By the time you go to bed at night it feels like a Tazmanian Devil is loose in your cranium. Sleep?! How could you possibly? You lay in bed, eyes closed, your mind ticking off things like Remember your gym clothes tomorrow, and take your phone charger with you when you go. Oh! There’s a birthday party for Marie—pick up a card on the way to the office.


Honey, I've so been there. Here's what you do:

Step 1:

Sit up, flip on the nightstand lamp and grab that notebook and pen. No, don’t grab your phone, make an honest-to-God list. One with checkboxes if you're the sort of person who prefers checkboxes. (me! 🙋🏼) Anyway, you don’t need any more screen time today!

Step 2:

Jot it all down in no particular order.

Once you get the biggies—the immediate “to dos”—out of the way, you’ll be surprised how much more stuff is in there.

Dust the guest bedroom, call the cable guy, add new neighbor to the Christmas card list…

And you might find even more hiding behind those...

Buy peanut butter, cancel subscription to Netflix, send a get-well card to Aunt Barb…

After the flurry of writing (and provided your patient spouse hasn’t suffocated under his pillow while trying to block out inconvenient lamplight), set the sheet aside to revisit in the morning.


Next time you feel the anxiety creep in about your towering list of to-do’s, try this trick and see if you don’t sleep a bit sounder. Better yet, when you sit down with your morning coffee, cull that list down to just the necessities. Then move it to your calendar/planner. 


Planner tip: I have a paper planner, and if there are items on it that *must* be done and have a clear deadline, I schedule them accordingly. The stuff that can wait (and so much of it can!), I jot on a Post-it note so that I can move the note to the next week, or month, no harm done. 


Note: the planner link is an affiliate link. Save $10 off your first order at Erin Condren.