The Tibetans traditionally advise the '6 Preparatory Practices' prior to the first traditional meditation session of the day: 1. Sweep and clean the room and arrange the altar; 2. Make offerings on the altar, e.g. light, food, incense, water bowls, etc., 3. Sit in a comfortable position and examine your mind. If there is much distraction, do some breathing meditation to calm your mind. Then establish a good motivation. After that, take refuge and generate the altruistic intention by reciting the appropriate prayers; 4. Visualise the 'merit field' in front of you with your Teachers, Buddhas, bodhisattvas, etc. If this is too difficult, visualise Shakyamuni Buddha alone and consider him the embodiment of all Buddhas, Dharma (teachings) and Sangha (community); 5. Offer the seven limb prayer and do the mandala offering by reciting the prayers; 6. Make requests to the lineage teachers for inspiration by reciting the requesting prayers. It is also good to review the entire graduated path to enlightenment by reciting for example, "Foundation of All Good Qualities". This helps you to understand the purpose of the particular meditation that you will do in the overall scheme of training the mind in the gradual path. It also plants the seed for you to obtain each realisation of the path.
Reference and for much more information: http://viewonbuddhism.org/meditation_practice.html
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