Ways to streamline your morning

I’m not sure about you, but I am not a morning person. For many of us, getting out of the house on time in the early morning can be challenging.

To streamline your morning, take an honest look at how you spend your time. You’ll want an accurate view of how you spend your time from when you wake up until you arrive at work. To track your time, keep a log for two to three weeks or until you feel you have an accurate view of your typical morning. As you go through this process, think about how long each task takes. How long does it take you to shower? Put on your makeup? Get dressed? Get your kids ready and out the door? Pack lunches? Do you have the same routine each morning, or does it vary?

Now that you’ve logged your morning routine for a few weeks let’s dive into the research you’ve gathered.

Break your information down into two categories:

  • Non-negotiable tasks: These might include showering, brushing your teeth, getting dressed, feeding your kids, putting them on the bus, walking your dog, commuting to work, etc. List each task, along with the average time it takes to complete it (based on your two-week log). Once you’ve come up with a reasonable amount of time to do these things, you can determine what time you need to be up.
  • Tasks that can be completed at other times: These might include picking out and ironing your clothes, packing lunches, filling out forms for your kid’s field trip, doing laundry, etc.

Now that we know that we can complete some tasks at another time, think about how much time you waste on those items each morning. To make your mornings less challenging and stress-free, try some of the tips below.

Change your wake-up routine

  • Stop hitting that snooze button! Set a bedtime and wake-up time based on the time it takes you to complete your morning routine. If you are snooze prone, move the alarm out of your reach. Or, adjust your bedtime, so you feel more rested in the morning.
  • Let the sun in: If you can, don’t cover your windows; let the natural light come in.

Get organized

  • Know where your stuff is: Keep items such as your keys, wallet, phone, chargers, purse, and briefcase in one location.
  • Designate a place for kids’ stuff: Have a designated area for your kid’s backpacks, coats, and shoes. If they have papers that need to be signed, get them in the habit of putting them in a designated place after school so you can sign them before bedtime.
  • Shop ahead: Plan and get the items you need for the week for breakfasts and lunches during your weekly shopping trip.
  • Have a checklist: A schedule or checklist can keep you from forgetting some of your morning tasks. Apps, a notebook, chalkboard, or dry erase board placed in an easily accessible location can help.
  • Get the family dog onboard: Establish a consistent routine that your pet begins to anticipate.

Prep the night before

  • Layout out your outfit, jewelry, and shoes: Choose your clothes, iron them, and lay them out. Don’t forget to put your jewelry and shoes out too.
  • Get the kid’s stuff ready: If you have children, get them in the habit of packing their school bags and laying out their clothes before bed. And, get them involved—if they are school age, they can help.
  • Shower and makeup: If you’re not a morning person and it makes sense for you, consider showering the night before. Don’t wash your hair daily? Try washing it at night instead of in the morning on the days you shampoo it. Layout your makeup the night before.
  • Pack lunches: Have lunches all packed, so all you need to do is grab them out of the fridge on the way out of the house.
  • Prep breakfast: Set the table the night before. Consider recipe ideas or quick, nutritious items that take minutes to prepare.
  • Make coffee: Set the coffee maker up at night with the timer to automatically make your coffee at a specific time.
  • Don’t forget the family pets: Get an automatic water bowl that fills your pet’s dish as it gets low. If they eat dry food, put it in their dishes the night before in a convenient location.

Other tips

  • Listen to some tunes: Make a morning playlist to get moving.
  • Schedule your workout: If you do your workout in the morning, schedule it into your routine so it becomes a natural part of your morning.
  • Make coffee at home: Save the time and expense of buying coffee out.
  • Read the news on your commute. If you commute by bus or train, read the news during your commute.
  • Evaluate your commuting options: Is there a shorter route to work? If you carpool, is there someone who is always running late and making others late?

With some simple changes, you can go from a chaotic, stressful morning to simple and streamlined!

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