Getting out the door in the morning is a challenge, even if you’re one of those people who jumps out of bed with a smile. Considering most of us tend to drag ourselves out of bed, it makes sense to find ways to make mornings a little bit easier. (Aside from coffee.)
When you think about it, most of your morning is spent either in the kitchen or bathroom: eating breakfast, packing lunches, shower, and grooming. When you get home today, take a look around you. Is it time to reorganize your space and schedule for a streamlined morning? Here is how to get started:
Streamline Your Schedule
1. Start by making a list of what you do in the morning. It will make it easier to really think about what activities take up your time.
2. Write down how much time you think it takes you to do each activity.
3. Then, spend one morning timing yourself for each one.
Sound silly? Think of it as a fun experiment about yourself. How much time does it really take make breakfast? How much time do you spend blow drying your hair? You might surprise yourself to realize your alarm goes off at 6:30 a.m. but you don’t get out of bed until 6:45.
Armed with this knowledge, you can:
- Change your routine to lessen the time it takes in the morning. If you are always running late, maybe you need to set your alarm for 6:15 instead. Maybe you need to save some of the morning chores until after work.
- Make cuts when you are running late. You will then know how much time each item takes and can therefore decide what you will cut out of your morning routine to leave on time. For example, if I have time, I will wash the breakfast dishes. On rushed mornings, they remain in the sink until afternoon.
In this video, Janice offers some other great tips on simplifying your morning routine.
Streamline Your Spaces
1. Gather supplies.
What supplies do you need to complete each activity? One easy way to improve the morning is to gather those each night in advance.
- For example, you may go jogging each morning. Have your pile of jogging clothes, earbuds, etc. ready to go on top of the dresser.
- Maybe taking a shower is your first activity. You probably keep shampoo, soap, etc. in the shower already. But where are your bath towels? Are they easily found and easily hung to dry?
- After timing yourself, you find that packing your lunch takes 15 minutes each morning. If it bothers you, consider doing that task the night before. Or, spend some time on Sunday preparing things in small dishes/sandwich bags for faster lunch making later.
- Do you have the same thing for breakfast each day? Where are those supplies stored in your kitchen? Can you put them on the counter? Can you rearrange the pantry so it makes it easier to grab cereal each day?
- Makeup station: Women who wear makeup might consider taking a look at their “station.” Are you running to the other bathroom for cotton balls? Streamline this activity by having everything you need right by the mirror. If your bathroom is short on cupboard or counter space, add a small shelf on the wall next to the sink, employ cool containers or use baskets on top of the toilet to hold supplies.
- Related to that, what is on your bathroom counter? Of course you want easy access to things, but too much clutter can get in your way as you get ready each morning. Keep only what you need at hand. Employ drawers and shelves for other items.
2. Consider each step.
- When you discard your workout clothes, where is the laundry basket? Is it located in a useful place, or are you constantly throwing clothes on the floor and picking them up later?
- Shower before eating to give your hair time to air dry. That will make blow drying quicker later on. (Plus, hair experts say it’s best not to blow dry soaking wet hair.)
- It often takes a long time to figure out what to wear each morning. Of course you can save some time by choosing something the night before. But the way your closet is organized may also be impeding your progress. Would rearranging it so work clothes are in one section help?
- Maybe it’s time to move your dresser so it’s easier to access it.
- Do you complete your entire bathroom routine before taking care of kitchen things, or are they mixed? For some, it might be helpful to be dressed and ready before eating breakfast and packing a lunch/making coffee. For others, it’s best to eat breakfast before dressing for the day, saving clothes from accidents. But that may mean extra trips up and down the stairs.
3. Use your tools. Or change your tools.
- Maybe your shower has those insets in the wall, but you dislike using it. Consider various types of shower caddies to hang those items from the shower head or put them on a shelf.
- Make good use of the coffee pot timer so that your coffee brews automatically. (With some prep the evening before of course.)
- Check out this post on a hair dryer holder. What tools may help you keep what you need at hand?
- Labels on some of your beauty products may help you remember which days to use them.
4. Teamwork. Families trying to get out the door know the value of teamwork.
- Maybe one parent gets the kids’ breakfast started while the other packs lunches. (Once the kids are old enough, they can pack their own!)
- One partner might start water boiling for coffee, tea, or hot cereal while the other gathers items both partners need before departing.
- One parent might get the baby ready (dressed, diapering) and then the other feed her. That way neither has to spend 45 minutes on baby duty while we’re trying to get ready for work.