My mornings used to look something like this:
My alarm goes off. I snooze about 3-4 times before dragging myself out of bed to take a shower. I stare at my closet for what seems like an eternity to pick out an outfit I haven’t repeated 700 times. I rush through a quick hair and make up routine and then make my way to the kitchen to prepare breakfast for my son and a giant cup of coffee for myself. While my son eats breakfast, I scramble to find something to pack for his lunch and mine. I get him dressed and ready to go, trying to beat the clock and avoid the morning rush-hour traffic. I’m feeling crazed. I curse myself for having snoozed my alarm that third time. We’re finally off to school and work. Spoiler alert: I didn’t beat the traffic. When I land in my office, I sit down with my second giant cup of coffee, while I ponder what it is I have to do today. By this point, my brain is mush, and it will take me a solid half hour to regroup. Some days, I never recover from the morning chaos.
Does this sound familiar? If so, it’s probably because, like me, you haven’t properly planned and prepared for the day ahead. Like me, you probably favored a few extra minutes of sleep over a peaceful morning. After a while, though, this trade off no longer seemed worth it. I hated the feeling of starting my day so negatively, and so I decided to do something about it. Below are the few small tweaks I made that completely changed my routine and set the tone for a positive, productive day.
- Before leaving work at the end of the day, I take a few minutes to write out all of the things I need to get done the following day. This way, when I arrive at work in the morning, I know exactly what I need to do and can jump right into important projects.
- I pack my son’s lunch and my lunch the night before. Usually, it’s leftovers from dinner, so while I clean up the kitchen, I portion out our meals and get them ready to go so that in the morning, I only have to grab the lunchboxes and go.
- I pick out my work clothes for the following day before going to bed. This not only saves me time, it also usually results in better outfit choices, since I’m not making decisions while still half asleep. I also take out my son’s uniform and pack his backpack with all the supplies he’ll need the following day.
- I have my coffee and breakfast set up ahead of time. That means I take out any items I’ll need to make breakfast the next day – cereal box, fruit, oatmeal packet – whatever it is, I leave it out the night before. I also set up my coffee pod so that I only have to press the button in the morning.
- I keep a calendar taped to my refrigerator and set up alerts to my phone for important dates or events I have on any particular morning. The alert goes off the morning before, at night, and again the morning of the event. Is this overload? Perhaps. But it saves me from waking up and realizing that I have a parent/teacher meeting or a dentist appointment that I will probably be late for or have to miss entirely (it’s happened).
- I meditate in the car before I head into my office. It’s hard to find time for mindfulness when you have a packed day. And life with a full-time job and a toddler means very little quiet time to myself. So, after parking my car at work, I take 10 minutes to meditate and get myself ready for the day ahead. It’s such a mood booster and really changes how I approach the rest of my day.
All of the small amounts of time saved by preparing for the morning the night before add up, and most mornings I find that not only am I calmer, but I have time to spare. I also come into work much more clear-headed and in a far better mood.
Do you have a great morning routine? Share it in the comments!
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