Pulling yourself out of bed. Brushing your teeth. Showering. Getting properly caffeinated. Wondering why you thought that extra drink (or two...) the night before was a smart idea. Yeah, even if you're not a chronically stressed person, it's still safe to say that the morning is not always a relaxing time of day. Luckily, it doesn't need to be that tough. With a few simple hacks, you can make your morning routine much less stressful, preparing you for the day ahead without the sense of dread that you usually leave home with.
1. Organize Your Toiletries
What do you need to do in the morning to make sure you come across as an acceptable member of the human race to your coworkers? Brush, floss, use mouthwash, shower, apply deodorant, and maybe toss on some makeup. (Oh, and get dressed. Don't forget that!)
Yet, so many people keep the items needed to complete these tasks scattered all over their bathroom or vanity. A better idea is to have a shower caddy or other container somewhere close by, with everything you need already on hand, so you don't need to waste precious minutes, digging through your drawers to find, say, your brush. This will make getting ready for the day much simpler.
2. Prep Your Outfits Early
Instead of rummaging through your closet for something that reasonably qualifies as "business casual" every morning, take some time early in the week to get your outfits together for each day. This will save you time, energy, and an email from HR about why you can't show up to work in your sexy Halloween costume on laundry day.
Take this tip a step further by gathering anything else you will need for work the next day, like your wallet, keys, aspirin, etc, and stuff those items into your purse or outfit pockets the night before, so you don't have to scramble to find them the next morning. In addition, add a little space by your front door where you'll always have a few shoes ready to go, so you can throw them on as soon as you head out.
3. Simplify Your Breakfast
Cooking a massive meal for breakfast may be fun on the weekend, but during the week, it'll just create dirty dishes that you will not be excited about cleaning. A healthy breakfast can be simple enough to prep the night before. Just pick some fruit you like, along with some granola or nuts, and set it out on the kitchen counter. Take your time to enjoy it, sure, but don't waste time creating more work for yourself by deciding you're going to recreate the entire IHOP menu.
4. Or Keep Energy Bars in Your Car
Sometimes, you're going to oversleep. On days when you have the time, it's best to eat while you're still at home. If you honestly don't have the time, though, having a supply of energy bars ready for you in the car will let you at least skip the breakfast step of your morning routine.
No, this does not mean you can also do things like apply makeup in rush hour traffic. We all see you. Stop it.
5. Multi-Task Wherever You Can
Hey, it might not be as fun as belting out your favorite tunes, but brushing your teeth while you're showering will save you time and water. Plus, you don't want your neighbors hearing you sing along to Bon Jovi every morning. Likewise, while rinsing your mouth out with mouthwash, also apply your deodorant. You'll kill two birds with one stone, and for one brief moment, be the epitome of proper human hygiene.
6. Put a Checklist Somewhere You'll See It
Don't try to remember every single thing you have to do in the morning. Just post a checklist near somewhere you're likely to look, like the refrigerator, or as the background of your smartphone. (You'll definitely see it there.) This will stop you from getting halfway to work and realizing you forgot to put on pants.
7. Fool Yourself With Your Alarm
Love to hit the snooze button at least a few times every morning? Instead of trying to change what is likely, by now, an ingrained habit, trick yourself into waking up when you need to by setting the display on your alarm clock to an earlier time than it actually is. Your groggy, morning brain will not likely remember that you did this, and you'll roll out of bed at 7:15, only to remember after a cup of coffee and a check of your iPhone that it is actually 6:45 and that you're perfectly on time!
8. Create a Morning Playlist
If you find yourself waking up on time but still managing to take too long to get out the door, make yourself a morning playlist of your favorite songs, and time each morning task to a single 2 or 3 minute song. That way, you'll know when Adele's "Hello" is over with, it's time to stop working on your eye makeup and move on to your hair.
9. ALWAYS Have Enough Gas
This is basic, but so many people ignore it. If you're heading home one night and realize you're low on gas, fuel up then and there. By the time morning comes, you'll forget that you had a nearly empty tank and feel that sinking dread that only comes when you're late for work and the little gas tank icon on your dashboard lights up.
Seriously, save yourself from this terrible experience.