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How to Streamline Your Morning Routine

dad in son shaving in front of mirror
SeventyFour/Shutterstock

Waking up is hard for many people. Once you’re awake, you have to get ready for the day, which could mean work, getting the kids to school on time, a trip to the gym, or shopping. By streamlining your morning routine, you can shave off some of the stress.

Prep the Night Before

When it comes to streamlining your morning routine, what you do the night before will have a significant impact on how things go when you get out of bed the next day. The more prep you do the night before, the fewer things you’ll need to do in the morning.

Here are some things you can prep the night before:

  • Pick out your outfit: Sometimes picking the right outfit out for the day requires a few tries. Instead of spending a half-hour going through your closet in the morning, pick out your outfit before bed, and have it pressed and ready to put on.
  • Get the kid’s stuff ready: If you have children, make sure their school clothing, lunches, and any other things they need are also prepared the night before.
  • Pack your lunch: Don’t wait until the morning to put together your lunch either!
  • Prep breakfast: There are all sorts of great “night before” recipe ideas that can streamline your morning meal routine. Make tiny quiches that are freezable. Make oatmeal cups that only need a minute in the microwave.
  • Shower and shave: Showers and shaving both take up time, so why not get them taken care of the night before. Unless you’re living in a hot climate with no air conditioning, you should be fine sleeping clean and waking up clean.

Never Hit the Snooze Button

Some people have an automatic reflex for hitting snooze. Consider buying an alarm clock that doesn’t have a snooze function, or turn off the snooze option on your phone. Even fifteen minutes of snooze time cuts into a chunk of your morning that could have been used for something more productive.

You may even want to consider waking up earlier than usual. An extra twenty minutes will give you more time for morning yoga, meditation, or any other habits you like to fill your mornings with.

If you can’t shut off the snooze, and you can’t find an alarm without that option, put your alarm across the room. This tactic will make it so that you have to get out of bed to turn it off. That brief walk may be enough to get you up.

Let in the Sunshine

Make opening the curtains or shades the first thing you do when you get out of bed. Sunshine is good for your health and your mood. It’s a natural pick-me-up, and the proper amount of time in the sunlight can help you get better sleep at night.

Time Your Bathroom Prep

For some people, showering at nighttime isn’t always an ideal option. Maybe you workout in the morning, perhaps you need that shower to help you wake up, or maybe you don’t like dealing with bedhead in the morning—in these cases, there’s still hope for a speedier and more streamlined morning routine.

The answer to not letting morning showers make you late for everything is to time them. Set your kitchen timer or a phone timer and make that shower a speedy one.

This is a good time to streamline your grooming too. Bathroom time is about more than showering. You may have shaved the night before, but you have hair and makeup, and hygiene, to take care of.

Here are some ways to streamline grooming:

  • Keep out only the items you need; this way you don’t need to search for them
  • Consider getting a haircut and style that is more wash and go
  • Moisturize the night before
  • Keep a travel grooming kit in the car, just in case you forget something in a rush (toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, hairspray are good choices)
  • Go for a light and natural makeup routine to take less time

Make a Breakfast Plan

Even if you’re not making breakfast the night before that can quickly be thawed in the microwave, you can still do some meal prep the night before. Get the ingredients together and put them in one place in the fridge and on the counter. Get the pots and pans out that you’ll need.

Know the needed cook time for whatever you’re making. This ensures you’re not behind on something else, or running late to wherever you need to be.

Give Your Ears a Boost

If you struggle to get moving in the morning, add some music to your day. Some motivational tunes can help you speed more smoothly through all of the things you need to do. Create a playlist that is energetic and motivating, leave off the songs that’ll make you want to relax or go back to bed.

This playlist may resemble your workout playlist. Pick enough songs to make it the exact length of your time from waking up to getting in the car to head to your work or appointment.

Schedule With Other People in Your Home

If you live with other people that get up around the same time as you, you’re going to need to schedule bathroom time. You might even need to schedule kitchen time if you’re not all sharing meals.

A good way to make sure everyone gets in and out on time is a dry erase board! You also want to consider having the people that have to leave the earliest get into the bathroom first.

Create a Checklist

Busy mornings getting ready for work and prepping kids for school can cause you to forget some essential things, like grabbing your glasses or brushing your teeth. Consider making a daily checklist of all of the things you need to do and the stuff you need to take with you.

You can use apps like Evernote to make lists, write your lists in a notebook, or utilize a dry erase board that lets you easily erase checks before you go to bed at night and make changes when you have extra things you need to take with you.

Yvonne Glasgow Yvonne Glasgow
Yvonne Glasgow has been a professional writer for almost two decades. Yvonne has worked for nutritionists, start-ups, dating companies, SEO firms, newspapers, board game companies, and much more as a writer and editor. She's also a published poet and a short story writer. Read Full Bio »

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