How would you describe your morning routine? Is it meandering, or barely manageable? My own recently went from a three-hour, leisurely stroll to a 40-minute mad dash for the finish — blame a new job with an earlier start and a more intense commute — so I've had to adapt my practices somewhat. Read on for some tips on setting smart, realistic morning routines.
1. Prioritize sleep. Here I go with the most obnoxious tip of them all. It might be patronizing, but let's be honest: most of us don't get enough sleep. There's no magic number for everybody, but eight hours is great to shoot for. With enough shut-eye, even the earliest wake-up call is bearable, and your routine will seem like a piece of cake.
2. Get things done the night before. There are a lot of things you can remove completely from your morning to-do list, if only you can find the time for them before you turn in. Choosing your outfit for the day, sorting your office lunch, even having the kettle filled and coffee ground (or teabag in your mug, whatever your poison) can shave off valuable seconds in the morning.
3. Make a schedule. Try keeping track of just how long each component of your routine — breakfast, shower, drive to work — takes for one day. You don't have to adhere to it militantly thereafter, but having a realistic picture of where your time goes can help you make informed choices about your routine.
4. Identify your morning time-sucks, and circumvent them. For me, this is checking my phone. I grab it as soon as I'm awake and before I know it, I've been lying in bed looking at Instagram for 20 minutes, and risk being late for my train. A simple fix for this is letting my phone charge at the end of my bed, so I have to get up to look at it. Once I'm out of the warm, Instagram doesn't seem so important: I can check it out on the train.
5. Whatever you do, try to find time to make the bed. Everyone's doing it.
6. Incorporate something positive into your routine. Mornings don't have to be all doom and gloom; if you can find something to look forward to, it makes getting up and out of the house much more bearable. On dark winter mornings, I've been known to light a scented candle while I do my makeup; a few moments of calm before the storm of the working day. For you it might be blasting a favourite song while you shower, or the thought of the one cup of coffee you allow yourself each day. If you can get your mind in a positive place, the rest of your routine won't seem like such a chore.
Do you consider your morning routine a good one? How did you arrive at it?