Most mornings, I just wish that I could switch off the alarm and go right back to sleep. Unlike my wife, who jumps out of bed, ready to take on the day, it takes me a while to really wake up and start things going. Like most people, I have to get up and go to work, which is why wasting time is such a big issue in the mornings. Here are some tips to optimize your mornings.
1. Don't Log Onto Your Computer
While some people have the time to log onto their computer and address emails, I don't have that time. It usually takes anywhere between 30 to 45 minutes to empty my inbox, since I rock Inbox Zero, so I've learned by trial and error that I can't check my email. This is also true for news, which I get delivered via RSS into my feed reader (Google Reader).
2. Log Onto Your Computer On A Timer
Maybe it's sleep inertia, but it does take me a long time to wake up. In those moments, time passes very quickly. I hardly notice that 10 minutes have gone by. This is why, when I absolutely need to check my emails or feeds, I stick to a simple timer. You can easily use a kitchen timer, but I just use the clock on my desk. For these intervals, I usually put aside 30 minutes.
3. Use A Clock
It's a given that you need to stick to a schedule when you get ready in the morning. The best way is just to be aware of the time. While I don't wear a watch, I do have a cell phone, an alarm clock, as well as a desk clock to keep me well informed of the time. I know that by 8AM, I need to be out walking the dog, by 8:15, I need to be in the shower, etc.
4. The Commute
It also helps if you precisely know how long your morning commute is. I'm pretty lucky, it's only a few minutes by scooter, at the max 10 minutes in heavy traffic, so it's pretty non-existent, which is why I can get up at 7:30AM.
In North America, I used to take the subway and bus pretty frequently. On the bus, I usually read, studied, or kept myself busy. While some people enjoy taking naps on public transport, I find that it's better to stay awake since you'll have to get woken up as soon as you get to your destination.
5. Mobile Devices
My morning routine is pretty optimized. There is a little wiggle room, but not much. This means that I check my mobile only when I am at work or on a break at work. Just like logging onto a computer, I find that time can easily be sucked away if you use your cellphone to do tasks in the morning.