I find that a well oiled morning routine makes my life so much earlier. M & I do a bit of schedule shifting, to reduce our need for childcare, as well as spend more time with the kids. I go to work early, and he manages breakfast (and most of the lunches) for the kids & gets them to school. As a result, I can leave work earlier, and handle the late afternoon at home, & dinner prep while he works later. Here are some of the tips or just general plans that make our morning routine easier. You are probably doing most or all of these already, so take what is useful & share your own best tips!
- I get up at the same time each day. I go to bed at the same time every night during the work week. And, it's early. :-) I need about 9 hours/sleep a day to stay healthy with lupus, so this is a big priority. Waking up rested is a huge gift you can give yourself.
- We have an espresso machine at home. No need for a coffee shop (I do get free coffee at work about 1x/month). We've had the same espresso machine for about 10 years, and have had it repaired once. It's lovely to have a cup (or, let's be honest - 2) in the morning.
- As soon as I have my coffee, I make my to do list for the day. Once I have all of that written down, it frees my brain up from having to track all of those random items. It also ensures I'm as productive as possible. My first hour at work is typically my most productive, so it's important to have all of my tasks written down to keep me focused.
- We make one breakfast for the kids. It involves an egg, toast, & lots of fruit. Although we sometimes vary it on weekends, keeping our routine the same during weekdays helps M quickly get breakfast on the table, and reduces the time it takes in the grocery store, as I always know what we need to buy.
- I only wash my hair 2x/week. And, only once during the work week. It makes the getting out of the house routine extremely fast. I could shower at night to save even more time, but find that the morning shower wakes me up.
- I invested in a high powered blow dryer a few years ago. It can get my just past shoulder length hair dry in about five minutes. The difference between this & a regular blow dryer is pretty remarkable. I use regular blow dryers in hotels when traveling, as well as when visiting my family, etc. I'd say I save about 10 minutes of active blow drying time.
- I have a streamlined makeup routine. As soon as I get out of the shower, I lay out my makeup. I wear the following every day: sunblock (particularly important as the medicine I take makes me even more sensitive to the sun, and I'm already quite fair), mascara, eyeliner, chap stick, deodorant. I also leave out my toothpaste & mouthwash, and put each item away as I use it. This ensures I remember to complete all of the routine, even when I'm tired. It's amazing what you can forget before you are fully awake. I'm experimenting with cutting out the eyeliner. I don't want to look overly "made up". I also have very, very small eyes, and as I age, my lids have been dropping, making my eyes look even smaller. So, we'll see if I change this up.
- I wear a straight forward "uniform" to work. In the summer, dresses, sweaters, and a statement necklace. In the winter, it's jeans with a cardigan & again, a statement necklace. I wear flats or boots. I experimented with packing about 2/3s of my wardrobe a few weeks ago, and have been making do with a capsule like wardrobe. I'm liking it so far. I didn't get the choices exactly right this go round, but I can imagine pairing my wardrobe back much further when I do unpack in March. It takes me about one minute to decide what to wear to work, no fuss when your wardrobe is straightforward.
- We tag team lunch prep. While M is making breakfast for the kids, I get out their lunch snacks, round up the lunch bags, and then he makes sandwiches. I add the fruit & veggies, and they are good to go. Again, the lunches vary little. This helps us know what to buy each week. The kids do experience some lunch "fatigue", so they are allowed to buy hot lunch once a month, and I occasionally put leftovers in their thermos.
- I also make the bed & empty the dishwasher between other tasks, so we don't leave the house with a sink full of dishes, or come home to an unmade bed. Yuck. If I've done laundry the night before, I round it up from the drying rack, and have the kids put away their stuff before school.
- The kids also have their own chores. They make their beds, put away their laundry, bring their dirty clothes to the washing machine, and brush their teeth.
- When possible, the kids wear their soccer practice uniforms to school. This makes getting ready much easier in the afternoon. They can add shinguards & cleats & be ready to go.
- I keep my stuff in the same place, every day. My laptop is charging next to my phone, along with my "to do list" notebook. I have my work ID in my laptop bag, and scoop up the laptop, phone, & to do list on my way through the kitchen to the car. No more searching for lost items as I run around the house.
I'm typically in the office by 7:30, depending on my meeting schedule, so optimizing my early morning routine is priceless. I'd LOVE to find a way to get in a workout in the morning, but short of getting less sleep, I've come up empty on options. What about you? Any tips or tricks to share? What's your best morning routine hack you can share?