Turn off the alarm, shower, get dressed, make coffee, eat breakfast, apply some mascara, brush your teeth, find your keys, sunglasses and the left shoe. Feed the dog. Pack a lunch. Let the dog out. Let the dog in. Get into the car, run back into the house for your dry cleaning. Hop back into the car and you’re on the way. Drop off the dry cleaning, put gas in the car because of course it’s on empty…
Many of us face our biggest organizational challenge first thing in the morning, when we’re hardly awake enough to think. We need to get ourselves up, dressed, groomed, fed and out of the house… preferably on time for appointments and work… with everything we need for the day… and socks that match.
In my organizing work I have found that good routines are the best defense against the morning crazies. Establishing systems that are repeat-able and simple is the organizing wizardry that will help you get where you need to go on time.
Evaluate your current morning routine. What is working? What isn’t working? What makes you pull-your-hair-out, yell-at-the-dog frustrated?
Once you have determined what is working, evaluate why. Are breakfasts going smoothly because you always have healthy, easily prepared food available? Great! Carry that advance preparation theme through to lunch planning and stock a fridge shelf or cupboard with lunch items.
What isn’t working? Are you wasting time looking for coordinating clothing? Are you sitting in traffic getting more and more annoyed every morning? To compensate for being consistently 10 minutes late, try setting your out-the-door time to 10 minutes earlier. If that doesn’t work, shift some of your morning tasks to the night before. And remember — traffic happens! Take some deep breaths and let it go!
Try these tips to make your morning routine more blissful:
- Pack all backpacks and briefcases before bed.
- Set out clothing. Alternately, arrange clothing in drawers or closets in sets. This takes no extra time on laundry day and pays big rewards every morning.
- Consider a “uniform” of similar styled clothing that works for most of your events. Steve Jobs famously wore a black turtleneck and jeans every day.
- Set up the coffee machine and breakfast items at night.
- Fill the car with gas on the way home in the evening.
- Keep hats, coats, boots and gloves in the same place all the time, ready to go. Consider a bin or drawer for each family member.
- If you walk a dog each morning, keep pet supplies together on a shelf or hook by the door.
- Keep coffee cards in the glove compartment of your car, or a special place in your purse or wallet and always return them there! Set up automatic refill on the Timmy’s or Starbuck’s app so that you’re always ready to pay.
- Keep your chargers in the same spot all the time. If your commute includes power, use that time to charge your devices.
- Designate a “take away” spot near the door: a nice bin or bag to collect the various bits and pieces that need to go out — mail, store returns, refillable water bottle, library books…
- Use morning tv or radio shows to help you stay on track. Listen to the 7 o’clock news (Zoomer Radio AM 740 FM 96.7!) while getting dressed and groomed, eat breakfast during the 7:20 weather forecast, 7:30 news is hair brushing and tooth-brushing time, the 7:45 traffic report is on the radio in the car when you leave the house.
- Use your smart home device to set up a morning routine.
To really start the day off right, plan some morning perks for you — wake to fresh coffee from an automatic coffee maker, good music on the radio or smart device, kisses from your partner, time for some yoga or a workout, delicious breakfast food, 10 quiet minutes with a magazine or 5 more minutes of sleep because you have prepared so well for the day!
Invest a bit of organizing time now for more bliss later!