I am not a morning person.
I desperately want to be, but I almost always seem to find myself scrambling out the door with my shirt on backwards and my shoelaces untied as I race to catch the #2 bus.
Mornings shouldn’t be as hard as they are for me, but alas, they are.
To increase my chances of getting to work on time without ruining the rest of the day, I’ve employed the following early morning hacks. I don’t successfully do them all the time, because, well, life! But on the days I do, everything always seems to go a lot more smoothly.
1. Make extra when cooking dinner and pack it in to-go containers for easy lunches
I love to cook, but there’s no denying how time consuming it can be.
My solution? Make extra!
If you’re already chopping a couple peppers for your chicken stir fry, why not chop two more? Making a cup of rice? Make three!
When you’re done cooking, portion out your leftovers into to-go containers for quick lunches. Plus, you’re probably making healthier meals than you’d otherwise buy at the office and you can control food portions better than most restaurants and delivery services.
Taken to the extreme, you could also try #MealPrepSunday. There’s a whole online community in various corners of the Internet of extreme food preppers who make an entire week’s worth of food every Sunday and portion it out for the remainder of the week. And we aren’t just talking work lunches here either.
These people make breakfasts, dinners, snack foods — the works! It can take hours and a lot of preparation and practice until you get it down to a science, but there’s no denying the time dedicated food preppers save Monday through Saturday.
2. Prep your smoothie the evening before
Whether it’s a fruit smoothie, green smoothie, or protein shake, there are few better breakfast choices than a freshly blended, cold morning smoothie.
But between chopping the fruit, portioning the protein powder, or cutting the veggies, you can easily waste a good chunk of your morning better used getting some extra Zs or beating the traffic.
Instead, do all the prep the night before, toss it in your blender, and store it in the fridge overnight. In the morning, just grab, blend, and go.
I have the Ninja blender, which comes with the single serving attachment and screw-on blender cap. It works perfectly for this every morning.
3. Figure out what you’re wearing and iron it beforehand
How many times have you woken up only to realize you hate all your clothes and everything is wrinkled. It used to happen to me only like every morning.
The fix is easy, but you aren’t going to want to hear it: Do your laundry regularly and lay out tomorrow’s outfit tonight. You can earn bonus points for ironing it, too.
Ready for an ironing hack? Try leaving your clothes hanging in the bathroom while you shower! For some items the steam from the shower is enough to get the wrinkles out. Or at least enough wrinkles so it looks like you sort of care.
4. Sleep in your workout clothes
Piggybacking on the tip above, try sleeping in your workout clothes. It saves you time having to locate them in the morning, and if you’re like me and look for every reason to back out of getting in some physical activity before a day at the office, it can help you overcome any laziness you may be feeling so early in the day.
If you’re not too keen on sleeping with so much spandex on, packing your gym bag ahead of time will suffice!
5. Don’t snooze
Did you know that 35% of women and 47% of hit the snooze button in the morning according to a survey by Sleep Junkie, which was nicely summarized here.
Snoozing isn’t good for you, people!
Hey I’m guilty of it, too (no one is perfect), but snoozing can actually make you feel groggier in the morning by tricking your body into thinking you’re entering another sleep cycle.
Not only does this rob you of 5-10 minutes per snooze, but it makes you sluggish once you finally do make it out of bed.
It can be difficult seeing your phone’s notification light flashing, but do your best to resist the urge to investigate. It’s incredibly easy to go down the rabbit hole of emails, Snapchat videos, Facebook updates, and Tweets. They’ll all still be there once you get to the office.
7. Refine your coffee routine
Some people (myself included) can’t function without a little lot of caffeine, but between boiling the water, grinding my coffee beans, and waiting for the coffee to actually brew, it can take a long time from bean to cup.
Is there anything you can do to speed up the process?
Single serve machines like Keurig and Nespresso provide one alternative. I’m not a huge fan of Keurig’s coffee quality, but I really like Nespresso and think they make fantastic machines. Best of all, they only take about 25 seconds to heat up and another 30 seconds to brew. One minute from capsule to cup.
The downside to these coffee machines is threefold:
- Their negative impact to the environment,
- The cost per serving is higher, and
- They come pre-ground, though they are sealed.
Alternately, you could look at a BUNN coffee maker like the BUNN Velocity Brew models. They brew a full 10-cup pot in just four minutes and smaller portions even more quickly. No more waiting eight to 10 minutes for your coffee to brew.
There, I just saved you at least five minutes. Just don’t use it to hit the snooze button.
8. Have a set place for your keys, wallet, purse, sunglasses, and any other essentials
You should see me as I walk out the door every morning.
OK, keys? Check.
Phone? Shoot. [Scrambles to find phone.]
And about once per week I leave and have to come back because I forgot something. It’s actually quite comical, at least for my girlfriend.
Of course, I could solve this problem if I had a centralized place to put everything.
OK, so that makes this the one piece of advice on this list that I don’t personally follow, but usually I forget to follow it. I’m working on that!
Do you have any tips or early morning hacks that save you time? I bet you do. Comment below to share them!
About The Author
Bryan is a freelance writer who has two passions in life: coffee and the beach. That means for him, life doesn’t get any better than drinking coffee on the beach while putting the finishing touches on his next (hopeful) masterpiece.
Ha! This post comes at just the right time. This morning was quite chaotic in our home.
My husband leaves for work at 5 am, most mornings, as he goes to the gym before hitting the road.
That means my extra pair of hands, that are always ready to help…well they’re not there. I snoozed the alarm about 4 times this morning! And yes… I do feel sluggish and groggier than usual.
These are great tips. I’ve also experienced that packing my son’s lunchbox the night before helps a lot with saving time. The same goes for any school forms or documents that need to be filled out.
@lynne I am not a morning person either, but then again, not a night owl…I do better with afternoons!:P
My husband leaves just before I get up every morning so I am also alone for the morning run every week day and then he only gets home just before the kids bath time which makes for one tired mommy a lot of days!
I used to push the snooze button a lot last year but now I never do anymore. My alarm goes off and I get up – honestly I feel so much better every day so I totally agree with that point! I’ve got my morning routine down to a fine art now, ok let me rephrase that… most days I have my morning routine down to a fine art. I do make lunches in the morning but I do it as soon as I get up and then I wake the kids for breakfast so it works fine for me. But yes getting school clothes ready the day before goes a long way, as does packing any sports clothes, books, school forms etc the day before. Then there is less to think about in the morning and no worries about forgetting something important.
The struggle is real! But, as you get used to…and stick to your routine, things get easier!
Well done for being a supermom!
I love this article!! Most of us can relate to this.
For the record, I’ve never been a morning person and I’m so happy that my husband is the same. I just need to be left alone until I had my first cup of coffee at least before I attempt to make conversation or do anything at all.
I’ve implemented a few things that really helps me to save time.
– I pack JD’s bag for daycare the night before and lay out my own clothes that I’m wearing the next day. This save a few minutes every morning.
– My husband makes me a cup of coffee every morning. LOL, if you could get your significant other to do the same, then there you have a few more minutes at your disposal.
– I buy weekly groceries for my lunch at work. I enjoy having chicken salads or whole wheat bread for lunch. I buy whatever I can on a weekly basis and make a quick lunch at work rather than having to make it at home in the mornings.
– I always wash my dishes right after dinner every evening but I have “night time dishes”like glasses, cups or empty baby bottles from JD’s feeds. Lately I’ve been washing them when I fix him a bottle at night. It really takes a minute or two to rinse these few things and saves me another minute or two in the morning.
– I used to snooze a lot but I’ve given up this habit a few years ago. It is true, snoozing is bad for you. I ended up feeling much worse when I finally got up. It’s better to just set the alarm for the right time and get your bum out of bed.
I would have never taught that the snooze function had such a negative effect.
I always have used the snooze function as I personally felt this allowed me to wake up gradually.
I also didn’t know that mind the pun … you snooze you loose…will definitely try to wake up at the first ring of the alarm.
@saaleha love this!
I have never been a mornjng person and I used to have my morning routine pared down and worked out to the last second so that, provided no-one actually tried to speak to me I could wizz through the morning on auto pilot. And then I fell pregnant and had 9 months of all day morning sickness…. My wonderful husband started waking me with tea and toast so that I could get the vomiting part over with and start again, and he still does this every morning that he is with me. Of course I am normally up before him these days feeding my baby on auto pilot… And strangely I have started to love the early mornings when my son, who takes after his dad, is wide awake and cheerfully adorable.
Wow! you really do like your coffee! and you know quite a bit about which machines to use ( I just use instant). It is absolutely true what you say about hitting the snooze button. You just feel so much more tired when you snooze and snooze and snooze. I suffer quite badly from fatigue and insomnia so I tend to fall asleep at about 3am. I then have to get up at 5am. I really feel like a zombie in the mornings. The thing that helps me most is to prep the night before. I do all my ironing the night before, pack the kids school bags and their extra-mural bags. I don’t like to make the lunch the night before so I will see that their lunch boxes are washed and their water bottles are filled up and in the fridge so that they can have nice cool water for the day. I buy bulk snacks and divide them in small portions so i can just pick and choose the snacks for the morning. All the nitty-gritty things like polishing shoes, washing hair and even bathing the night before saves lots of time. I set out the table for breakfast the night before, like the bowls and spoons for porridge and lucky for me my family doesn’t like a heavy breakfast like bacon and eggs and toast of course! I even fill the milk jug so that i can just pop it into the microwave for warming up the next morning. I go through all the motions of what is needed the next day then i will have it packed out the night before. Other things like grating the cheese, preparing the tuna and mayo, because that can take up lots of your time. If the kids need money for school for Bakersman or something small i will make sure that i have loose change in a jar so that i can just grab and go instead of stopping off at the local cafe to make small change. I know it all sounds crazy and yes of course I do slip up lol but small little things that can be eliminated will save you time and of course… money! Lastly, fill up your car on Sundays you don’t want to realise first thing Monday morning that you have no petrol!!!!
Ahhh the struggle is real on my side too!!
Why should the snooze button be bad??? Ok I usually press the snooze button 3 or 4 times before getting up. My baby(turning one on Friday) loves to wake up at 4am for a bottle and my alarm goes of at 05:15. That hour and a bit I sleep like a rock and that’s why it is so hard for me to wake up.
I started packing lunches in the evening and that made a huge difference. Before I get into bed, I check what the weather will be like and then I have to decide what I’m going to wear. If the weather changes over night I’m screwed. I will be late. there are no to butts about it!
@kobievrb I think I’m with you on the afternoons. morning and evenings just don’t work for me.
Number 6 is my killer. I hit the snooze button several times in the morning. I am also not a morning person at all, if i could wake up after 8:00 every day I will probably be insanely happy.
I already do pretty much all of the other tips, my favorite is packing lunch the night before. I then put the lunchboxes next to the keys, purse, etc. so that it cant be forgotten.
But that snooze button, oh my word, it has gotten me into a little bit of trouble on a few occasions.
I really like number 4: Sleep in your workout clothes! Last week I decided to run a bit on the treadmill when I get up, but because changing clothes, putting on a sports bra, etc. took so much of my morning, I decided that I would rather skip the treadmill the next day, and the next, and forever. SO, perhaps – just perhaps – I might sleep in a sports bra and a “oefenbroekie” tonight.
I am quite a morning person and have certain things I do every evening as to spare time in the morning. While I agree with everything in this article, it did however bring a smile to my face.
Point 8: Have a set place for your keys, wallet, purse, sunglasses, and any other essentials:
Is an ongoing argument between my Baby Daddy and myself. For me everything only has one place and when it is not, there I am beside myself, as I know then its missing. He, on the other hand, puts things in different places all the time and before we leave to go somewhere, nine out of ten times he is searching for his keys, wallet or lighter. Which leads to bickering as I have told him numerous times to find permanent “homes” for his stuff. I even have set places in my car for things, my phone, my keys and my bag for example. It just makes sense to me, if you know where it is every time; no time is wasting looking for it.
Sometimes I feel like I have two children LOL
I could really relate to this article. Every morning, I hope that I will be up bright and early and heading off on time, and every morning, I find myself dashing desperately between the kitchen and the dining room table trying to feed my family, give the younger members their sinus medication, haring off to the bathroom to find toothbrushes … And just as I’m ready to go, one of my little ones will take off the shoes I have carefully ensured are on. Or suddenly need to go to the bathroom. Or my glasses or keys will go missing. I think the piece of advice I found most helpful was the recommendation always to keep keys etc. in the same place. Either that, or I need to invest in one of those nifty key finders that will beep at me when I drop my keys down the back of the couch!
Today I was so late for work I had to ask my transport to wait while I brush my hair…. Im Famous for snoozing my alarm I often never carry lunch to work because im so late and the days I do carry its because I packed it the night before…