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Do you catch yourself getting up late, taking a last-minute quickie shower, skipping breakfast and rushing out the door? You get four blocks away and realize you forgot your phone, lunch, or both. Then you’re stressed out, stuck in traffic and here comes the road rage. Wish you knew the secret to a stress-free morning?
How about I tell you mine. That scenario above, that was me a year ago. I was stuck in an endless, stress-inducing cycle. Constantly rushing through my shower, skipping breakfast and barely making it to work on time.
I felt like I was a bit behind all day long and it always seemed like I was forgetting something. At the end of the day, I would collapse in an exhausted heap feeling like I hadn’t accomplished anything.
Want to hear the real kicker? I worked 2nd shift and had for about nine years. There was absolutely no reason for me to ever be rushed or running late.
I knew something had to change. It was time for me to break the cycle. I did it and you can too because I am going to share my secret to a stress-free morning?
The Secret to a Stress-Free Morning is Preparation
Scandalous! I know – but it works! Really!
Some people hop out of bed bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready for whatever the day may bring. They have no problem making quick decisions and executing. I think they’re possessed but you decide for yourself.
The rest of us need a beat! A glass of lemon water or a cup of piping hot coffee to help clear the fog.
The only decision we’re prepared to make for the next 15 minutes is which flavor of creamer to have, and the last thing we want to do is start making decisions. Just thinking about it brings on the stress.
So – stop thinking about it! Alexander Graham Bell said ‘Before Anything Else, Preparation is the Key to Success’.
What would that look like, and how do you get there?
Take a minute to list the things that are causing you stress in the morning. Picking out an outfit, deciding what to eat for breakfast, figuring out what to pack for lunch, and finding your keys. Your list might be slightly different but you get the gist.
Now figure out which things can be done ahead of time. Make a list of those things so you can establish a routine. Take it a step further and plan to do that routine the night before. I call my routine “Getting Ready to Get Ready”.
Making the important decisions the night before can help you achieve a much smoother, stress-free morning. Think of it as an easy button for the first part of your day. Here are the steps to my “Getting Ready to Get Ready” routine.
Check The Weather Forecast
Check the weather forecast and prepare for the weather you may encounter the next day. This is the most important and most often overlooked step so let me say it again. Check The Weather Forecast!
Being unprepared for inclement weather is one of the quickest ways to a very bad day. Imagine spending extra time primping for a presentation then getting caught in a rainstorm without an umbrella. Cue the wet dog visual.
The weather forecast can influence several parts of your day including what you are going to wear, which route you are going to take, or which errands you are going to run that day. It can also determine which additional items you need to set out for the next day.
Bonus tip: Live in a rainy climate like I do? Keep a couple of cheap backup umbrellas in your car.
Lay Out Your Outfit
Keeping the weather forecast in mind, pick your outfit for the next day. This includes clothing, shoes, accessories, a jacket, scarf and any other items you might wear.
Iron clothing as needed so you aren’t rushing to do it in the morning. Put it all back on a hanger and hang it on a hook to help keep it wrinkle-free.
If wrinkles aren’t a concern, fold your clothing and stack it in a pile. Place each thing in the area that you are most likely to put it on.
If you would dress in the bathroom, find a spot in there to lay or hang your clothes. If you put your undergarments on in the bathroom, but your pants and blouse in the bedroom, then put each item in the appropriate area.
Set out any accessories you plan to wear including earrings, watches, necklaces, etc. If you normally just grab accessories out of the jewelry box, pick them out the night before and lay them on top of the jewelry box or a dresser.
Place your shoes, jackets, hats, and scarves in the mudroom or by the door you use to leave. That way you don’t have to make those choices through the morning brain fog.
Set Out Your Beauty And Hygiene Items
We all have some kind of beauty regime we go through in the morning. Whether that regime is quick and simple or a bit more complicated, it’ll help to have your essentials prepped and ready to go.
Set out all items you’ll use including toothpaste and toothbrush, deodorant and makeup. Set them out where you are going to use them.
Place your toothbrush and toothpaste next to the sink. Put your deodorant out on the counter. Lay your makeup out on the vanity. Place hairbrushes, hairdryer, etc. out on the counter. This way you aren’t digging through drawers like you are searching for buried treasures.
Lay out towels and any other necessary items for your morning shower. There’s nothing worse than having to step out of a nice hot shower into a cool bathroom to grab your towel or getting your shave cream on to realize your razor is sitting on the side of the bathtub.
As you finish using each item, you can put it away. No items left on the counter means you are ready – and you even remembered to put on your deodorant!
Decide what you’re going to eat for breakfast and lunch the next day.
When you’re rushed, skipping breakfast becomes an easy way to save some time. Not a good idea. It’s important to start your day with energy, and that energy comes from your breakfast.
Besides energy, this WebMD article says that eating breakfast is linked to better memory and concentration as well as lowering your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Since breakfast is so important, you need to figure out a way to fit it in. If you prefer to not cook in the morning, try some meal planning and prepping ahead of time.
There I go talking about preparing ahead of time again – seems to be a running theme. Really though, if you can have most of the stuff ready and set out, the task becomes less of a burden and you’re more likely to complete it.
Lunch is also very important. It helps to maintain your blood sugar and aid your concentration throughout the day.
Plan what you are going to take with you for lunch. Prepare as many items as possible ahead of time. Set out containers and utensils.
The best result will be if you can prepare your lunch in its entirety, package it with all necessary utensils and condiments, and place it all in your lunch box in the refrigerator. On your way out the door, all you have to do is grab your lunch box.
No more forgotten salad dressing, no more eating your chicken with your fingers or drinking your soup straight out of the container.
Bonus Tip: Here’s a tutorial to help you start meal planning so you can eliminate the decision making part of this process.
All of the preparation will be a waste if you can’t get where you are going.
Identify and set out your travel essentials for the next day. These are going to be all of the items that you need in order to get to your destination. These might include keys, umbrella, purse, wallet, cell phone, etc.
Just like you did with the clothing, place each of these items in the area you are most likely to need them. For most people, that will be a counter, console table, and/or coat rack near the door you are most likely to use when leaving.
You can also post a checklist by the door to ensure you don’t forget anything.
That’s the Secret to a Stress-Free Morning
When you first decide what your routine should look like, write it down. You can be as detailed or brief as you like, but do write it down. Having a list where you can ‘check’ of each step off every night will help you turn this routine into a habit.
Mornings are generally a very hectic and stressful time. You pack several quick decisions into a very short amount of time, and many of those decisions can have a very big impact on your day. Making those decisions the night before will help to reduce or eliminate the related stress.
Now that you know the secret to a stress-free morning, what are you still doing here? Go on – figure out your routine, create your checklist, and get that stress out of your morning.
Is my routine missing something? Let me know. And once you’ve established your new routine, stop back in and share your checklist and let me know how it’s going.
Thanks for stopping by, and have a happy stress-free morning!