I love maximizing my time. It’s one of my favorite things to think about. The idea of losing time to silly and unnecessary things, like rush hour and fancy hair, is dreadful. I recently switched my schedule around so that I leave for work at 6:00 am every day. This was mostly due to the fact that I got rear-ended a few weeks ago. Thankfully, it wasn’t a terrible accident and I walked away just fine. But as a result, I decided that I needed to beat rush hour from now on. But beating rush hour also means I’ll spend less time driving, so it’s a win-win. With this new schedule, I either needed to wake up at least an hour earlier (around 4:30 am… kill me now), or switch my schedule around and streamline my morning routine. I chose the latter.
How I Wake up And Leave the House in Less Than 30 Minutes
5:30 – Hit snooze
It’s a terrible habit, I know. I actually have to get out of bed and walk across the room to turn off the alarm and I still go back to bed. I even tried to turn my snooze off so it wouldn’t be an option, but alas, my alarm clock doesn’t give me that option.
5:35 – Wake up and go turn on the coffee pot
My husband has been setting up the coffee for me the night before. This has been HUGE in getting me out of bed, knowing that coffee is only one push of a button away. I realize that setting it all up the night before means that the water’s not the freshest, but honestly, at 5:40 in the morning, I really don’t care.
5:37 – Bathroom, Makeup, Hair
At first I was still trying to get dressed at this point, but it’s really hard to convince myself to take off my warm, fuzzy robe. I started doing my makeup and “fixing my hair” first instead. I put that in quotes because I usually don’t do much with my hair. It’s curly and likes to be left alone anyways. If I showered the night before, I pull it out of the bun I slept in and just let it finish drying as-is. If it’s second (or third) day hair, I’ll either spray it with some lavender water to get it to bounce back or I’ll put it in a messy bun. So fast. So easy.
For makeup, I use foundation, eyeliner, mascara, blush, and a brow pencil. It doesn’t take me too terribly long to put it all on and I don’t do anything fancy. It’s enough that I feel put together without having to sacrifice my sleep.
5:46 – Get dressed
I pick out my clothes the night before. This is crucial. The only thing I feel like wearing this early are pajamas, so trying to convince my brain to wear anything else is not going to happen. As a result, I would stand in front of my closet for an extra 5-10 minutes trying to decide what most feels like pajamas but also make me look like a grown up. If I pick everything out the night before, my morning is much smoother. I just go on autopilot.
5:50 – Brush Teeth
Gotta keep those whites pearly.
5:53 – Make coffee
By this time, my coffee has finished brewing and is patiently awaiting me. I try to leave a coffee tumbler on the counter the night before so there’s no decision-making or reaching too high for my favorites. Every little bit helps. I don’t do anything fancy with my coffee–just pour some milk in, then pour the coffee. Did you know that if you do it in this order, you usually don’t need to stir? We’re totally winning this morning.
5:55 – Grab my bags
I also pack my lunch the day before. Lunch is pretty much always dinner from the night before. Immediately after dinner, I put leftovers in individual containers for easy grabbing. This makes it stupid easy to pack my lunch. If I’m really on top of things, I’ll actually put a container inside my lunch bag along with a fruit and a drink and leave it in the fridge. Even if I have to gather this up the next morning, though, my night owl self can usually manage pretty quickly.
6:00 – Out the door
I make it out the door right on time. Sometimes even before (especially if I don’t snooze my alarm). It’s a pretty painless morning routine (excepting the whole pre-dawn part).
Apps to use
Whenever I start a new routine, I find it difficult to remember exactly what I planned on doing and in what order, especially at first. I’ve discovered a couple of apps that essentially just hold my hand through this process. Maybe you’re a grown adult who can remember how to get ready without any help, but I certainly need it. My current routine is pretty bare-bones, so I only needed to use the app for a few days to help keep me on track. In the past, I’ve always done some leisurely reading and Bible study in the morning, so I used the apps to keep me on track for that. If I didn’t, I’d find that I would lose myself in a book and make myself late for work or I would be checking the time so often that it made it hard to enjoy the quiet time.
This is the app I used to help me in my morning and evening routine first. It’s great if your schedule or routine vary from day-to-day. The app also has a lot of other uses besides creating routines. You can use it as its creators intended (to work for 30 minutes then break for 30 minutes, or whatever increments you prefer). I used to use it for my prayer time before I started using my current system. I would schedule a couple minutes for different types of prayer, such as praise, gratefulness, confession, etc. If you’re feeling a little scattered in your prayer life, I highly recommend doing this.
My sister recently told me about this app and I’ve been really enjoying it. You put in your routines, when you need to leave the house, and how many hours you want to sleep and it will tell you what time you need to go to bed and wake up. It can be hard to plan your routines and still keep track of whether you’re getting enough sleep. I highly recommend this app.
Other Ideas for Streamlining Your Morning
Do these the night before
Set up coffee. Even if you don’t pour the water like I do, put the pot by the sink. Set everything out that you can the night before so that there’s minimal thinking and movement the next morning.
Buy a great coffee tumbler. I was given this one as a gift. It is not dishwasher safe, despite the label, so the rose gold color all peeled off. I’m thinking about getting one like this so I can drink my coffee with a straw and keep my teeth whiter.
Pick out clothes. Nothing is more horrendous than picking out an outfit at 5:30 am on a monday morning. The Lazy Genius recommends picking a monday uniform and wearing that every single week to make your mondays more bearable.
Pack your lunch. If I had to choose between packing a lunch early in the morning or not eating at all, I would choose not eating at all every time. I hate packing lunches. Make it easy on yourself and portion leftovers the night before. I’ve heard of some people who make all 5 lunch sandwiches on Sunday night, so that’s also an option. No matter how you choose to do it, doing it beforehand is always easier.
Make your breakfast. I also don’t make breakfast in the morning. Lately I’ve been making egg muffins like these. I make them Saturday afternoon and put them in containers with 3 so that all I have to do in the morning is grab a container and go. They taste pretty good cold, so for the sake of ease, that’s what I’ve been doing. I’m not much of a breakfast person, or an egg person, but if I mix in enough veggies and meat, I’m pretty happy. Overnight oats, chia pudding, and breakfast smoothies are also great options for make-ahead breakfasts.
Exercise. I do yoga for 30 minutes when I get home from work. It’s a great transition from work to home life. If you’re struggling to get your workout done in the morning, consider trying a different time.
Shower. I shower the night before because there’s not a lot that can convince me to get my body in a stream of water at 5:30 am. The benefit of doing it the night before is that you go to bed relaxed and clean.
Put everything you need by the door. You know that awful rush of running around trying to find things when you’re running late? It sucks. Try gathering everything you need to bring with you and putting them somewhere convenient where you know you won’t forget anything. It makes leaving the house so much more peaceful.
Leave these out of your morning
Uncomfortable clothes. It’s possible to dress comfortable and cute. If you have work clothes that you really hate wearing, get rid of them. No one needs to be dressing themselves in uncomfortable clothing early in the morning.
Fancy hair. I’m sure a few of you would disagree with me on this. Maybe you feel like you have to wash and style your hair each day. I’m betting there are other options if you get creative though. Look for a few tried and true hairstyles that you can do in less than two minutes, like a messy bun or a simple side braid, and rotate them throughout the week.
Fancy makeup. Makeup can totally be fun. I love to try out new styles and products on my face, but I’ve started reserving those for the weekends. Unless your job is to sell makeup, you could probably get away with just a few basics on work days and still look pretty and professional. Bonus points if you don’t have to wear any makeup at all.
Lots of jewelry. I only wear earrings and my wedding ring. It’s simple and easy and it doesn’t take me long to pick out one pair of earrings to wear. It would take even less time if I wore the same pair everyday, but I like variety a little too much.
Too many products. Paring down on the products that you use can have several benefits. First of all, you don’t spend as much time putting them on. Second of all, you don’t spend as much money purchasing them all. And third, your face might actually end up happier. Lately my face has been reacting to almost everything I put on it. As a result, my skincare routine is extremely minimal. I don’t even wash it in the morning. My skin is much happier and I save a lot of time and money. Definitely consider using less products, the results might surprise you.
I have a 30 minute commute (on the best days) so that gives me the time I need to wake up and become a decent person before I show up at work. If I lived 5 minutes away from the house, I might need to give myself more time to be awake before I showed up and started interacting with other humans. I’m still kind of sad not to have my quiet times in the morning, but beating rush hour has been SO worth it. I’m grateful I have a job that is flexible with when I come and go.
Leave a comment and let me know your morning routine secrets!