AVOID THE MORNING MADNESS: TIPS FOR GETTING OUT OF THE DOOR ON TIME
Even for the best of morning people, getting out of the house in one polished, put-together piece can be quite the challenge. When it’s still dark outside, your bed is cozy, and your alarm is telling you it’s time to get up if you want that shower, nothing sounds better than that extra 30 minutes of snoozing—until you realize what a horrible mistake you’ve made while you’re scrambling around and trying to find your keys and run out of the door without bringing your lunch (again). Heaven forbid you also have kids to get ready, because that just adds even more to the chaos (can’t tell you how many times you might have to shout “GET YOUR SHOES ON NOW!” before your kiddo finally meanders out the door while pointing at the neighbor’s dog).
But, fellow procrastinators, not every morning for the rest of your career needs to be a disaster. The secret to getting out of the door in one piece and having a stress-free morning is just a little preparation prior to those early morning hours. Try these simple tips to improve your routine and help you get out of the door—and into work—on time.
- Prep the night before: Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Still, very few people take the time they actually need the night before to get ready for the next day and simplify their rush out the door. Prepare and pack your own lunch (and the kids’ if you have them) and stick everything you need in a baggie in the fridge so you can grab it and go.
- Lay your clothes out: It worked when you were 10, and it still works now. Check the weather and plan your outfit accordingly the night before by setting everything you’ll need (socks and underwear included) in an easy to locate spot for quick dressing in the morning. If you find that the specific sweater you wanted to wear needs a wash, it’s the perfect time to do a quick load of laundry so you can be clean and fresh at work.
- Put things where you won’t forget them: Nasty habit of losing your car keys? Decide on a permanent designated spot for your keys and then PUT THEM THERE so you always know where to find them. A hook by the door works great so you can grab them on your way out.
- Give yourself extra time: If you know you just naturally run 20 minutes late, correct the issue by getting up 20 minutes earlier and giving yourself more time in the morning. With the rest of your prep, it will help your morning slow down and allow you to do everything you need without feeling like you’re in a huge rush to leave.
- Check the car ahead of time: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten in my car, late for work, only to find that my gas light is on. Make a habit of filling up the tank on your way home from work so it’s always ready to go in the morning. Keep an eye out for tire pressure and always make sure to get your car maintenance on its recommended schedule to avoid any last minute malfunctions.
- Don’t forget the small stuff: Some things can’t be prepped in advance (have a pet that needs a quick walk to relieve itself before you leave? Need to eat breakfast? Is Thursday trash day?) so figure out how much time you need to handle the little chores and factor that into the amount of time you give yourself in the morning.
- Get yourself ready first: If you’ve properly prepared, it’s much faster in the long run to get yourself completely ready and then worry about the rest. This is especially important if you have little ones who need to get dressed, as it is far easier to get yourself ready if you aren’t distracted and trying to get them to behave and dress themselves as well.
- Go to bed early: If your biggest problem with getting up in the morning is that you’re too tired to wake up, make sure you’re going to bed earlier and giving yourself enough sleep so you’ll wake feeling refreshed and energized to start the new day. As much fun as it is, do you really need to stay up watching that Law & Order: SVU episode?
Even when you’ve prepared everything you can think of, sometimes the unexpected just happens. We’ve all been there. However, showing up late once in a blue moon is a far cry from being late every day, and if you implement these changes, you’ll see a positive change in your life.