We're constantly told that the secret to success is a dedication to productive mornings. But, we get it: mornings can be tough — especially if you're a night owl. Most days, after pushing your snooze button, you're rushing around just to get to work or school on time. While it might be hard to wake up bright and early, it's easy to make a few adjustments that will alleviate some of your a.m. stress. Here are 11 efficient projects to help you simplify your morning routine and get the most out of those early hours.
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Keep Your Lists Organized in One Place
The first step to making your mornings more productive is to prioritize what's important. And the simplest way to see what's a must-do and what's a save-for-later is to make a list. Schedule out your time by day, week and month, and then make a fabric memo board to keep these lists in one accessible spot. Add some photos and inspirational quotes to keep it light, too!
Pack Your Lunch the Night Before
This might seem tedious, but it actually accomplishes a couple of things: one, it allows you enough time to prep a lunch that you'll actually eat (so you won't end up going out for lunch when you see your sad sandwich in the office fridge), and two, it frees up so much time in the morning. Try making a chipotle cilantro pesto pasta to get this habit started — it's packed with flavor and stores well overnight.
Simplify Your Sleep and Awake Space
It's not just that clutter physically gets in the way when you're rushing to get ready in the morning, but it also makes things feel more hectic. A great way to streamline your morning is to simplify the space you're in. Start by making a modern nightstand for only the essentials, like an alarm clock. It will look and feel tidy, and motivate you to keep the rest of your room neat.
Get Your Outfit Ready the Night Before
Waiting until the morning to choose an outfit is unpredictable — sometimes you find a winner with the first pick, and other times you waste precious minutes trying on various options. Choose your outfit the night before, and then go a step further by hanging it in a designated place. This DIY garment rack project should hold only what you need for each day to come.
Keep the Day's Essentials in One Place
Once you've made the perfect designated place for your ready-to-wear outfit, you might start wondering what else you can do to shave off minutes and stress in the morning. Why not create a designated place for your other essentials as well? Turn a kilim rug into a modern bench that you can use to keep your briefcase, shoes and jacket all in one place. You'll have peace of mind knowing that you'll never forget these items again.
Subtract Time From Your Makeup Routine With Clearer Skin
Here's an alternate way to think about your morning makeup routine: cut down on the minutes you spend in front of the mirror and save money on expensive skin care items by introducing 3 DIY face masks into your ongoing schedule. You'll start to see a clearer, healthier complexion that may not need too much concealer. In fact, you might not even need to put on much makeup at all — and that will really save you time.
Make Your Own Quick Espresso for the A.M. Boost You Need
Some mornings, drip coffee doesn't cut it. When you really need that extra boost but don't have time to stop at your favorite cafe, you can use a french press to make espresso at home. Start the first steps before you get dressed, and after throwing on your pre-selected outfit, you only have a few more finishing touches before you can pour and go.
Prepare Easy Grab-and-Go Breakfasts
Now that your coffee is ready, your stomach should be grumbling. Don't think you have a moment to grub? Make your own granola bars to eat during your commute, and you'll enjoy a healthy and budget-friendly breakfast. Pro tip: Get these ready on the weekend when you have more free time.
Keep Small Items Together and Ready For Use
Doesn't it always feel like you're forgetting something right before you leave home for the day? There are your car keys, your phone, aspirin, lip balm, headphones — a long collection of items that are never where you need them to be. Avoid a frantic search for missing stuff and keep everything you might need in this DIY artsy canvas pouch. It can even stay in your daily bag so you always have your make-or-break items on hand.
Know How Much Battery You Have to Work With
You're finally in your car, and you're about to press play on a podcast, when your phone notifies you that it only has 10 percent battery remaining. Avoid this all-too-common scene with an easy iPhone fix: display the battery percentage on your screen, so you won't have to rely on notifications. And keep an extra charger in your bag, just in case.
Customize Your Email Routine
It can be easy to get bogged down in a daily slew of emails if you don't have a good way to organize them. Check out these 20 tips to get the most out of Gmail, which will simplify your entire day. Also, we recommend only checking your email when you're at work. After all, now that your mornings are organized, you can save the rest of your free time for relaxation.