If you haven’t noticed by now, I have a little bit of an obsession with the efficient use of time throughout the day. You’ll rarely catch me without a watch or a clock nearby, and I’m always optimizing my processes for maximum efficiency. It’s something that has allowed me to get a lot done to this point in my life. It’s more or less arisen out of necessity.
For some reason I like to do a lot of different things in all walks of life, so in order to accomplish it all, I need to come up with ways to make very efficient use of my time to keep up. Because of this, I’ve gone through a decent amount of productivity training in my life.
With this post I’d like to share with you just one of those ways – A morning routine strategy I’ve crafted to get up and out the door in a very short amount of time. Since I’ve been using these principles, I’ve gone from alarm to out the door in about 45 minutes, to alarm and out the door in about 15 minutes – a 30 minute reduction! Of course everyone’s time savings will be different. The point is, there is a lot of room for improvement here.
Before getting too far into it, I want to explain why you should craft a morning routine if you don’t already have one. See, efficiency is aided by establishing repeatable and simple routines (aka systems). In short, by establishing an easily repeatable morning routine you will basically put yourself on autopilot as you wake up, greatly reducing the chance you’ll do something in a groggy stupor like leave your keys on the sink and spend 10 minutes looking for them.
Most likely your morning routine is very different from mine so I doubt you really want me to share my exact routine with you (unless you’re just a little creepy). So what I’ll do is share the principles that drive my morning routine. That way you can craft your own routine around them.
Minimize Morning Tasks
This one revolves around the idea of quick and easy preparation for the things you’ll need to do in the morning as well as eliminating any other tasks you might have to do. To do this, do things like:
- Pick out the clothes you’ll wear the night before, including jacket, shoes, etc
- Choose the breakfast you will eat and prepare the breakfast dishes and utensils you will use
- Grab a quick shower and shave the night before
- Set the things you need for work in an easily accessible spot, or go ahead and put them in the car
- Strategically place things so you minimize the travel distance in your house (in and out of rooms, up and down the steps, etc)
Sure, all of this will take you a little bit of planning and time to set up, but it will save you tons of time in the long run. It usually takes a while for a person to fully wake up in the morning, so instead of spending 15 minutes thumbing through your closet, you’ll be ready with what you want to wear instantly. Same thing with the shower. If it fits your lifestyle, grabbing aquick shower the night before saves you from standing under the shower head for an extra 5 minutes dreading the often cold and unpleasant towel off (guys – stop picturing the girl in the picture above in a towel).
Think about the things you do in the morning and see what you can do to set them up the night before. It’ll make your morning a lot easier.
Lose the Snooze Dude
You probably don’t want to hear it, but basically this involves ditching your snooze button. Kiss it goodbye, because all it does is waste time and make it more difficult for your body to wake up. If you snooze three times, that’s over 20 minutes of wasted time. Snooze button sleep does nothing but make you more tired and train your body not to wake up in the morning. It’s very counterproductive.
Take a couple of weeks and just hop up when your alarm goes off. It’ll be hard at first, but you’ll get used to it in no time. On top of saving you all of that time that is otherwise wasted laying in bed while you’re nothing more than a living zombie, you’ll notice after about 5-7 days you’ll start waking up feeling nice and refreshed and you probably won’t even need an alarm – because your body will naturally know it’s time to wake the heck up!
If you want to know more about this strategy check out how to become a morning person here. That article goes much more into detail about the physiological effects of snoozing and the benefits to be gained.
Make Effective Use of Travel Time
If you’ve got a bit of a commute in the morning, like most of us do, use that time to knock out tasks you may otherwise do at home, or even at the office. Maybe you’ve got an early call to make. If you can get the other party to agree why not handle it from the car and get it out of the way (make sure to use a hands free set).
Something I have been doing a lot of lately is eating breakfast on the go. If you can learn a few healthy smoothie recipes, these are great to throw together in the blender in the morning and drink on the go. It saves you from sitting at the table watching TV or getting otherwise distracted.
Being an early bird can help you save quite a bit of travel time as well. If you can get out the door 30 minutes before rush hour hits and you have a flexible schedule, you’ll save yourself from sitting in traffic in the morning and on the way home (since you can most likely leave work sooner), which can sometimes result in 20-30 minutes of time saved each day, or more.
Think about other ways you can use your travel time effectively and you’ll come up with your own ways to save time – Just don’t go getting dressed or shaving in the car or anything like that. That’s a bit extreme!
Putting It All Together
There are certainly other ways you can save time in the morning, but if you structure a routine around these three principles, you can save yourself up to a couple of hours per week – and you can get a lot of other things done in those couple of hours – especially if you keep reading Academy Success!
To Your Success!