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Mornings are busy, and they can be quiet chaotic. If you have a young family and plenty of people to get ready and out the door, you know this first hand. If you are like me with an empty nest, even organizing our morning routine has some challenges and opportunities for improvement. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way, no matter how busy you think you are first thing in the day.

Earlier I shared with you how the early hours in the morning set the tone for the entire rest of the day. You have the power to choose how your day will unfold.

Do you want that to be rushed, frantic, and feeling like you’re continuously in chaos and trying to catch up?

Or do you want it to be calm, collected, productive, and with a feeling that you’re in control?

It’s up to you, and it’s all about embracing three simple concepts.

Get Up Early Enough

It’s tempting to hit the snooze button and catch a few more minutes of sleep, isn’t it? It’s even hard to set the alarm early enough that you have plenty of time for everything you want and need to get done. I get it. If you’re not a morning person, moving up the alarm by 30 minutes to carve out a little extra time can be tough. Trust me though, after the first few mornings it’s not nearly as hard as you think and something you’ll quickly get used to.

Getting up early enough and avoiding the snooze button at all costs is the key to an unrushed morning. Here’s the problem with cutting time too short, or worse hitting the snooze button a few times. It gets you behind from the very start. You have to rush to make it out the door in time.

Therefore, any little problem or speed bump along the way turns into a huge problem. Not being able to find the car keys is suddenly a crisis because it could cause you to be late for work and scheduled appointments. Remember, your morning sets the tone for the rest of your day. If you start your day racing the clock, that’s likely how you’ll spend the rest of the day. One tip for breaking the snooze button habit is to place the alarm clock away from your bed so that you have to get out of bed to stop the alarm. In the beginning, this made a huge difference for me. Once I was out of bed, I would see my daily morning routine list beside my alarm clock, and my mind would begin moving towards the goals that I had defined.

Getting up early enough puts you in control of your time. You can take care of everything that needs doing calmly and still have time for achieving your stated priorities for the day. In short, getting up early enough sets you up for a fantastic, productive day.

Restructure Your Routine

Before we wrap this up, spend a little time thinking about your current morning routine and how your time is used in those early hours. Look for opportunities to find more time for the things you really want to do.

For example, if you want an extra 20 minutes in the morning to meditate, look at what you could take care ahead of time, eliminate, or delegate to make that time. This may mean changes to your breakfast routine, organizing clothes ahead of time, or even smaller tasks like moving trash to the curb or dropping off bill payments into the mailbox.

Small changes to your morning routine can make a big difference. I challenge you to come up with a few minor tweaks that will save you at least 30 minutes in the morning.

Here are some life hack suggestions:

Organize your clothes, lunch and gym bag the night before.

An even bigger life hack is to prepare your outfits for the upcoming week on the day that you do laundry. For example, if Saturday is laundry day, decide on your outfits for the next six days and hang your clothes in the closet based on the day that you will wear each outfit. Eliminate the “what to wear” decisions!

Drink a large glass of iced water immediately after you wake up to jolt your system into action

Save time in the shower by simplifying your routine. Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Liquid Soap can be used as a body wash AND shampoo, saving you the time of switching between products. The lavender scent is refreshing in the morning, but there are several other scents available.

Prepare your schedule the day before, or even for the entire week. Review the list of day's activities and events when you turn off your alarm. Some people use a Bullet Journal to organize their day.

Read the entire series in these blog posts:

The Impact of a Daily Morning Routine

Ideas for Creating a Perfect Morning Routine

Finding Time in a Busy Morning Using Lean Principles

Best Things First: A Morning Routine Makeover

Starting Over with an Inspiring Morning Routine

The Importance of Habits and Routines

Review and Improve Your Morning Routine

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