Last month I conducted a little experiment. I tried to streamline our getting up and out of the house process to make it somewhat pleasant. You know to keep from screaming at everyone. Because “We’re late!!!” and “Get your shoes on! NOW!” is not a great way to start a family off on the right (albeit shoeless) foot.
My goal was less stress and more relaxing as we kick-started our day.
Whether heading to the office or getting kids off to school, here are a few lessons I learned as I worked at getting out of the house in as easy and pleasant a manner as possible:
The night before makes all of the difference.
Whatever can be done the night before should be done the night before. Laying out clothes, making lunches, getting the car packed are all tasks that take time in a rushed morning. Even a small undertaking like scooping coffee grounds into the filter is one less thing that needs to be executed during crunch time. If you wake up and find half your get-out-of-the-house work is already done, you’re better able to face the day without the frantic pace.
Getting up before everyone else gives you an edge.
Easier for some of us than others. Especially if you have children that wake up before the sun rises. But I feel I have a better grasp on the morning if I’m able to somewhat ease into it at my own pace. A cup of coffee in me, some quiet time of reflection and a little waking up allow me to better welcome the rest of my family to the day when they rise. If I can shower and put on makeup alone, even better.
Food forethought helps.
It turns out my kids want breakfast every morning, yet I still find myself wondering what to make when they wake up and say they’re hungry. And those who eat lunch at school want lunches made too! If I have a standard breakfast and lunch offering and plenty of the required ingredients in the fridge and cupboards, it takes the guesswork out of morning food prep and one less thing to occupy my limited attention and brain space.
Less clutter means more time.
How many minutes are spent scrambling, searching for keys, phones and permission slips as we try to get out the door? Cleaning out and organizing the things you need every morning will streamline your process, minimize frustration and decrease time wasted. If you know keys or your bus pass are a daily thing, designate a spot for them, where they are returned as soon as you come back home.
Leave the house the way you want to find it.
Walking in the door from a long day at work, or even from dropping someone off at preschool, to find crusty dishes on the kitchen counter, unmade beds and gloves scattered all over the floor is a disheartening welcome. Create enough space in your morning routine to put some things away and wipe down counters so you can breathe a sigh of relief when you return home. We’re not striving for perfection here, just a warm welcome home that we facilitate for ourselves.
Morning person or not, you can control some of the stress and hurry as you implement a few small, intentional steps that will help set the tone for the rest of your day.