I am always the first to admit that I am not a morning person. Never in my life have I enjoyed getting up early and you can bet that it’s getting pretty frustrating that my body’s internal clock won’t let me sleep past 9:30am on weekends. This doesn’t exactly make for the perfect recipe for getting up early to get to work on time, especially if I went to sleep later than my midnight bedtime, which I in all honesty tend to do often.
But what I lack in willpower (hello five alarms that I snooze every 15 minutes) I make up for in shortcuts! Despite my lack of a regular bedtime and inability to get up more than a half hour before I need to leave I’ve managed not to be late to work once. My secret? I’ve gotten into some good habits that save me time in the morning and ensure I get out the door with plenty of time to spare even if I don’t wake up on time. Hopefully they can help you get to work on time – even if you egregiously oversleep – too!
1. Start filling up your car with gas after work, not before.
The last thing you need when you’re running late to work is to realize that you don’t have enough gas in your tank to safely make it to work on time! It’s easy to think that filling up your car with gas takes you no time at all if you’re used to getting it when you aren’t on a time limit, but the reality of the matter is it takes you at least five minutes to fill up when there aren’t a million people on the road. Not to mention the rush hour traffic that you’ll hit going in and out of the station that will slow you down. So get in the habit of filling up your tank on the way home so you never have to worry about it in the morning.
2. Set a recurring alarm, and always set multiple.
If you’re like me and you have a regular 9-5 job (well, 8:30-5:30) that requires you to come to work at the same time every day, make sure you set your alarm to go off every day that you work (for me, Monday-Friday). This way you can never forget to set your alarm! If your work schedule varies, schedule all the alarms you’ll need at the beginning of the week so you won’t need to worry about it later. My other trick is that I set multiple alarms, at 6:15, 6:30, 6:45, 7:00, and 7:05. While you may not need as long as I do to truly wake up and get out of bed (it’s a struggle in the morning, y’all), setting an extra alarm or two will ensure that you always have a failsafe if you somehow miss your first one.
3. Pack your lunch and make your breakfast the night before.
Okay, maybe not the second one, but if you’re like me and prefer to eat overnight oats or a smoothie for breakfast, those are definitely things you can make the night before so you don’t have to worry about it in the morning! Toss all of your overnight oats ingredients into a Tupperware, or freeze everything you need for a smoothie in a bag, and it’ll take you no time to ensure that you get a balanced breakfast each morning. And if you bring your lunch, trust me, it’s so much better to make it the night before. I always bring my lunch to work because that way I know what I’m eating and I’m saving money by not eating out. Making it the night before means you won’t have to worry about spending precious time throwing a sandwich together for lunch last-minute if you wake up late, or worse, not bringing one and spending money to eat out rather than eating what you’ve already paid for (but if you like doing this, you do you!).
4. Choose your outfit the night before and set it out in your room.
Even if it’s just your work uniform, put it out where it’s easily accessible! Make sure to put out everything that you need: socks, shoes, undergarments, accessories, everything. You might think that you have a sense of how to put together a trendy outfit, but the reality of the matter is that you’ll spend more time in the morning looking for where you left things than putting them on! This will ensure that you never discover that all your work shirts are dirty as you’re rushing to get ready, and if you miss your alarms, you won’t have to worry about finding a cute outfit to wear to the office last-minute. And even if you change your mind in the morning and decide to wear a different outfit, you won’t have wasted all that time trying to put together the first one only to have it not work out.
5. Pack your work bag before you go to sleep, too.
Occasionally I’ll go out after work and transfer my car keys, sunglasses, wallet, chapstick, etc to another purse, so I always make sure to put everything back in my work bag before I go to sleep so I won’t forget it in the morning! This works especially well if you change what bag you bring to work everyday, or if you need to bring different things with you depending on the day (looking at you, college students). You don’t want to have to go scavenging for everything that you need in all different places when you realize that your alarm didn’t go off.
6. Shower at night, blow dry your hair in the morning.
You’re probably looking at your screen with the biggest look of befuddlement in the world right now, but trust me, it works! I never wake up early enough to shower in the morning, so I shower at night. The flip side is that I hate going to sleep with wet hair and it drying into a weird wavy mess, but I never wanted to take the 15 minutes to blow dry my hair at night to fix it. Quite the predicament! The solution? I wash my hair right before I go to bed, put it into a tight bun, and take it out to blow dry it in the morning! It partially dries overnight but is still pretty damp by the time you wake up, resulting in a 5 minute blow dry that looks just as good as the 15 minute blow dry you would have done the night before! And you save yourself the extra 15 minutes you would have taken to get undressed, shower, and dry off before you start your blow dry, too.
7. Brew your coffee first thing when you get up, prepare it the night before, or set it to a schedule.
Modern day technology can really be amazing sometimes, and in this case we’ve really lucked out. As an avid iced coffee drinker, I primarily use a cold brew diffuser that will make my coffee overnight in my fridge, so when I get up in the morning all I have to do it pour my coffee into my tumbler, throw in some cream and sugar, and head out.
Some traditional coffee pots will also allow you to fill it with the grounds and water the night before and will automatically brew your coffee at a specific time, ensuring you’ll always get your cup of joe before you go! If you don’t have a coffee pot with this feature, make sure it’s the first thing you do when you roll out of bed. During the time your coffee takes to brew you can be brushing your teeth, washing your face, and putting on your makeup rather than waiting for it to finish, making this method extra efficient.
8. If you wear makeup, make sure you know what the absolute minimal amount is that you can wear to work and still feel comfortable.
For me, the only things I can’t leave the house without wearing is foundation, eyebrow gel, and mascara, which will take me 3 minutes max to do. Add crayon eyeliner, blush, and bronzer, and we’re at 5 minutes. Liquid eyeliner and fleeky brows? 10-15 minutes. Contouring and eye shadow on top of that and we’re at 20-30 minutes, and a full-blown face is 45. Essentially, know how much time it takes you to do things, how much time you have, and pick and choose accordingly. In all honesty, I find that my makeup looks almost exactly the same regardless of whether I rushed or took my time, which is almost infuriating to say the least. Regardless, don’t try to do your full face if it takes 20 minutes and you have 10!
9. Know at exactly the latest you need to leave in the morning to still make it to work on time.
After working at the same time every day for about three months, I’ve managed to get my morning routine down to about 25 minutes to a half hour, and in general I’ve realized that waking up at 7:30 sets me up to be out the door right on time. If I leave my apartment at 8:05, I will make it to the parking lot at work at 8:20 and I will be at my desk at 8:25 on the dot, meaning 8:05 is the latest I will ever leave my apartment if I can help it. If I’m running late, the latest I can leave my apartment is 8:10 and still make it to my desk by exactly 8:30, so my entire morning routine will depend on how close to 8:10 I wake up!
Overall, what matters the most is that you’re able to tailor your morning routine down to get out the door on time, in whatever manner possible. That may mean skipping breakfast, or makeup, or coffee, but that’s okay! With any luck these tips will help you get control of your morning routine.
Do you have a morning routine that you can’t live without, or one that you can’t wait to try? Let me know about it in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!