I am not a morning person. If there’s an option to snooze 5 more minutes, I will always take it. To give myself that extra 5 minutes of sleep in the morning, I’m always looking for ways to shorten my morning routine.
Whether you’re a morning person or not, the tips below will help you save time in the morning and make your mornings feel more relaxed and less stressful.
1. Meal prep for the week
On Sundays, I prep my breakfasts and lunches for the week. I aim for simple foods that are easy to transport, freeze well, and reheat well.
For all my meals, I use Rubbermaid containers that are both freezer and microwave safe. If you’d like to avoid plastic, you can use mason jars instead.
Meal prep examples for breakfast:
- Yogurt and granola. I buy big containers of yogurt and spoon individual portion sizes into containers. I portion out the granola into separate containers, too.
- Eggs and sausage. I cook a big batch of eggs and sausage on Sunday. I divide the batch into individual portion sizes and toss the containers in the freezer. The night before I plan to eat a container of the eggs and sausage, I move the container to the refrigerator.
Meal prep examples for lunch:
- Chili. I love me some chili. It’s easy to make a big batch, divide it into individual containers, and store in the freezer. I move a container from the freezer to the refrigerator the night before I plan to eat it.
- Baked potatoes. Baked potatoes are another item you can cook in bulk and freeze until you plan to eat it.
Meal prep examples for snacks:
- Hummus and pita chips. You can buy a big package of hummus and divide it into individual containers for the week. You can do the same thing with pita chips (keeping them in separate containers so the pita chips don’t get soggy).
- Fruits and veggies. Wash fruits and veggies on Sunday, divide into individual containers, and store in your refrigerator until time to eat.
2. Pack your breakfast, lunch, and snacks the night before
You’ve already done the hard part of meal prep. Now all you have to do is pack your lunch bag for the next day.
I use this stretchy fabric bag as my lunch bag. It’s easy to carry and I can toss it in the washing machine when it gets dirty.
Put all the items you plan to eat at work into your lunch bag — breakfast, lunch, and snacks. If you’re planning on eating breakfast at home, keep your breakfast separate. I eat breakfast at work while I’m going through emails in the morning, so I pack mine to go.
If you plan to eat something from the freezer that needs to be thawed out, take it out of the freezer and put it in your lunch bag.
If you don’t have room in the refrigerator for your entire lunch bag, put the items that don’t need to be kept cold in your lunch bag and put the bag next to the refrigerator. Place the items that need to be kept cold together in the same area in the refrigerator. Before you leave for work the next morning, you’ll just grab all the items in this one area of the refrigerator and toss them in your lunch bag.
TIP: If you have a hard time remembering to grab your lunch in the morning, follow the step above to separate your cold and non-cold items and keep your lunch bag outside the refrigerator with the non-cold items. Place your lunch bag in a place where you can’t miss seeing it in the morning. That place might not be by the refrigerator or even in the kitchen. I’m guilty of forgetting my lunch, so I keep my lunch bag in a hallway that I walk by every morning.
3. Check the next day’s weather the night before
Check the weather for the next day the night before. If it’s going to rain the next day, set out rain accessories by the door. This includes your umbrella, raincoat, and/or rain boots. If it’s going to be cold or will snow, set out winter accessories by the door. This includes your winter coat, gloves, hat, and/or snow boots.
Setting these items out the night before means you’ll be more prepared for the weather and won’t spend your morning running around trying to locate lost gloves or boots.
4. Lay out clothes the night before
You’ve already checked the weather, so you can use that to help you decide what to wear the next day.
When you lay out your clothes for the next day, lay out absolutely everything you’ll need. This includes undergarments, accessories, socks, and shoes. If something needs to be washed or can’t be found, you want to know this the night before – not when you’re already running late in the morning.
If you haven’t worn a clothing item for a while, try it on the night before to make sure it still fits. Last minute outfit changes can be stressful during the morning. It’s less frustrating when you can make this change at night.
5. Organize toiletries
Put all the toiletries you’ll need in the morning together in one place. I put all my morning items together in these plastic baskets. In the morning, I just grab the basket off the shelf and get going with my morning routine.
6. Consider taking your shower at night
If you usually take your shower in the morning, consider taking it at night. I need the morning shower to help wake me up, so I take my shower in the morning.
7. Delay drying your hair
If you’re like me and need your morning shower, don’t blow dry your hair right after you get out of the shower. Do anything else that needs to get done – get dressed, put on makeup, throw your refrigerated items into your lunch bag – and then blow dry your hair.
By allowing your hair to air dry a little bit, you save time when you are ready to blow dry it. Plus, you reduce damage to your hair because it’ll be exposed to heat for a shorter time.
8. Create a designated area for your keys & “must-take” items
Create a designated area where you always put your keys. Every time you come home or use your keys, return them to this designated area.
If you always keep your keys in the same area, you won’t waste precious time in the morning trying to search for them.
TIP: If you have little ones at home who love to hide keys, keep them in an area that is out of reach.
Some items you might take with you every day, like your laptop or your purse. These are easier to remember. Other items, like school projects or dry cleaning, might be harder to remember because you don’t bring them with you every day.
Designate an area for all the items that you must take with you in the morning. The night before put everything you need to take in the morning in this designated area.
Forgetting something important can have a big impact on your day. By putting all the items in one spot, you’ll be less likely to forget something important.
Whether you’re a morning person or not, these simple tips will make your mornings less stressful and help you save time during your morning routine.