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There is nothing as difficult as getting out of bed for work in the morning. I remember when I was in school, and every time I tried to get ready, I always forgot something, whether it was brushing my teeth, changing my shoes from flip-flops, mismatching my clothes, you name it.

This is what inspired my 10-step program for getting ready each morning when I joined the workforce.

This is a trick I had to master over time to ensure I got the most out of a good night’s sleep and to avoid procrastinating before leaving for the office. It basically goes like this:

  1. Brush my teeth – I usually do this at the same time as my shower
  2. Wash my face and put on makeup – I use basic makeup to save time
  3. Fix my hair – A simple hairdo suitable for work is best.
  4. Make my bed – Ok, sometimes I forget to do this, but who’s judging?
  5. Get dressed – My outfit has been planned the night before.
  6. Put on my shoes – Having them near the door will save me a minute or two.
  7. Pack my meals – I select one of my frozen lunch meals and breakfast to go.
  8. Pack my laptop and other work tools – I use a checklist to ensure I have everything.
  9. Turn off all electronics – Safety is key.
  10. Grab my keys and I’m out the door – This part is self-explanatory!

Sure, this can sometimes take longer than 10 minutes but it will hardly go over 15.

Furthermore, there are some do’s and don’ts that will keep your preparation time in the morning well under 10 minutes.

Do: Plan the Night Before

Part of what makes up a lot of time when preparing in the morning is poor planning. There are a number of things you can sort out the night before.

Choose Your outfit

Before going to bed, take a look at your wardrobe and see what you would like to wear to work the next day. Once you have chosen your desired outfit, you can iron it and hang it up, ready for the morning.

Planning your outfit the night before gives you the time to mix and match.

Wash Your Hair and Groom as Much as Possible

Both men and women like to look good and feel great, even on a workday, but there are some grooming habits that can take up a lot of time if done in the morning.

Try washing your hair the night before. You can condition it, comb it and then tie it up, ready to be brushed out in the morning.

Other grooming habits that can be done the night before include shaving. Those who have sensitive skin or are avid fans of skincare regimens also know it is advisable to do this in the evening.

Plan Your Meals

If your company offers hot lunch, you are in luck.

If you are the type that likes to carry packed meals, then it’s a good idea to prepare your meals and pack them the night before.

If you meal prep by cooking food for the whole week and freezing the leftovers, you will save even more time.

Sort Your Chores

If you are living the bachelor life, then your home is not going to clean itself. You can take some time the night before to do your laundry, do some light cleaning and clear up the dishes.

This is not only a mature thing to do, but it also keeps your house clean and hygienic.

Turn In Early

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You need to get adequate rest in order to be ready for another full workday. Once you have planned for the next morning, you need to go to bed early.

You can choose to watch something you enjoy or read a book.

Prepare a nice cup of tea or cocoa to warm up your body. This will have you feeling sleepy in no time.

While a nightcap is tempting, try to avoid alcohol before going to bed. Finally, turn your lights down low or off altogether. This will get you in the mood to sleep early as well.

Do: Have Breakfast on the Go

It is said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. According to Horizon Poll, eating breakfast will jumpstart your metabolism and help with hunger suppression.

If possible, you can pick up something to nibble on the way to work. However, this will encourage eating junk food and mess with your energy levels.

Breakfast intake, habits and body composition in New Zealand European women research have shown that breakfast intake has declined over the years. This is due to the ‘on-the-go’ lifestyle that many of us lead.

Did you know that breakfast consumption helps with physical activity, reduces smoking and alcohol cravings and keeps you from taking in fatty foods?

I usually stock up on granola bars, single servings of yoghurt and juice which I can eat in the car on the way to work. You can prepare a sandwich the night before along with your lunch meals so you can save precious time in the morning.

Don’t: Check your electronics before leaving for work

In this age of the mobile phone, a new habit has come up. When most people wake up, the first thing they do after turning off their alarm is to go online.

This habit can take up precious preparation time in the morning.

In addition, it can keep you up at night when you should be getting needed rest.

In order to have a proper work-life balance and to prevent fatigue, avoid carrying your work home unless absolutely necessary. Try to finish up your work from the office and completely shut down when you leave.

Work doesn’t only mean your laptop. It also means logging off your work email as well as restricting calls from work. Any pending projects can be handled the next day.

When preparing in the morning, listening to some music to get your blood flowing is allowed. However, it is not advisable to turn on your laptop or TV to watch a few minutes of your favourite show.

This is a sure way, just like social media, to leave late for work.

Don’t: Plan for a Wild Night out During Workdays

Even as we ensure that we have a proper work-life balance, wild nights out during the week are not advisable. Yes, there are times that workmates might want to have a drink before heading home, or a friend wants to catch up.

A night out when you are meant to report to work the next day is never a good idea. This is because you will probably drink and get home late. This then means you will either wake up late or drag yourself when getting ready in the morning.

Socializing is great, but do it in moderation and save it for the weekends or your days off.

Photo courtesy of Freepik by @prostooleh

Katrina
Author

I'm Katrina McKinnon, creator of eCommerce University, founder of McKinnon Group and Small Revolution. I'm using my 20 years' experience in building and operating online businesses to create engaging educational materials that helps others become successful online workers. Find me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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