I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing I like less than the feeling of being stressed in the mornings. What a terrible way to start the day! And the saddest thing is, it really sets the tone for the rest of the day, leaving you feeling flustered, flummoxed and a bit overwhelmed by the simplest of tasks because your brain is still in marathon mode.
Luckily, being on time and taking your morning at a relaxed pace really just boils down to adopting a few simple techniques that ease the whole process along for you and make the start of your day a happier, more positive experience. Here are a few tricks I can’t function without:
YOUR SNOOZE TIME
1. Establish how long you think it takes you to get dressed and out the door every morning, set your alarm and wake up accordingly. For me, washing, drying and styling my hair takes ages. So on days I need to wash my hair in the morning, I wake up 1hr and 30mins before I need to leave. All this being said, I do find that the most efficient way to save time is to wash and dry your hair the night before.
2. Magazines often tell you not to press the snooze button on your phone/alarm clock and instead, make a habit of getting out of bed as soon as your alarm rings. But we all know that’s easier said than done! I personally don’t think there’s anything that wrong with the snooze button and I like the idea of knowing I have ten more minutes to just laze around in bed. However, if you want to indulge your snooze fantasy, make sure you set your alarm for ten minutes earlier than normal, so it isn’t eating into your getting ready time and delaying you in the process.
3. Once you’re awake and sitting up in bed, designate five minutes of your morning to doing an activity you really enjoy – play with your dog, stretch, meditate or upload a photo to Instagram, if you like. Trust me, these five little golden minutes will help start your day on a high note and put you in a great mood for the rest of the day.
4. Lay out your outfit the night before, all the way down to underwear, socks, accessories and shoes. It’ll save you from fumbling around and rummaging through your closet in the morning wondering where the nude bra you wear under your white shirt is, or how you’re going to find the time to iron out your skirt.
5. Pack your handbag the night before, too. Making sure you have all your essentials in place before you leave the house, stops you fumbling around looking for things, so all you have to do is grab your bag and go!
6. Make a great watch one of your everyday must-have accessories. If you’ve been a little watch-shy in the past, the trick is to find a little time spending one you absolutely adore so you’ll never want to take it off and will keep glancing down at it all day, making sure you always know what time it is (and you’re always on time as a result!) Plus wearing a watch makes you look so much more professional and put-together than somebody who checks the time on their phone.
7. Lay out your hair tools the night before, too. I use both, straightening tongs and a curling iron on my hair and keep them both plugged in using a multiple plug socket, but with the power off. When I get out of bed in the morning, the first thing I do is switch the power on so the tools have enough time to heat up while I shower and do my makeup, so they are hot and style a lot quicker once I start working on my hair.
8. My cheat sheet to polished waves without wasting heaps of time on them? After you wash and dry your hair the night before, tie it in a low bun and spritz the bun with a little hairspray. When you open it up in the morning, 85% of the waves will already be done for you, so all you have to do is go over any unruly/frizzy bits with a curling iron, which shouldn’t take more than five minutes!
YOUR BEAUTY REGIME
9. Do your nails the night before. It not only saves you time, it helps you look polished and it avoids the dreaded phone ringing in your purse right after you’ve painted your nails scenario. This also applies for shaving your legs. Do it the night before if you’re wearing a skirt or dress the next day, and then slather your legs with some body butter before bed. Your legs will silky smooth in the morning, and it saves you having to moisturize twice!
10. Use multi-tasking products as far as you possibly can. A shower gel with exfoliating microbeads so you don’t need to use a scrub again, a two-in-one shampoo + conditioner which breaks hair washing down into one easy step, a BB cream with SPF so you don’t have to apply sunblock and then foundation, a de-tangling product that acts like a leave-in conditioner which kills two birds with one stone. You get the picture. These beauty heroes cut your regime in half, and leave your bathroom clutter-free. Win!
11. Organize the makeup products you use everyday and put them all in one place so you’re not stuck rummaging through six different little makeup pouches to find your mascara.
12. If you can, skip the liquid eyeliner. Seriously. Nobody really has the time to match both eyes up perfectly, use tape to get the flicks just right or re-do it when it all goes wrong. This video will convince you if you aren’t already. If you absolutely must line your eyes, use a black or brown kohl on the lower lashline instead. Much easier and quicker!
.13. My quick, speedy and polished makeup routine for days I’m running late is BB cream, blusher and a little highlighter, groomed brows, mascara and a light pink lipstick or lip balm.
.14. But if you don’t have time for even that, your best bet is to swipe on a bright red lipstick. It’ll make your teeth look whiter, your face look more awake and your outfit look well put-together and glamorous.
15. The quickest breakfast you could eat in the morning is one that isn’t cooked. So corn flakes like Special K with skimmed milk and a fruit or high fibre granola with low fat yoghurt are both healthy and fast.
16. You could also prepare a smoothie packed with fruit and ground almonds, some oats or a protein shake the night before and leave it in the fridge overnight. Just grab as you go when you’re walking out the door and drink in transit.
17. However, if you’re a coffee / tea and toast kinda gal, put the kettle on as soon as you finish your shower so it has plenty of time to heat up and get to the perfect temperature, without it being too hot you need to wait for it to cool or too cold you’ll need to re-heat it. As for the toast, put it in the toaster while you’re putting on your shoes and grabbing your bag.
18. Eggs require a significant amount of cooking time, so unless you’re a seasoned pro or have an extra 10-15mins to spare, I wouldn’t suggest going down the eggs for breakfast route. Unless, of course, its the weekend.
YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA
19. Social media, reading magazines and responding to emails is best done on the train or bus on your way to work. However, if you drive or the signal on your route is terrible, catch up on your daily dose while you’re eating your breakfast. Just remember to keep an eye on your watch so you know when it’s time for you to leave!
20. And lastly, if you’re new at this whole morning-management thing. Don’t fret. Just set little alarms till you start getting used to it to help you along your way. One after snooze time, one after your shower, one after getting dressed, one after breakfast when its time to leave home. You’ll be a pro in no time!