Need a little extra shut-eye in the morning? (Don’t we all!) If you tend to hit the snooze button a few more times than you should, rest assured that you can still simplify your morning routine to get out the door in 10 minutes flat, looking and feeling your best. Michelle LaRowe, author of Working Mom’s 411: How to Manage Kids, Career & Home and A Mom’s Ultimate Book of Lists, offers these practical tips:
1. Start the night before. Avoid the morning rush by doing everything you possibly can to prep for the next day the night before. Shower at night. Iron your clothes and lay them out where they’ll be easily accessible. If you really want to treat yourself, opt for a laundry or dry cleaning service that presses your clothes for you and delivers them right to your door.
Never waste time searching for your car keys or favorite necklace! Place your deodorant, earrings, watch, belt and any other accessories right next to your clothes. Keep everything else you need ready and waiting by the front door: your purse, keys, cell phone, shoes, briefcase, umbrella, coat, etc.
Program and prep the coffeemaker to have your morning cup o’ joe ready and waiting. Keep a to-go cup next to the coffeemaker, and have a grab-and-go breakfast handy (see below).
Feel like you simply must take a shower in the morning to get up and running, and a splash of cold water on the face doesn’t cut it? Use a quality shampoo that can stand a two-day test so you’ll only have to wet and wash your hair every other day.
2. Perfect the low ponytail. Practice easy, straightforward hairstyles that look sleek and sophisticated -- yet take less than a minute to put in place. If you have long hair, a low ponytail looks professional and polished. Since you showered the night before, all you’ll need to do is run a brush through your hair and cinch it with an elastic band.
Don’t have long hair? Go for a short cut that you can style just by running a little styling cream through it. Got bed-head? Try a fun scarf, a headband or other hair accessory to cover problem spots. Haven’t had time to wash your hair? Sprinkle a little baby powder in your hands and rub it into the roots of your hair to absorb any excess oil.
3. Minimize your makeup routine. Experiment with your makeup to figure out which basics you absolutely need to feel good, and eliminate the rest from your morning routine. You might auto-pilot on eye shadow and eyeliner every morning, but maybe you can get by with a brush of powder, a sweep of lip gloss and a quick application of mascara to save precious minutes. Keep those items handy in a cup on your bathroom sink, and stash the rest in your makeup bag for a Friday night out. Keep a separate makeup bag in your desk at work for those days when you really feel like you could use a bit more of a touch-up, and bring it with you when you take a bathroom break.
4. Delegate and duplicate. Keep spares of anything you might need in your car or in your office: a spare shirt, a spare suit, underwear, deodorant, basic makeup, a toothbrush -- then if you spill coffee on your shirt or realize that you forgot to put on deodorant until after you’re out the door, you can finish getting ready at the office.
Delegate any morning tasks that could keep you from getting out the door fast to others. For instance, hire a dog walker or ask your husband to take out the trash -- and save any nonessentials until after you get home from work.
5. Grab breakfast to go. As you simplify your morning routine, make sure to set one rule in stone: Never skip breakfast to save time! You’ll be more productive throughout the day (and be less tempted to snack or overeat later) if you eat in the morning.
Instead, make your breakfast a moveable feast. There are plenty of healthy grab-and-go options that you can have ready and waiting to walk out the door. Keep your fridge stocked with portable options like hard-boiled eggs, yogurt, cheese sticks, smoothies and fruit. Bake muffins over the weekend to grab during the week. Stash a banana and a cereal bar in your purse the night before. And if you can keep a box of cereal and milk at the office, be extra-efficient with your morning by eating breakfast while you go through last night’s email; you’ll find that having a healthy breakfast will soon become an afterthought.
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