Thank you to The Quaker Oats Company for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own.
As life has gotten busier, having a streamlined morning routine has always been something that was important to me. I certainly didn’t want to skip out on breakfast just to get some extra sleep, but I also didn’t want to waste that precious sleep time by being really inefficient in the morning, either.
Here are some of the ways I’ve worked to streamline my morning routine over the years. What are yours? I’d love to hear some new tips!
1) Put your phone across the room or outside the door so you can’t hit snooze. I used to occasionally hit snooze back in the day, but then I realized that it wasn’t actually giving me any extra quality sleep. I’d basically just lie there anxiously, half awake, knowing that my alarm was about to go off again. So now I always get up when my alarm goes off – no excuses and no getting back in bed. The easiest way for me to make sure this happens is putting my phone (which is my alarm clock) on a table just outside of our bedroom door. That way, I have to actually get up to turn off my alarm – and once I’m already out of bed it’s much easier to stay out of bed. (When we were in a small apartment I just had my phone on a dresser across the room – all that matters is that you can’t reach it from bed. This will also help with fostering a calming evening routine that doesn’t involve mindlessly scrolling through social media until 1 a.m., too!)
2) Don’t wash your hair every day. Obviously this one depends on whether you have hair that’s amenable to skipping some washes, but washing my hair every other or even every 3 days saves me a TON of time, especially since I have really thick hair that takes ages to wash. I generally try to plan super sweaty workouts (or swim workouts) on days when I know I was going to be washing my hair anyway. Dry shampoo helps a ton with this, too – it’s a lifesaver, especially if I’m on day 3. And then there’s also always the “toss your hair in a bun and move on with your life” approach, too.
3) Don’t blow dry your hair. This is another thing that saves me a TON of time – I used to blow dry my hair every single day when I was in high school and throughout most of college. Now I have a haircut that makes more sense for air drying (yay layers), and I have discovered that if I don’t brush my hair once I’m out of the shower (I only brush it in the shower) and just scrunch and let it air dry, it’s fine. Yes, it’s annoying to have wet hair when you start the workday sometimes, and I’m lucky that I have a career that is okay with wet hair. But this combined with #2 saves me a ton of time. I do curl my hair sometimes, but it only takes me 5 minutes (vs. 30 to 40 minutes to blow dry). I have to do the curl when my hair is dry, though, so often I’ll pack my curling iron in my work bag and do that once I get to my co-working space and my hair is dry.
4) Select a breakfast option that is easy. This can either be done with some meal prep/making recipes ahead of time (see also my post on Tips for Super Fast Weekday Breakfasts), or by simply finding breakfast options that take no time at all in the morning, like Quaker Overnight Oats.
You can read more about the Quaker Overnight Oats in my original blog post about them, but all you do is pour your milk or non-dairy milk of choice in the night before, put the container in the fridge to cold-steep overnight, and then it’s ready to eat in the morning. Made with 100% whole grain oats, quinoa, and flaxseed, they’re a good source of dietary fiber and they have no artificial flavors or added colors. My fave flavor is the Raisin Walnut & Honey Heaven. Having a breakfast choice already prepped and waiting saves SO much time in the morning!
5) Pack/lay out clothing the night before. On days when I’m doing an early morning workout in the city, I will pack my bag the night before with a change of clothes, my toiletries, my laptop, any nutrition client files I might need, my planner, etc. That way in the morning all I have to do is throw on some clothes, have a snack, grab my bag, and go.
6) Pack lunch the night before. If you’re a fan of packing your lunch, I highly recommend packing it the night before so you don’t have to deal with it in the morning. Same with snacks – just get it all ready beforehand so you aren’t scrambling when you are trying to get out the door. For some easy lunch ideas to pack the night before, check out my Mix + Match blog posts featuring Easy Sandwich Recipes and Grain Salad Bowl Recipes.
How do you streamline your morning routine to save time?