In an effort to improve productivity, I’d like to think there are always little habits and tweaks we can make to our everyday lives in order to make things easier on ourselves. Maybe you have to put a little planning and effort into doing preparation upfront, but if it makes a more stressful time-frame, like the mad-dash of early mornings, work more efficiently for you, then why not spend 5 or 10 minutes the night before to get some of these things done?
- Prepare coffee pot/smoothie ingredients
There’s a few advantages to doing this. Depending on how you prepare your coffee, the ‘art’ of making a really good cup might take a little time. Perhaps you prefer the french press method, in which case, you’ll be using fresh, coarsely ground beans, hot boiling water, and letting it all steep for about four minutes, giving you a deliciously robust cup of coffee ready to plunk into your travel mug. So do yourself a favor and prepare the beans, measure your water, and make sure your french press and travel mug are clean and ready to go. When you come into the kitchen in the morning, simply start your water kettle and get your coffee going, without fumbling around for the other supplies and grinding your beans.
As for smoothies, one of the best suggestions I’ve seen out there is to prepare your own smoothie packs, with your choice of ingredients in individual baggies. Pop these into the freezer to pull out as needed or prepare a week’s worth upfront and store in the fridge. You’ll save yourself a heck of a lot of time in the morning rush if you’re not getting out ingredients, and peeling and chopping them everyday. Then you can add it to your blender or bullet contraption, pour in your liquid ingredients or ice, and blend away.
2. Prepare lunches/snacks for yourself or your spouse and children
Trust me – doing this the night before will save you a morning headache for certain. I usually begin all this while I’m cleaning up after dinner – leftovers get packed into individual portions in food storage containers for lunches. I line up the lunch boxes on the counter and toss in what I know will be needed (and can stay out overnight, of course). Things like napkins, utensils, juice boxes, and dry goods can go in the lunchbox now. In the morning, fill water bottles or thermoses, put in your lunch containers, and you’re ready to go. Streamlining this task assembly line style for each member of your family saves you time because you’re performing the same duties, just in bulk.
3. Do dishes and load dishwasher
There’s nothing worse than coming into the kitchen in the morning and you have a sink full of dirty dishes and stuff all over your counter-tops. By having to wade through the mess in order to get your other morning kitchen tasks completed, you’re using up valuable time and increasing your stress level, all before you’ve even left the house. I recommend taking care of those dirty dishes the night before, setting your dishwasher to run overnight and making sure your counter-tops are cleared of anything that needs to be put away or stored elsewhere. This tip sounds so simple, but has big impact into setting yourself and your family up for successful mornings.
4. Lay out or plan breakfast items
By knowing what everyone is eating in the morning, you can make sure to have those things setup best you can the night before. Maybe you’re low on milk, but stopping by the store after you get off work. If there’s not enough milk for everyone’s cereal, that means we need to plan for alternative breakfasts like oatmeal, muffins, fruit, hard-boiled eggs, or waffles. Having a game plan avoids some last-minute freak outs from kids, too–I give my son two choices (that are available) and let him choose which one he has. He gets to have a say, and I get to give him choices that work for us as his parents.
5.Clear off bathroom sink area
If your mornings are a mad-dash to the finish line, take two minutes while your brushing your teeth before bed to straighten up the bathroom counters. My bathroom usually has the hairdryer out, with cord fallen on the floor, some hair products, makeup brushes, and hand lotion spread all around… By placing it all back in an orderly fashion, where it goes, you can find things easier in the morning to get ready again, and you don’t have to wake up with the feeling that you’re walking into a messy space and creating more chaos.