Morning time can feel like a black hole vortex where you’re moving slower and time is hitting warp speeds, leaving you bursting out the door with your fly unzipped, no breakfast in your belly, and specks of water from your 25-second shower dripping off your head onto your hideously mismatched shirt and pants.
We’ve curated a potent (and somewhat funny) list of tips to help you grab some time back in the morning so the start of your day feels more like a gentle and intentional beginning than a dizzying race against the buzzer.
1. Place your alarm out of reach
There are two types of people in this world, the ones with 27 alarms, and the ones with just one or two. We don’t care which type you are, this tip will help you all the same.
By placing your alarm out of reach across the room, you force yourself to physically get out of bed to go turn it off. This eliminates your potential to smash the snooze button and eat into that precious morning time.
And while snoozing might feel great in the moment, it’s not all that good for you. A SleepAdvisor.org article notes that we sleep in cycles ranging from about 90-110 minutes, during which we phase through 5 stages of sleep. REM or rapid-eye-movement sleep is the magic stage that occurs at the end of the cycle, and that’s the crucial stage we need to get to in order to feel rested.
When you hit snooze for 10 or 25 minutes, there’s not enough time to get back into REM sleep. The result is you feeling extra groggy and not anymore well-rested.
2. Make your bed like this guy
Have you tried this?
There’s a viral online trend in which you grab the ends of your comforter, give it a flick, and watch it land perfectly flat across your bed with the top cutely folded over and everything. If you can nail this, we envy you.
3. Combine your coffee & breakfast
Making coffee takes time. Making breakfast takes time. So, if you can combine the two, you’ll grab back some sweet morning minutes and still feel energized and satiated to start the day.
Now, we aren’t suggesting that you replace the milk in your cereal with black coffee. That sounds a bit terrible. There are two ways to cleverly pull this off. The first is by adding a small scoop of coffee grounds or instant coffee to your smoothie if you regularly make smoothies in the morning.
The second is by grabbing a bottle of Cafe Mocha Soylent. It has 20g of plant-based protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals, and yep, a cup of coffee blended right in.
4. Set a time goal for parts of your morning
For some of us, no matter how hard we try, we can’t put a pep in our step in the morning. And when it’s nearly time to go, we sadly scramble around to collect our essentials and get out the door.
One way to avoid this is by breaking your morning up into smaller, timed increments. If you wake up at 7:00 am, can you be out of the shower and dressed by 7:15 am? Can you have your bag fully packed and ready by the door 15 minutes after that? Set a little goal and try to hit it without totally obsessing over the clock each minute along the way.
5. *Sleep in your work clothes
That’s right. Get all dressed to the nines right before bed, simply go to sleep laying completely still and taking care not to wrinkle any garments under your sheets throughout the night. Boom! You’ll wake up 10 steps ahead.
*Okay, this one is a joke. Please move on to tip #6.
6. Take a cold shower
Were you less excited to read this tip than some of the others? Don’t be! While the thought of stepping into a cold shower in the morning isn’t very pleasant, the benefits from doing so are nothing but pleasant.
A recent Women’s Health article breaks down some of the core benefits of cold showers. These include potentially boosting mental health and helping cope with symptoms of depression, feeling more alert, pain relief, immune system support, fat loss, better skin, heart health, and managing stress.
Those are substantial benefits to enjoy just by bearing a little cold rush first thing in the AM.
On a more functional level, a cold shower will help you scrub up and get out quicker than relaxing and melting into the soothing effect of a warm shower.
Pro tip: start off with a warm shower and after a minute or so, crank the knob to cold and see how long you can go.
7. Request work-from-home days
If your job or school or other commitment allows, then ask to work from home for a few days each week. According to the Census Bureau, in 2019 the average commute time for Americans shot up to a new high of nearly 28 minutes.
That’s almost a half-hour of your sweet morning minutes sliced off just for travel alone. If you’re nervous to ask for remote work, make a list of how you can best accommodate working from home so you have ammo to use if your boss is hesitant.
It’s better to ask and get turned down than to never ask at all.
8. *Cringes* Wake up earlier
Another tip that most of us don’t want to hear but may really NEED to hear.
If you find that you’re anxious and stressed and scrambling about like a disheveled mess just to make it out the door, chances are you will take some of that morning stress with you for the rest of your day.
To enjoy a calming start to the day that gradually builds into something energized and meaningful, you may need to give yourself more time.
Set your alarm for 10 minutes earlier. Did that do the trick? If not, try 15 or even 30 minutes. You can always adjust your bedtime accordingly. The best way to grab back time in the morning might be to make more of it.
9. Prep work pays off
It’s late at night. You’re knee-deep in a compilation of people spilling coffee in public.
How can you set yourself up for success tomorrow?
Try doing remedial tasks at night like laying out your clothes for the next day or packing personal items into your bag. These tasks will be more calming at night and you’ll feel good knowing you’re helping out the you of tomorrow morning.
If prepping breakfast sounds like a ton of work, we did sort of make Soylent for exactly this reason in 3 lip-smacking flavors.