Low-stress mornings used to be rare a occurrence, something found occasionally on a weekend. They were more of a circus as I raced out the door, usually late because I couldn’t find an outfit or forgot to make a lunch and spilling coffee as I ran; many times forgetting important items like my phone. I was frazzled. This has been the story of my professional career until now; exhausted before the work day even started due to my cluttered life.
So when I recently switched jobs, I decided to reclaim my mornings. It’s required a bit of work to identify solutions to my pain points, but I’ve been delightfully wowed by its positive effects. Below are my morning pain points and solutions, not as a template to follow, but as an example of how I decided to challenge my “norm.”
Pain Point: A cluttered space.
- Solution: Less stuff. Since our switch to a minimalist lifestyle, we have very few tasks, clutter doesn’t pile up, and the kitchen virtually cleans itself. We don’t have a lot of furniture, decorations, clothes, office supplies, memory items, seasonal things, unused hobby supplies, and rarely used kitchen items. We toss movie covers, magazines, newspapers, and don’t hoard greeting cards, old paperwork, etc. There’s not much around, so there’s less to trip over, organize, or stack up in the closet. It’s amazing. My mornings are easier simply because I’m not leaving a total disaster when I leave for work. And, without clutter, our home still looks great even if the bed is left unmade or if there’s a pile of dirty dishes left in the sink. It’s become more of a peaceful haven rather than a home that induces tension.
Pain point: Getting out of a warm bed is just difficult.
- Solution (part a): Get in bed the moment I feel sleepy around 9:00 or 9:30 the night before. It’s not worth staying up just to be groggy the next day.
- Solution (part b): Place my cell phone alarm on the other side of the room. When the alarm goes off at 6:00 a.m., I have to hop out of bed to turn it off and am instantly awake. I’m screen-free when climbing into bed the night before, an added bonus.
Pain point: I despise working out after work.
- Solution (part a): Working out first thing in the morning. It’s better than a cup of coffee and gets my brain in gear.
- Solution (part b): One set of workout clothes stored in one place. My favorite athletic shirt or shoes are always where I need them to be. I purchase one set of well-made, comfortable gear that last me for years. It takes 5 minutes to get from my bed to the start of my 25 minute workout.
- Solution (part c): A simple bodyweight routine or a half hour run saves me from equipment clutter or the need for an expensive, time-consuming gym membership.
Pain point: I love long showers.
- Solution: Set an alarm. I can take a perfectly fine shower within the five-minute timer set on my phone.
Pain point: Doing make up, hair, and picking out an outfit is time consuming and hard to find.
- Solution (part a): One unencumbered drawer with a couple makeup essentials and hair product makes it simple.
- Solution (part b): A very small capsule wardrobe. It currently includes a pair of black pants, boyfriend jeans, or black skirt, three choices of black shoes, and a selection of seven shirts, one cardigan, one sweater, one black lace dress, and one vest. Choosing an outfit is simple, I love every piece, and it saves me gobs of money.
Pain point: Going out for lunch gets expensive and I don’t typically prepare it the night before.
- Solution: Making all lunches on the weekend. It takes about an hour and a half to grocery shop, make freezer dinners, and prepare five days worth of lunches for both me and my husband. We share the workload (which prevents us from getting siloed into tedious responsibilities) and chat; it’s a great for us, relationally. It saves time, stress, and money, ensures that we eat healthy food all week.
The result? A wonderful start to my day and time for important things to focus my day. I’m refreshed, on-time, and generally more pleasant to be around. Worth it? Yes.