By Eliza Crisp, Contributing blogger
You might think these three things are saving you time in the morning, but they could be leaving you lagging…
There is something delightfully satisfying about poking your nose into someone else’s morning routine, isn’t there? Those first waking hours are truly precious, and how someone chooses to spend them seems to be a deeply personal choice. What time do they set their alarm for? Do they choose their outfit the night before? Are they sitting down to a nourishing breakfast, or racing out the door with a half-eaten granola bar?
Of course, we aren’t the only ones fascinated by these A.M. habits. Since starting their online magazine My Morning Routine in 2012, writers Benjamin Spall and Michael Xander have interviewed over 300 people on the steps it takes to get them out of bed, and into their workday. Their subjects are wide-ranging (think creatives, corporates, parents, entrepreneurs, and athletes) but each person is grilled with an identical set of questions about the state of their morning flow.
While it’s fun to geek out over their statistics page, we’ve simplified it for you by narrowing down the three main culprits that are probably de-railing your morning routine, without you even noticing.
The Culprit: Your Snooze Button Love Affair
Consider this scenario – the sound of your phone alarm blasts you awake with an electrifying jolt, and you rummage through the sheets to find where you last left it. After a few rounds with the snooze button, you crack open one eye and start doing a quick lap around your phone: social media, group chats, a furtive glance at your emails. You drag yourself out of bed, with your brain sleepily processing the barrage of information you just absorbed.
The Solution: Tame Your Tech
Let’s be honest here: in an ideal world, you would be charging your phone outside your bedroom (Sleep Hacks for Bedtime Bliss). But, if you truly can’t fathom sleeping more than a meter from your phone, we’ve got some quick tips to help manage your morning screen time.
First up is that dreaded iPhone alarm that seems to strike terror into everyone’s hearts. This free app is genius; it works by listening to your breathing to track what stage of sleep you are at, and gently lulling you awake at the lightest stage of your sleep cycle. Sounds a bit creepy, but it works. You nominate a wake-up time, and it will softly coax you awake within a 30 minute period.
If Instagram is your morning weakness, consider using this feature on the app to give you a little nudge when you have been scrolling for too long. Tempted to read your emails, or the news headlines, from bed? Consider using site blockers such as this to claw back control over your browsing.
The Culprit: Your Dry Shampoo Habit
Aaah yes, we can almost hear it now. That little voice in your head, that seductively whispers to you ‘if you skip the shower, you can stay in bed an extra 10 minutes....’. Sounds delightful, doesn’t it? But now it’s Thursday morning, and you are worried that your hair has developed that tell-tale chalky residue. Not to mention the fact that your favorite shirt has an unsightly coffee stain…
The Solution: Plan Your Glam
This probably boils down to a simple idea: decision fatigue. This is the reason why Steve Jobs wore the same thing every day; it was one less choice he had to make in the morning. And while we aren’t necessarily suggesting that you adopt a wardrobe that exclusively consists of jeans and black turtlenecks, you might be able to hack this mindset.
The harsh truth is that we probably only wear 20 percent of our wardrobe, so having an unofficial ‘work uniform’ of your favorite pieces will create a neat capsule collection that you will be able to pick from with ease.
If it’s your hair and beauty routine that has you balking at the thought of getting in the bathroom, consider streamlining your makeup bag, or hacking your styling habits to create an organized grooming routine that you actually enjoy.
The Culprit: Your Daily Bodega Breakfast
Each Sunday, you lie in bed and recite the same mantra, promising that THIS will be the week that you make yourself breakfast before you leave the house every day. ‘It’s healthier to eat at home!’, you remind yourself. ‘I’ll save so much money!’, you proudly crow.
But Monday morning rolls around, and after a few taps of the snooze button, you find yourself schlepping your way to the trusty bodega, and with a silent nod of recognition your usual breakfast is pushed across the counter. Delicious? Maybe. Nutritious? Probably not.
The Solution: Nourish to Flourish
We get it! The thought of whipping up a healthy breakfast from scratch on a cold winter morning is enough to send anyone straight back under the covers. You could have a fully-stocked fridge, and a sparkling clean kitchen, and still not have any desire to sacrifice your precious sleep for a decent meal.
Here’s the short answer: meal prep. But don’t laugh it off! If photos like these give you anxiety, we promise that we are suggesting an entry-level approach (no advanced skills required!). Recipes such as these are perfect to prepare in batches, and hungry kids will be kept satisfied too. Plus, you really can’t argue with the financial rewards; not only is a store-bought breakfast more likely to be laden with calories, but the average person spends more than 40 percent of their food budget on takeout (ouch!).
The Ultimate Morning GoalPutting your morning routine under a microscope might be a little confronting at first, especially when you consider that you probably developed some of these habits when you were still in school. So take it slow, and focus on what you would like to gain in the morning. Maybe you want a little time to start a meditation practice, or write in a journal? Maybe you want to spend a few extra minutes with your family, or perhaps you have a beloved pet that misses you when you rush out the door? Building these moments of joy into your morning might just give you the boost you need to help nix those sluggish dawn habits, once and for all.