Jump Start Your Morning

by Kathy Gates

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I'm not a morning person. I'm lucky to know my name, much less bounce out ready to face Denise Austin's morning workout. Not this girl. I decided to stop fighting it, and start working with it. As the decorators say, if you can't hide it, paint it red.

So that means that I need to take care of some things the night before in order to start my day off in a calm, collected way. If you're not much of a morning person either, try these ideas, and see if they help your morning go a little smoother.

  • Think about Breakfast: Get a jump-start on your morning by setting the breakfast table the night before. Borrow this idea from restaurants (and especially if you have kids). Set out bowls or plates, silverware, and even the cold cereal, protein bars, fruit, anything that you can for the first meal. If you're a hot meal breakfast family, a crock-pot set up the night before works well. In my house, we even use paper plates and disposable forks-just makes clean up that much easier.
  • Think about Lunch: If you're making several lunches -or even only one - put each person's preferred lunch food into their own small plastic basket in the refrigerator with things like juice, soda, fruit, veggies (already divided into individual baggies), and anything prepackaged. I even stash the Peanut Butter and Bread right in the same section, so I don't have to hunt for it to make a sandwich. Other things like chips or cookies (again either prepackaged or already divided into individual resealable bags) are set up on the kitchen counter next to each person's lunchbox. Packing it up is a snap.
  • Think about Dinner: If you're a cook, plan the night before what you will have for dinner the next day. Collect all ingredients, place them in one spot on the kitchen cabinet, or in a special part of the refrigerator. If you're going out, picking up, or ordering out, make that a Family Decision the night before. No "what's for supper?" surprises.
  • Think about Wardrobe: Now I am the type who dresses according to how I feel when I get up: dressy, funky, comfortable. Each night I make sure I put together two or three outfits, and hang them out on the front of the closet. (Tip: Never have anything hanging in your Main Closet that needs cleaning, repair, or doesn't fit). That way, I still have a choice, but don't have to destroy my closet - and my sanity - trying to find something to wear each day. This works for kids and husbands, too. Some people don't mind deciding the night before, so you might just have one outfit ready. But if you're a little on the kooky side like me, give yourself some breathing room.
  • Think about Leaving: The house, that is. Similar to what you have set up for each person in the house for lunch fixings, also have baskets located strategically for going out the door. These baskets should hold ONLY stuff that you need for the next day -- keys, school stuff, dry cleaning, errands lists, cell phone, store returns, etc. Anything that is going out the door the next morning should be in that person's basket before they go to bed. (TIP: The "basket" might be backpacks for the kids.) No last minute searches for the video to return, or writing a note to the teacher. It's all ready and waiting for you to just pick up and go.

Now think about all that extra sleep you'll get! After you get this system in place, all five steps should take you less than 15 minutes in the evening and save you loads of time in the morning. You'll go to sleep knowing that your morning is going to be calm, pleasant, and organized.

Kathy Gates, Professional Life Coach, believes that "Life Rewards Action". She works with people who are unorganized, under-appreciated, and lacking direction or focus on goals. Email her at kathy@reallifecoach.com, or call 480.998.5843 for a free consultation today!

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