Rise and Shine: Tips and Tricks to Streamline your Mornings

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Tips and Tricks to Streamline your Mornings

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I'm not a morning person. In fact, if you looked up "early bird" in the thesaurus, you'd see a big ol' picture of me squarely under "antonyms."

This wasn't a huge problem in undergrad - aside from the rare, no-other-section-available 8 am class, I just put all my classes late in the morning or in the afternoon. Now that I'm working 9 to 5, though, I can no longer roll out of bed five minutes before an 11 am class.

So, for my fellow night owls, here are some of my favorite tips and tricks for making my mornings as painless and efficient as possible. Let's call 'em the 5 P's of productive mornings! (Okay, the last two are sort of a stretch... I noticed that the first three tips started with 'P' and I decided to get cute with it.)

1. Plan your outfits.


Photo Credit: ELLE

If, like me, you are prone to second-guessing your outfits once you've dressed yourself, this is a must. (I dunno, are these really the right pair of shoes? Would a different shirt go better with these pants?) Check the weather report before you go to bed, choose an outfit, and - now this is important - try it on. I've definitely picked out outfits that looked amazing on the hanger but were totally meh actually on, so this is your chance to edit and decide on the best possible permutation of your closet.

All set? Okay, now hang up that flawless ensemble and do not, I repeat, do not, allow yourself to change your mind in the morning. Trust that the you of last night picked out something fabulous!

If that's too restricting, keep a list of tried-and-true outfit combinations on hand, (I have long lists of worn-and-approved outfits in the "Notes" section of my phone) so that you can refer to things you've worn in the past.

2. Pre-pack your bags.


Photo Credit: ELLE

Nothing is worse than showing up to class and/or work with the sinking realization that you forgot to bring your homework assignment, or a pencil, or a lunch, or the flash drive for that all-important presentation. If you're throwing things into your backpack in a mad dash, there's a pretty good chance that you'll miss something.

Think of all the things you will potentially need the next day, find them, and put them in your bag. That way, you'll be ready to go and won't have to explain that you were late because you were searching for your keys.

I actually started pre-packing my bags back in high school, when I was on the swim team and often had morning practices at 5 am. Who knows how many times I would have forgotten to bring important things like, say, a change of underwear, if I hadn't packed it the night before?

3. Perfect the five minute face.


These are the products I use every day! Looks like a lot, but I get them all on in 5 minutes! | Moisturizer, CC Cream, Primer, Cream Blush, Lip Balm, Eyeliner, Eyebrow Pencil, Mascara, Powder, Concealer, Eyeshadow

Ah, makeup. I want to say that I'm perfectly comfortable venturing into public with not a lick of it on, but the truth is, I'm most confident when I've got on my "no makeup" makeup. If you prefer to go without, awesome! You're ahead in the getting-out-the-door-in-time game. (Just remember to at least wear sunblock! You'll thank yourself for it a few years down the line.)

If, like me, you prefer to keep 'em guessing about whether you're born with it or not, get your five-minute face down to a "T." My super-quick makeup routine actually involves quite a few products: moisturizer with SPF, BB cream, primer, concealer, cream blush, powder, lip stain+balm, eyeshadow, eyeliner, and mascara. I shave off time by mixing the moisturizer, BB cream, and primer all together instead of applying each one separately. I also just use one neutral shade of eyeshadow and go for quick and easy lip stains or balms over finicky lipsticks.

Check out great past CF articles about quick beauty routines here, here, and here!

4. Prevent "snooze button" disasters.


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Snooze buttons... such a love/hate relationship I have with you! It's just so easy to hit "snooze" one more time, only to be jolted out of bed with sheer adrenaline pumping through your veins as you realize that your final exam started... ten minutes ago.

I've been trying out various alarm clock "techniques" to varying degrees of success - see if they'll work for you!

  • Keep your alarm clock far away from you. This doesn't work that well for me, because sometimes I can't hear the alarm! No bueno. But if your alarm still wakes you up when it's not at arm's-length, try placing it on a shelf or desk where you'll have to physically get out of bed to turn it off.
  • Use a radio alarm. Beeping alarms don't do me much good: the monotonous sound just incorporates into my dreams and is easy to ignore. Instead, I set my alarm to either a set playlist or to the radio. Hearing actual voices and a tune wakes me up a lot more.
  • Don't try to trick yourself with too-early alarms. My freshman roommate was super guilty of this: she would set alarms for 6 am when she needed to get up at 9. Needless to say, I was not all that pleased with this, especially since she was always so sound asleep she wouldn't even wake up to turn them off! As a courtesy to yourself and to your roommates, force yourself to get into the habit of setting your alarm for the time you actually plan to get up. It's actually pretty nice to be able to get up and be done with it instead of dreading the snooze alarm!

5. Pep yourself up with stretches.


Photo Credit: ELLE

Once I've gotten myself physically out of the bed, the next step is making sure I don't crawl back in! I've found that immediately doing a series of basic stretches - I touch my toes, reach for the sky, stretch my triceps, do a downward dog/upward dog, add a couple of lunges - is incredibly invigorating! It definitely helps to get rid of that heavy, sleepy feeling that's always nudging me back towards my warm, comfy bed. Plus, it cuts down on aches and pains that I might have felt later on in the day.

If you have trouble remembering to do your stretches in the morning, try keeping your yoga mat by your bed as a reminder!

What did you think?

Do you struggle with mornings, too? Are these tips helpful? What do you do to streamline your mornings? Early birds, any words of advice? Let me know in the comments!

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