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I have a story to tell you guys. When I moved from private practice to in-house, I lost the freedom to get to work at the time that works best for me, and instead began an 8:30-5 lifestyle. This has created a GREAT work-life balance separation because I’m not at work until 7 PM or later, but it means I have to interact with human beings about an hour before I’d like. In compromise for being grateful for my job but not wanting to bite anyone’s head off for walking into my office, there’s an expectation that no one speaks to me before 9 AM. I’d be a little embarassed by this, except that I’ve been this way my whole life and just know that’s what I need for a successful day.
In 2014, I read a book called The Miracle Morning. It changed the way I viewed mornings. It also helped me change my habits. This means that I intentionally wake up early and get personal things done, rather than setting my alarm to a decent time and then hitting snooze until the last minute possible to get dressed and go to work.
The principles I learned in that book have helped me be a less-unpleasant person in the mornings when I get to work, because I’ve sort-of adjusted to being awake by the time I have to arrive. Let’s be clear, I still don’t want anyone to ask me any non-emergency questions, but I can show up without growling when people say “good morning” in the hallways. In order to make best use of my mornings, I have to take full advantage of my prime time – the night. Here are six life hacks that I’d love to share with you about how to maximize your mornings as a night owl!
1. A Coffee Pot With A Brew Timer
My coffee pot is my BFFs in the morning. It has a brew timer and each night I fill up the water basin, put some coffee grounds into the basket, and set the timer. It starts brewing at 6:10 every morning so that when my alarm goes off at 6:15, the coffee is done and waiting for me. Sigh.
2. Preparing Breakfast Elements at the Beginning of the Week
I have also tried to start eating breakfast more consistently. My favorite combo these days is greek yogurt, granola and strawberries. I buy these three things (the granola lasts a lot longer) every two weeks or so. On Sunday night I chop up the whole pack of strawberries and put them in a plastic container.
Then, each morning I just have to scoop a few spoonfuls of yogurt into a little bowl, add granola, top it off with some of those chopped up strawberries, and chow down. It’s an easy way to get a good breakfast without standing over a hot stove or investing a ton of time each morning on food when there are a lot of other important things to do, like sleep that extra 10 minutes it would have taken to make bacon.
3. Pick Out Your Clothes the Night Before
This is something I was told to do as a child, but stopped doing as a grown-up. That is, until recently! Typically I get dressed about 15 minutes before leaving the house.
A few months ago I had an arbitration (which is like a trial but less formal). On the days leading up to an arbitration, I have a specific routine I follow. The night before, I make sure my binders are all ready, my iPad is charged, and then lay out my clothes. I went to grab a suit and couldn’t find any. Then I tried to find a pair of nylons, but each one I pulled out of my drawer had runs in them!
After racking my brain, I realized I had dropped all of my suits off at the dry cleaner a week prior, and promptly forgot about them! Luckily I realized this at 9 PM the night before and not 8 AM the morning of! Because I was prepared, I was able to leave with enough time to pick up my suits and buy a new pair of nylons on my way into work.
4. Feed Your Body the Appropriate Nutrients
I am terrible at swallowing pills. When I was a kid, my mom would have to smash up my medication or ask for liquid, because I just couldn’t swallow pills. I haven’t grown out of that, and to this day I only take chewable vitamins. Thankfully, vitamin companies like Centrum have been great about creating vitamins that are chewable, and delicious! Centrum has two great options for those of us who struggle with swallowing pills: Centrum MultiGummies Vitamins and VitaMints. I’ve never seen anything like VitaMints before, but they’re just like they sound. Vitamins you take like a mint! I keep them in my desk for the days that I forget to take my vitamin before leaving the house and need a mint.
I was really easy to find the vitamins at Walgreens. Simply look in the middle of the vitamin aisle. If you’re interested in the Raspberry flavored VitaMints, they are brand new but should be in most stores by now. I expected the VitaMints to taste chalky, kind of like an antacid. But they don’t! They taste like those candies we’d eat as kids shaped like little animals. Remember those? It was such a wonderful surprise that not only did they freshen up my breath like a mint, but they didn’t require me to drink a bunch of water to get the residue out of my molars.
Walgreens and Centrum have worked together to create an even better reason to take their vitamins: Get Vitamins Here. Change Lives Everywhere. Walgreens will make a donation to Vitamin Angels with every Vitamin purchase.
If you’d like to hear more about this project, they’ve provided more information and a great video here.
5. Set an Alarm for Task Completion
I’ve been told I have “timeliness issues.” I’m super guilty of getting ready to leave the house but believing I have time to load one more thing in the dishwasher or start one more load of laundry. Then I’m 3-5 minutes late and it’s really obvious that I didn’t have time for that chore after all. I’ve gotten a lot better because J is super into being early or on time, so 3-5 minutes is an improvement from when a former Partner would tell me things started 15 minutes before I did so that I’d be right on time. But I still set alarms for a variety of daily tasks.
I have an alarm that goes off when it’s time to wake up (obviously), then one for when it’s time to start getting ready for work, then one for when it’s time to leave for work. I also set them on weekends when I have special events or am going to work out at a strange time. If there’s a blogging responsibility that requires me to participate at a certain time (like the instagram loop giveaway last week), I have an alarm set so that I don’t lose track of time.
This might seem extreme if you don’t struggle with timeliness like me. But if you’re a night owl who is trying to make your mornings easier, I strongly recommend it!
6. Give Thanks
I cannot tell you enough what a difference gratitude makes in setting your daily intention.
I spend time each morning giving thanks. You can do this by keeping a gratitude journal, sending thank you notes, or even just in silent prayer or meditation. I can tell the difference in my entire day if I skip this step. I don’t know the scientific reason behind this important element of the day, but my guess is that it starts the morning off with a focus on the great parts of life before I get stuck in traffic, spill my coffee, or open a rude e-mail.
So before I leave this space, let’s talk about three things I’m grateful for right now:
1) The ability to take vitamins without suffering through smashed up pills;
2) A washer and dryer that work on a timer so that I was able to set the washer last night, go to sleep, and then put clothes that didn’t smell musty in the dryer (well before my *Leave for Work* timer went off); and
3) The local news sharing heart warming stories in the morning so that it’s not always doom and gloom on the TV.
And of course, I’m always thankful that you came and hung out with me on WMSB.
Do you want to learn more about Raspberry Vitamints? Check it out at Walgreens! I assure you they are quite refreshing and don’t taste chalky at all, which I was afraid of. And the Centrum MultiGummies are, obviously, so delicious! Let me know what you think!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease