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How to Beat Morning Madness

May 03, 2019 | Filed in: Your Career

If you’re like us, you’re frantic in the morning. Good news: There are some tricks that will help you start your day a lot more smoothly, and the 11 below have been tested by four women who really know their stuff, because they all start their day before some of us even go to bed. Learn how to find peace of mind in the morning from these tips—and get out of the house in one piece and on time.

Madeline Boldt, coach and manager of Kaizen Crossfit, who has to be at work by 5:15 a.m.

Shut down early. “To be a morning person, you have to sacrifice being a night person. I go to bed early—if I’m in bed by 9:00 I’m thrilled—and I feel so much happier when my alarm goes off.”

Don’t think about feeling tired. “As soon as I wake up, I put on a podcast. It gets me thinking about something other than how much I wish I were still sleeping. I listen to self-improvement podcasts—they keep me engaged and I can just tune in and tune out.”

Make breakfast a treat. “Every morning I eat a whole-grain bagel with butter on one half and sunflower seed butter on the other half. I look forward to eating it—it makes me so happy! When I get excited about the delicious meal I’m about to have, I’m less bummed about waking up early.”

Liz Jeneault, former morning news show anchor, whose wake up time was 3:30 a.m. 

Use a backup alarm. “I set the alarm on my activity tracker, which vibrates on my wrist when it’s time to wake up. Then I also set my phone alarm for a few minutes later in case the wrist alarm wasn’t enough. There’s no replacement news anchor if you don’t show up. I never missed a shift with this approach.”

Do a mini-workout. “This is going to sound crazy, but I would sometimes do a 20-minute high-intensity interval workout in the morning in my closet (it was big enough and it meant I wouldn’t wake up my still-sleeping husband). I’d do a bunch of jumping jacks, high knees, push-ups, air squats, and standing lunges and I’d feel so awake afterward.”

Find your uniform. “I have a dress style. I just combine a pair of black legging-style pants and a blouse. It’s a simple combination and I can put together anything in my closet and look great.”

Christina Stembel, founder and CEO of Farmgirl Flowers, who is out the door by 6:30 a.m.

Let the email wait. “I have a pretty strict rule that I don’t look at my email until I get to work. I have a 40-minute drive to my office, and if I look at my email before, that entire drive is filled with anxiety—I’d feel frantic because I wasn’t at my desk responding to people. Now, on my drive in, I let my brain wander and think about what I want to accomplish during the day. I use Siri to type notes to myself and think of it as me-time where I can set my intentions for the day.”

Make a hair strategy. “I have really long hair and hate to blow it dry, so I wash it at night and in the morning I can just put it in hot rollers and head out the door. I drive with the rollers in my hair and then take them out when I get to the parking lot at work. I walk through the doors looking like I spent a lot more time on my hair than I did.”

Plot out your week. “I like to take a pilates class after work, so I pack a week’s worth of gym clothes and keep them in my car. That way I never have the excuse that I forgot workout clothes, and it’s one less thing to think about in the morning.”

Stacey Adams, founder of Active Riding Trips, a horseback riding vacation service, who is usually at the stables by 5:30 a.m.

Think ahead before going to bed. “My morning begins the night before. I decide what I’m going to wear to work so that I don’t have to figure out what clothing goes together first thing in the morning. I also pack up what I’m going to bring for lunch and put it all in a little cooler. And I get my computer bag ready to go. I’m such a bag lady when I leave in the morning, but all I have to do is grab them and walk out the door!”

Shower the night before. “All I have to do is put on my makeup when I wake up. That process literally takes me seven minutes from start to finish. It’s just foundation, powder, eyeliner, mascara, and some lip gloss. That’s it and I’m ready to go.”

Another foolproof way to streamline your morning routine? By letting us help with the whole “getting dressed” part. Click here to receive a box of outfits chosen just for you.


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Alice Oglethorpe is a former magazine editor who is now a freelance writer based in Chicago. She writes about health and happiness in life and at work. Read more of Alice's posts.


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