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Mastering your mornings

Monday, 02 November 2015

Having a routine in the morning can save time, provide structure and often make that early morning alarm just a little more bearable. Finding what works for you can take years to master; trying different techniques, making mistakes, getting it very wrong and sometimes accidentally stumbling across that one contribution to your morning that just makes your day. Rushed and unprepared mornings aren’t handy for anyone, so find what it is that works for you. My morning is now down to a fine art, after years of mistakes and victories. Here are Biscuit’s tips.

For me, this takes precedence on a Sunday evening. Whether it’s making your lunch for the days ahead, ironing your shirts or choosing your shoes, this is the time. Plan ahead for the week or set aside time in the evenings to prepare for the next day. A small luxury of mine is shaving a Nutribullet smoothie in the morning – if you like that too, chop your fruit and veg the night before and pop it in the freezer. Then in the morning, all it takes is a quick whizz. Make sure you know what you’ll be wearing: that – for some of us – can save critical minutes of wardrobe chaos. It also means those occasional wardrobe malfunctions (that we’ve all suffered) can be avoided.

NB: Make sure your space is tidy, too. Not knowing where things are in the morning can take up precious time. From ensuring your bedroom is in order to de-cluttering your handbag after the weekend (receipts, receipts, receipts – where do they all come from?), this – I promise – will make your life easier.

Don’t. Forget. To set. The alarm. If you’re a heavy sleeper, set three alarms with different tunes, and put them at the other side of your bedroom. Open the curtains and let the light in, don’t risk the darkness sending you back to sleep.

I’m a coffee fiend. Brain function is pretty limited until I’ve had my all important caffeine fix. Discover what you like – whether it’s coffee (instant of fresh?), a fabulous ethnic blend of strange tea leaves or good old PG Tips. Ice water is essential – hydration in the morning will increase your brainpower and keep you on the ball. Work out what breakfast works for you – bread makes some people sleepy or bloated, so try to avoid toast if you’re one of those. I stick to fruit and yoghurt, porridge or scrambled eggs with avocado – we don’t all have the time to make hot food though, so unless you’re lucky enough to be able to do that in the office, perhaps stick to something quick and easy. Being the first meal of your day, make sure it’s something you can enjoy. This might be a good time to whizz up your smoothie – if you’re short on time, you can enjoy it on your journey to work.

Getting ‘ready’, clock watching and keeping a routine
After coffee, my brain needs a hot shower to give me my morning boost. Factor in if you need more time to wash/dry hair – we all have different morning beauty routines, so this bit is different for us all. I listen to the radio in the morning – it’s a great method of keeping in tune with the time and warming up your brain. Whether it’s the Breakfast Show with Nick Grimshaw or keeping up with the news with Justin Webb on the Today Programme, find what you like – the BBC have a set strict schedule, so will help you to stick to yours.

Plan your journey and know it well
If you don’t have it, download CityMapper! It is my most relied on app. From knowing how far away the bus is from your nearest stop to finding out about current tube delays, to being updated on platform changes to giving you multiple route options, it is reliable and super user friendly. Always plan to get to the office ten minutes early, so you’re prepared for being a little delayed if necessary.

Don’t rush
Arriving at work having rushed your way through the morning can set us up for a scrambled head first thing at work. Allow time to enjoy your morning routine; sometimes a couple of minutes longer in the shower can help you feel that little bit more ready for the day. Our sleep hours are precious, and we all have other priorities in the morning – getting the kids to school, taking the dog out – but if you can allow yourself a few minutes to take it easy, do.

Put a checklist on your fridge – it helps my slow morning brain remember all sorts of things that go regularly forgotten. Have I got my keys? Phone? Wallet? Diary? Lunch? Whether it’s a make-up bag or spare phone charger that you feel lost without in your handbag, put it on the list. Getting to work without our most important things can drive us all mad.

Try to make it easy for yourself – putting a little bit of structure into your early morning start can help roll out structure throughout your day. Try to make a great commuting playlist (Spotify have recently started putting together a ‘Discover Weekly’ playlist based on what you’ve been listening to; it has actually vastly improved my mornings), enjoy your little personal luxuries, and get your day off to an excellent start!

Till next time!


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