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How to Hack Your Morning

How to Hack Your Morning

    I don’t know about you, but if I’ve got somewhere to be early in the morning (though my definition of early is probably different than yours), there’s usually a manic rush as I try and get everything done on time before I head out.

    That rush is easy to avoid, even if you get up not long before you need to leave. It just takes a bit of planning. Here’s how to fly through your morning routine like it didn’t even happen. This is designed to capitalize on your time in the evening or night when you aren’t rushed to optimize your morning routine. The order of items is important, by the way.

    Also, this is just a rough guideline with ideas on how one could set up a morning routine that’s fast and effective; there are undoubtedly thousands of hacks you could apply to make things faster, or just get more done within the same time frame.

    And finally, I will say that I’m not making this up as I go along; I’ve done this before within the time allotments set out below.

    Getting Out of Bed

    Stick an alarm clock by your bed and another across the room (or even in another room) that goes off a minute later. The second one forces you up even if you miss the first one, and it makes the first alarm even more effective if you don’t live alone – you’ll have to turn the second alarm off before it wakes anyone else up!

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    Walk directly to the bathroom.

    My time: ten seconds.

    Showering

    Grab a two-in-one shampoo and conditioner, chuck it in your hair, and use a scrubber with body wash to clean yourself up while you brush your teeth with the other hand (you can store a toothbrush and paste on the ledge of the shower wall if it’s wide enough – and if you can reach up there!). From the time you’ve got the temperature right, you can be out in 90 seconds without sacrificing any cleanliness.

    My time: ninety seconds.

    Getting Dressed

    Jump out of the shower and dry off with the towel you put on the towel rack the night before. Your deodorant, cologne or perfume, and anything else you put on after your shower (moisturizer for the ladies, for instance) is lined up on the sink ready to be applied in rapid succession.

    Your clothes for the day are lined up on a rack (or whatever you have available in the bathroom) in the order that you put them on; items that require ironing were done the night before.

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    You don’t need to shave, because you did that before bed—there’s nothing wrong with a bit of overnight stubble. Fortunately we live in a time when stubble is even considered trendy; I imagine this routine would be much harder in a more “clean cut” era. I don’t pretend to know about shaving one’s legs, but I imagine (and this is a wild guess) that it’s fine to shave the night before. Feel free to correct me!

    Walk to the kitchen.

    My time: two minutes.

    Breakfast

    Leave breakfast until last, because if you eat breakfast first and then start losing time, there’s not many other corners left to cut. You shouldn’t skip this important meal but it’s more expendable than a shower if you’re going to be around other people.

    Some people will refuse to change their breakfast habits to make things happen faster, but in any case, it’s possible. If you eat cereal, put some in a bowl the night before and stick it in the fridge, requiring you to just add some milk and eat in the morning.

    If you have a shake for breakfast, there’s no noticeable difference in taste if you prepare it before bed and stick it in the fridge until morning—in fact, the time it has to cool down will probably improve the taste.

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    If you eat a fairly complex breakfast, say bacon and eggs on toast with hash browns, that takes time to cook, you can get all the refrigerated ingredients on a plate. In the morning, get the plate out of the fridge and you have everything you need to start cooking; no messing around with packaging or finding an ingredient you forgot about.

    I like miso soup for breakfast. Since it’s already prepared, there’s nothing easier to heat up in the microwave, and it can be eaten quickly.

    My time: two minutes.

    Getting Out the Door

    My laptop is ready in its bag, sitting by the door; in that bag is my wallet, and on a hook by the door are my keys. My shoes are also by the door, and I can slip them on as I grab my bag. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet learned to grab the bag, slip the shoes on and get the keys all at once!

    The only thing I have to grab before I leave that’s not by the door is my phone, as I charge it over night via USB in my desktop. No wasted time there, though, since I scan feeds and email for a minute or two as I eat breakfast and can take the phone with me as I go to put the bowl in the kitchen sink.

    Notice I said scan and not read; it’s really just to pass the time between mouthfuls!

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    My time: ten seconds.

    How long does it take me to get out the door on an early morning? Just under six minutes.

    In short: spending fifteen to twenty minutes preparing for the morning before bed can mean you spend only five minutes getting ready in the morning. No more morning rush! Of course, I like to take my time where possible and if I’m not going to be rushed, I take the longer, more relaxed route to morning preparation.

    But if I’m working late and I want to maximize my sleep without pushing back my day, this is the model I use to get my night’s work done and still get up early without feeling exhausted.

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    Joel Falconer

    Editor, content marketer, product manager and writer with 12+ years of experience in the startup, design and tech digital media industries.

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    Last Updated on July 2, 2020

    Simple Hacks on How to Relieve Neck Pain Fast (and Naturally)

    Simple Hacks on How to Relieve Neck Pain Fast (and Naturally)

    There is very little in life as annoying or distracting as neck pain. Most people find that neck pain is temporary. What can you do if your neck pain seems chronic or if it comes and goes with no obvious source?

    Whether you have simply slept on your neck wrong or you are working late, hunched over a keyboard half the night, neck pain is, well, a pain in the neck!

    What most people are unaware of is that there are little known hacks that can help you find relief from neck pain fast and naturally. This means no pills or expensive exercise equipment to buy.

    How can you get relief from neck pain?

    There are several easy steps to follow to find the perfect hack for solving your neck pain fast and easy.

    How Did I End Up With This Pain in the Neck?

    Neck pain often has an I-was-looking-right-at-it source that we don’t recognize at first glance. Once you identify the source of the pain, you can take the best corrective measure, or several measures if need be!

    Ask yourself these questions to find a possible source:

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    • Do you spend much of the day sitting (desk job, typing, etc.)?
    • How old are your mattress and pillow?
    • How much exercise do you work into an average day?
    • How do you manage stress?
    • Have you been injured or in an accident (no matter how small) lately?

    Perhaps one last question to ask yourself might be, “Is my pain a regular occurrence, or is my neck pain something that has just cropped up?

    Once you know the answers to these questions, you can start searching for answers.

    Remedies for Neck Pain

    Once you know the source, try tapping into one (or several) of these solutions to start healing your neck pain now.

    1. Everyday Activities

    One of the important factors with neck pain will be your everyday activities. Other than an injury or accident, one of the largest factors for neck pain includes working overtime in an office and the stress that work entails[1].

    Due to the coronavirus, many people find themselves working from home, in kitchens, basements, using a barstool, and/or other equipment that was not designed for humans to spend hours on end, typing and looking at a computer screen.

    If you find that your neck pain has occurred during the past few months due to a job change, or if you suddenly began working from home, your issue may be due to ergonomics. Invest in an adjustable office chair to help make your workspace more neck-friendly.

    2. Age of Mattress and Pillow

    The age of your mattress and pillow should also be considered. Pillows, on average, should be changed every 3 years, and a mattress every 7-10 years. No matter how good or comfortable you think these items are, the truth is that they are hurting your neck and back with a lack of support.

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    A good mattress is well worth the investment, and pillows are always on sale, as well as wallet-friendly. If you haven’t tried them, a water-filled pillow can be comfortable for many people.

    3. Exercise/Movement/Stretching

    It’s that old exercise question that no one wants to hear. This time around, it has been difficult for many people to get in good exercise since they have been housebound due to the quarantine. There are plenty of ways to get in some good, old-fashioned exercise.

    Stretching exercises are even more important than before since many people do not get enough movement while sitting at home. There are hundreds of at-home exercise, dance, and yoga videos that require little to no equipment, so even if you’re a beginner, give it a go.

    4. Stress and Stress Management

    Stress is a hidden danger that robs more people of health than even most doctors realize. While everyone has stress, not everyone recognizes it, nor do they have a means of managing it. Exercise is one of the best ways to release stress, with meditation and yoga being the best ways to manage and relieve stress. All of these will remove tightness in the muscles and relieve neck pain.

    5. Accident or Injury

    If you have been involved in an accident or injured yourself lately (falling down, or having something fall on you, for example) and your neck pain began after this incident, you should speak with your doctor about this as soon as possible.

    6. On-Going Problem or Sudden Occurrence

    Finally, if your neck pain is something that has occurred recently, it could simply be that you slept on it wrong or turned your neck too hard. That will make this a very temporary condition. You can try some easy stretches for pain relief .

    An on-going problem, however, might respond better to some other alternative methods, including:

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    • Slowly moving and stretching your neck. Do not move too quickly or too far. Roll your head from side to side, shoulder to shoulder, to the front and to the back.
    • Ice packs work well for some people, while heat works best for others.
    • Be aware of how you use your cell phone or tablet. If you keep your neck bent downward for too long to look at it, you can develop an annoying pain called text-neck or tech-neck. Take breaks and look up to stretch those neck muscles.
    • Long hours driving can also be hard on the neck. Look from side to side as far as you can, as well as up and down to prevent a stiff neck.

     

    Still Have Tight Neck Muscles? 3 Tips for Finding Relief

    When tight neck muscles are not responding to the typical heat, ice, or massage treatments, you might want to give the following a try:

    1. Gua Sha

    This is an ancient Chinese practice that might seem a bit odd, but it works for many people. In this practice, a trained individual uses a spoon or other object and makes short strokes down the neck. It is believed that poor blood circulation causes it to become stagnant, if you will, and blocks the positive energy needed for life, called qi.

    Fresh blood will indeed allow oxygen and nutrients to feed the tissues in a given area, and one study found that gua sha worked where traditional methods, such as heat therapy, did not[2].

    2. Swimming

    You probably know that swimming is a terrific low-impact exercise that works wonders for those with back and knee pain, but did you know that it also works well for neck pain and tight muscles? It helps if the water is tepid and not cold, but even just floating on your back can offer tremendous relief since most of the body weight is suspended by the buoyancy of water.

    3. Chiropractic Massage

    Not your typical day spa massage, chiropractic massage is performed under the guidance of a chiropractor. A trained massage therapist will still do the massage, but this time, the chiropractor will have discussed your neck pain and any problems you might be having with them. Many people have found real relief from neck pain through chiropractic massage.

    The Best Treatment for Neck Pain

    When you need to find relief from neck pain and nothing you have tried previously seems to give you more than a few minutes of relief, spending some time with a chiropractor often times can fix this issue, and it doesn’t often return if you follow a healthy lifestyle.

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    I’m certain that many of you are thinking about those awful videos with those loud cracking noises you’ve seen on social media, or you are recalling a news story which might have suggested that allowing a chiropractor anywhere near your neck might be a health hazard[3]. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    You should try the other suggestions in this article before you head off to the chiropractor, but when all else fails, don’t let neck pain nag you day in and day out. Take steps to make an appointment, and you will be surprised at the results.

    What Can a Chiropractor Do for Neck Pain?

    Many people mistakenly believe that the only technique a chiropractor will use is a neck adjustment. Chiropractors are trained in a variety of methods that are designed to help you find the pain relief you are seeking.

    A few of the methods a chiropractor might use include:

    • Cervical Manual Traction
    • Flexion-Distraction
    • Cervical Mobilization
    • Ultrasound
    • Cervical Drop Technique
    • Trigger Point Therapy

    There are many more options, but your chiropractor should explain to you which techniques s/he intends to use and why[4]

    The Bottom Line

    If neck pain wreaks havoc in your life regularly, the best way to stop it is to identify the source and attack it from that angle.

    Getting plenty of exercises, having a proper posture, and buying an office chair that provides plenty of support, as well as a regular stretching program, will keep your neck strong and flexible for many years to come.

    More Tips on Healing Neck Pain

    Featured photo credit: Christopher Campbell via unsplash.com

    Reference

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