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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 December 2, 2019

    10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

    10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

    Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

    In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

    These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

    1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

    Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

    But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

    Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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    2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

    You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

    The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

    3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

    If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

    Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

    If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

    4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

    Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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    To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

    In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

    5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

    We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

    If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

    Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

    “Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

    6. Give for the Joy of Giving

    When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

    One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

    So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

    7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

    Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

    Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

    8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

    When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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    So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

    9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

    Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

    It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

    It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

    10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

    There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

    But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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    Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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    Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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