10 Tiny Ways to Have a More Organized Morning
August 24, 2021
There’s something about fall that sparks the need to be more organized — all the time, but especially in the morning. For those of us with school-age children, it’s no mystery: Gone are the lazy days of summer when kids sleep in and grown-ups have the luxury of a.m. calm. Or maybe you’re going back into the office and suddenly need to figure out how to get yourself showered, dressed, and fed before that first meeting. Then again, it could just be the cool air that makes you want to start our day with an organized morning.
If the concept feels a little foreign to you (and we’re right there with you), you’ll need to brush off your organized morning skills. But don’t worry: It doesn’t have to be complicated! Here are 10 tiny ways to get your mornings on track and help set the tone for the rest of the day.
5 Things to Do the Night Before
The most organized mornings start the night before, says Ashley Christian blogger and author at Margins for Moms who specializes in mindfulness and organization. If you can check one (or two or three!) things off your to-do list at night, your morning will feel a tiny bit less stressful.
1. Spend 10 minutes cleaning the kitchen.
You’ll be really amazed how much you can get done in 10 minutes. Doing a quick clean of the kitchen, including loading the dishwasher, will make breakfast that much easier. If you don’t have a dishwasher, wash your dirty dishes — or at least soak them, so you don’t wake up to the aftermath of dinner.
2. Decide what you (and your kids) are going to wear.
Settling on what to wear the night before saves rummaging through the closet (or hamper, or laundry room) to find something (anything!) to wear. This is especially true if you’ve got children and they tend to argue about what they wear. Bonus: It can teach them so many valuable lessons, including low-level organizational skills and the concept of making a decision and sticking to it.
3. Prep (and pack) your lunch.
This could be as simple as finding that container of leftovers, filling up your water bottle, and keeping them next to each other in the fridge. Or it could mean assembling something quick and easy, like these Adult Lunchables from Project Meal Plan. For those of us with children, get them involved! Even a first-grader can pick out the snacks she wants. I was getting my kids into this habit before Covid hit; I’d have them assemble everything except the main item, which we’d do in the morning.
4. Check your calendar (and your snack situation).
Sometimes knowing what’s in store for you the next day can make all the difference. In a block of meetings all morning or all afternoon? Check to make sure you have some healthy snacks on hand to keep you going.
5. Make a to-do list — and think about how long things will take.
When you’re thinking about what you need to do and making your to-do list, think about how long it takes to accomplish certain tasks. “It helps you learn how not to over- or underestimate! It’s almost like it takes a bit of time to learn how to make friends with time. This is an area many people need to think about and discuss because it is often miscalculated. Once you ‘get’ time, it really opens up for you,” says Gari Weilbacher, life coach at Wild Brook Coaching.
5 Things to Do in the Morning
The number one thing you can do to have a more organized morning? Get up earlier. We know this is the last thing you want to. But, according to Angelica Allen of Saint, a brand that promotes mental health and wellness to historically marginalized communities, it can make a tremendous difference. Start slow: Wake up just 10 minutes earlier and see if you notice a difference. Here are some ideas for how to fill those extra minutes (and how not to).
1. Create a morning ritual just for you.
You don’t have to cram those 10 minutes with productivity. Taking those minutes to “meditate, plan, or just relax with a cup of tea can be a simple way to signal to your brain that you’re in control of your day,” says Allen.
2. Don’t check your social media (or the news).
There’s no faster way to get yourself stressed out and distracted than by immediately checking your phone. As Marisa Lonic, blogger and podcast host at Mama Work It, puts it: “Don’t check your social media or watch the news or check your email first thing in the morning—it will kill your momentum and your joy.”
3. Make your bed.
We’ve all heard this advice before and there’s plenty of good reasons why. Various studies have found that people who make their beds are not only more productive, but also happier, and even sleep better. Even better? If you have kids, get them in the habit of making their beds. It’s a good habit for them and one less thing for you to do.
4. Unload the dishwasher.
Remember how we told you to load the dishwasher the night before? The follow up is to take some time to unload the dishwasher. It’s basically the kitchen equivalent of making the bed. “Creating easy wins for ourselves — doing a quick chore that makes us feel good — is a great way to start the day powerfully,” explains Lisa Zaslow of Gotham Organizers in New York City.
5. Be predictable.
This is one part of your life where there’s a definite benefit to being predictable. “Do things in the same order every day. You create a routine by doing the same tasks in the same order so they become habits and it’s just what you do, requiring little effort in thinking about what you’re going to do,” says Sarah Randall, certified health coach and RYT (registered yoga teacher).