Always Running Late? 5 Minor Changes that Make a Major Difference
As you launch frantic “Hurry Up!” pleas across the house, you promise yourself tomorrow will be different. Tired of scrambling morning after morning, you’ve had it with chaotic mornings. Tomorrow you’ll be out the door — peaceful and on time.
While changing deeply-ingrained habits feels like turning an aircraft carrier, there are a few minor changes you can make today that will have a significant impact on tomorrow.
If the morning routine – or lack thereof – threatens to ruin your day, lay the tracks for smooth morning routines with these doable tips.
Prepare the night before.
The first tip for getting out the door on time is pretty intuitive — do as much as you can the night before. If you can muster the strength at the end of your day, just a few minutes of preparation is the difference between a calm morning and a chaotic one.
Clothes: Lay out clothes the night before. From head to toe, every outfit should be ready to go first thing the next morning.
Backpack: Take a glance inside your child’s backpack. Clean out any trash and leftover lunch items. Sort and sign any papers that need your attention.
Lunch: Working with your child, prepare and pack lunch for the next day. Store in the refrigerator overnight.
Wake everyone up 15 minutes earlier.
If you tend to run late day after day, you probably miscalculate how long it takes to perform your morning tasks. Research has shown that people on average underestimate tasks by as much as 40 percent.
Here’s how that works: If you think it’ll take your child 20 minutes to get dressed and eat breakfast it will really take closer to 28 minutes. Add 40 percent to several morning tasks and you can easily see where your time goes.
The solution? Wake everyone up 15 minutes earlier — that’s a feet-on-the-ground wake-up. Those fifteen extra minutes provide a realistic buffer for your mornings.
Bonus tip: Part of everyone waking up on time is getting everyone to bed on time the night before. Try backing up bedtime by 15-30 minutes as part of your morning preparation. Unsure how much sleep your child needs? Check out this article with recommended hours for every age.
Reduce clothing choices.
Laying outfits out the night before is crucial for efficient mornings. But if your child needs a bit more guidance when deciding what to wear each day, consider a capsule wardrobe.
Coined by London boutique owner Susie Faux in the 1970s, a capsule wardrobe reduces your closet to a few dozen items every season. The magic behind it all? Every piece coordinates with every other piece.
It’s a brilliant way to make getting dressed easier each day for you and your child. Spring is the perfect time to consider a capsule wardrobe for your child. Visit here for inspiration and ideas.
Create a DIY breakfast station.
Take the guesswork out of breakfast with a DIY breakfast station in your kitchen. Grab a basket and fill it with grab-and-go items for breakfast such as:
- Granola bars
- Fruit (bananas, easy-to-peel oranges, apples, and pears)
- Homemade granola to compliment yogurt in the refrigerator
- Whole-grain bread and jam
- Instant oatmeal packets (store-bought or homemade)
- If your child is old enough, teach them to hard-boil eggs for a protein-packed breakfast.
Bonus tip: While not environmentally friendly, have a stash of paper products on-hand for those super early mornings. When you return home, an empty sink and clear counters greet you instead of a pile of dirty breakfast dishes.
Keep shoes in the garage.
If your child his trouble keep his shoes together, store them in a basket by the garage or back door. Not only will your house be cleaner, but it will also save time as your child easily finds his or her shoes each morning.
Stock the car with everyday essentials.
Prevent frantic trips back home by stocking the car with everyday essentials such as non-perishable snacks, water bottles, a few dollars in cash, gloves, coats, and school supplies. Having these items on hand keeps you on track once you’ve left the house.
Over time, small changes in your morning routine will add up to noticeable results. By preparing the night before, waking up a few minutes earlier, and simplifying clothes and meals, your mornings will shift from frenzied chaos to smooth rhythms — one morning at a time.