How to Get Out the Door in the Morning and Feel Good About Your Day!

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Mornings are not my friend. From the moment my eyelids flutter open, I’m calculating the number of steps it will take until the first sip of coffee passes my lips. (Yes, I realize that this qualifies as a caffeine addiction.) But the bed is so warm, and my dog is so cuddly, and yes, I realize I’m full of excuses about why mornings suck but I’m here to tell you that it really is possible to get out the door and feel good about your day. If I can do it, you can too!

First of all, the real key to making over your morning routine is to be realistic about the amount of time you need in order to get ready. I don’t care if that means timing yourself from the moment you get out of bed to the moment you walk into work. If you don’t plan ahead and allow yourself enough time you’ll never get out the door feeling relaxed and good about your day.

If you’re super organized like I pretend to be then your awesome organizational skills will also save you time during that morning rush. Making sure that the bathroom is fully stocked with toiletries and having an ample supply of fresh socks, underwear and pantyhose at hand can make getting ready more of a pleasure and less of a chore. If you depend on public transit to get to work, it’s always a good idea to stash your bus pass/tokens/tickets or an arsenal of change for fare in a place that’s convenient and ideally on your way out the door. For those who drive, a car that’s stocked and ready with emergency supplies can be a lifesaver for those days when you’re rushing, and a full tank of gas and pre-programmed GPS can contribute to a smoother commute.

For those who aren’t morning people, consider ways in which you might save time in the morning by switching tasks to your evening routine. I usually check the weather the night before to plan my outfit in advance, and prep my coffee and breakfast dishes so I don’t have to stumble around blindly to find them in the morning. People who find themselves rushing and skipping breakfast may want to keep an arsenal of nutritious snacks or meals on hand that are easy to grab to take with you. Those who find themselves really struggling in the mornings may wish to reconsider their morning routine altogether by showering at night before bed instead of first thing the next day.

Even if you are a morning person, I’ve always believed in packing your bag the night before. If you have multiple jobs or divide your time among multiple clients, you may want to keep a checklist nearby of the materials required for each job to make packing easier.

And if you’re super, super smart you’ll have somewhat of an emergency kit stashed away in your desk at work, in the trunk of your car, or on a shelf of your mudroom so you can grab it as you go out the door. Think of it as your terrible morning toolbox. I’ve got one that I keep in a toiletry bag at work that has feminine products, an extra pair of the disposable contacts that I wear, bobby pins and hair elastics, breath mints, lip balm, hand lotion and a granola bar in case I hit an energy slump.

They’re no substitute for an espresso but hopefully by implementing at least one of these ideas into your morning routine, it’ll give you the injection of energy needed to get out your door and feel good about your day, no caffeine needed.

KBwB-BFlower-50Have you adapted one of these ideas into your morning routine? Is there anything that I’ve missed that you think I should try? Tell me your secrets at keepingbusywithb@gmail.com or share with the rest of us by commenting below.

Looking for other ways to jazz up your routine? I’ve got advice on how to start here, how to break down big projects here, and how to change up how you do your errands here.

Book Review: Timothy Ferris on Scrunching Your Schedule

KBB_Book_Review_TimothyFerrisPeople are often surprised to find out that in addition to my freelancing career, I work part-time as an office administrator at a local family practice. It isn’t easy trying to balance a regular job between freelancing clients but I have to admit that one of the ways that I’ve achieved this is through Timothy Ferris’ technique that I like to call “schedule-scrunching”, as outlined in his bestselling book The Four-Hour Work Week.

Scrunching your schedule isn’t necessarily about sacrificing certain key elements of your workflow- for instance; it would be impossible for someone in a service-based business like my own to cut down on time spent with clients. Instead, making extra time during your work week depends on 1) figuring out which tasks can be streamlined or delegated; and 2) maximizing your schedule for efficiency by grouping together tasks.

Ferris sounds like he leads a pretty wild lifestyle- he dances competitively and travels the world- and he claims that his methodology presented in The Four Hour Work Week has allowed him the time and flexibility to pursue his passions. I’m a little skeptical about the feasibility of running a business using only a weekly four-hour marathon work session, but it’s definitely an attractive idea.

When applying this to my own schedule, I tried to make the most of the days when I work half-day shifts by scheduling client meetings or other appointments during the portion of the day I’m free. It means that for a few days every week I’m working my butt off but the payoff of building a couple of flex days into my schedule has allowed me the freedom to take on new clients, keep on top of housework, and develop personal projects.

For those of you who haven’t totally bought into the hype, there’s still lots of interesting tidbits on how to automate your business, on which tasks to delegate and how, and the most interesting of all (to the budget-obsessed like me), Ferris offers lots of different suggestions on how to cultivate the lifestyle that best suits you for as cheaply as possible. He covers everything from cutting down on business costs to finding cheap airfare so you can too make that dance competition on another continent.

As for me? I’m taking Timothy Ferris’ suggestions to heart, but I’m sticking to armchair travel for now.

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Psst- wanna see which books have previously graced my bookshelves? Click here. Want even more fun reading recommendations? I’ve got some for you here. Don’t forget to find me on Goodreads so we can snoop each other’s bookshelves and dish about our favourites.

Book Review: Cheryl Mendelson on Mastering Homemaking

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I’m a self-proclaimed Martha Stewart fan, and it’s not because I subscribe to the idea that a woman’s place is in the home; nor should women be the sole person responsible for the health and happiness of the entire household. I’ve just always relished the idea of having a clean and comfortable home filled with things that fill me with joy.

There’s a strange satisfaction that comes with cleaning and organizing that comes with completing even the smallest of domestic tasks. It’s a feeling that I always felt existed in opposition to my desire to pay attention to my career. How does a workaholic like me reconcile the urge to be domestic as well? Is it possible to be both?

While Martha Stewart launched a successful business and television career, lawyer Cheryl Mendelson used her passion for all things domestic to launch her writing career with the two volumes of housekeeping hints of biblical proportions. Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House is a meticulously researched and detailed guide for serious home-keepers who believe in the power of a clean and orderly house.

Note I use the word “home-keeping”, and I use it deliberately: this book is not about how to speed clean your home, or taking domestic shortcuts. Mendelson has amassed an encyclopedia on virtually everything you wanted to know about housekeeping and were afraid to ask. Food storage, linen care, even musical instrument maintenance all make appearances on the veritable laundry list (excuse the pun) of subjects covered by Home Comforts.

This might seem to be a strange subject to write about for someone with a career in law, but Mendelson argues both that her demanding schedule and strong domestic background fuelled her need for keeping an orderly house as an independent adult. Her solutions are practical and yet seem rooted in a more romantic time, where homes were seen as places for families and individuals to flourish and grow instead of storage facilities to keep an increasing amount of meaningless possessions.

A client of mine referred to me this manual for some housekeeping issues that I was having and I was so in love with it that my own copy is being shipped as I type this post. I’m looking forward to creating a new approach to cleaning based on some of her methods. Some people may choose to take or leave her advice if they are happy with their existing routines, but I would recommend reading it anyway. The material is so extensive there’s something there to excite novices and experts alike. For those who think they know everything anyway, they may want to check out her other manual (remember I said she had two?) titled Laundry: The Home Comforts Book of Caring for Clothes and Linens. Three guesses as to what it’s about, and the first two don’t count.

Finally, for all of ye nay-sayers who are reading this and scoffing at the idea of housework as being a vital part of our existence, consider this quotation from Mendelson:

“Housekeeping creates cleanliness, order, regularity, beauty, the conditions for health and safety, and a good place to do and feel all the things you wish and need to do and feel in your home.”

Now that’s one smart lawyer.

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Psst- wanna see which books have previously graced my bookshelves? Click here. Want even more fun reading recommendations? I’ve got some for you here. Don’t forget to find me on Goodreads so we can snoop each other’s bookshelves and dish about our favourites.