No one who knows me would describe me as a cheerful morning person. When I finally tumble out of bed after hitting the snooze button — at least twice — most often I am incoherent and moving at a snail’s pace. Because my vanity will not allow me to leave the house sporting the disheveled look, luckily, I found a way to adapt to early mornings. This tested and proven method of managing to get out of the house looking pretty polished and on time is called planning ahead.
1. Plan outfits weekly: When I had a regular nine to five, I’d always make sure that I had my wardrobe vision together for the entire work week. Every Sunday I’d take time to pull out several outfits that I thought I might like to wear during the week based on the forecasted temperature and my mood. I called it intuitive styling. Even if I didn’t commit to wearing every piece in each ensemble, at least I had some starter pieces already pulled out that I could quickly build around in the morning if I needed to make a last minute wardrobe change.
2. Set out makeup/accessories: Because great accessories can make an outfit and makeup says that you put some thought and effort into your look, always be sure to keep your options readily accessible. This means, if your jewelry or makeup drawer looks more like a junk drawer go ahead and pull out what you will need the night before. Invest in products that do double duty like tinted moisturizers and lip balms as well as hair products that style and moisturize. The less products that you have to apply, the fewer steps it’ll take you to get out of the house.
3. Groom heavily the night before: If you can, shower and shave before bed. This step is ideal to cut down on morning prep time; followed by moisturizing heavily, applying deodorant and cleaning up brows. However, if you absolutely need to shower in the a.m. to help perk up, set a time limit and consider bringing your toothbrush and face cleanser in there with you. When you step out you’ll be squeaky clean from head to toe and ready to rock.
4. Plan meals: This step is not only a huge time-saver, but can also help you manage your eating habits when you know what’s on your food menu from day to day. Consider re-purposing last night’s stir-fry for lunch the next day. If you’re a big breakfast person try pre-making food that can take a long time to cook. The one thing that I will not leave the house without is my morning tea. And because I’m sort of obsessive over my ritual, I make sure that I strategically set everything up from the teapot to the teabag to the sliced lemons the night before.
5. Put keys, cell phone and purse in the same place nightly: All of the above steps work together to help you get to this last phase. If one or more of these essential items is missing in the morning, everything else that you did beforehand to save time is pretty much useless. If you switch purses regularly make sure the one you grab has all of your necessities. There’s nothing worse than getting to the train station and realizing that your wallet is still at home in yesterday’s bag.
Being fashionably late everyday is not cute, at all. Be accountable for your time by realistically assessing how long it will take to pull yourself together and get to where you’re going. When you show up on time, looking your best and ready to do your best, you exude competence, composure and dependability. And trust, that’s a good look that will not go unnoticed.