If you’re anything like us, you waste at least five minutes every morning looking for your keys or favourite lip gloss before racing out the door. If only you could get into the habit of putting those things in the same place. In her new book Better than Before, writer (and pursuer of happiness) Gretchen Rubin digs into the science behind these daily habits, and what it takes to make or break them. She shared her tips for leaving your house on time — maybe even a little early.
1. Prep the Night Before
Rubin says the biggest stressor on early mornings is not getting enough sleep the night before. She suggests setting a bedtime alarm to get more shut-eye, and prepping for the AM before you hit the pillow. Pack your bag and pick out your outfit for the next day right after dinner instead of waiting until you’re exhausted, so that it becomes second nature.
2. Stop Snoozing
Hitting the snooze button, as tempting as it always is, makes for a frazzled morning: “Because you are like, ‘Oh, five more minutes, five more minutes,” says Rubin, “you are 10 minutes short of what you needed and you forget things.” Instead of prolonging your stay in bed incrementally, save yourself the mad scramble by placing your alarm clock far from reach or by going to sleep earlier (see above!).
3. Take a Reality Check
Chances are your morning shower takes longer than the six minutes you think it does. Time yourself to see how long it really takes to wash and dry your hair, make breakfast, and get your kids ready — a process Rubin calls “monitoring.” If your shower actually lasts 20 minutes, do it the night before. Or if you know that making school lunches takes 15 minutes, budget that time into when you set your morning alarm.
4. Sweeten Your Commute
Traffic and crowded subway trains are no fun — which is a big reason why people often put them off by running late. In order to make your commute something you want to start on time, Rubin recommends pairing it with something enjoyable, like a podcast or audiobook. If earbuds aren’t your thing, agreeing to carpool or take the same train with a friend will make you both accountable for being on time.
5. Set a Recurring Early Meeting
The best cure for strolling into work 15 minutes late is a can’t-miss meeting at the other end of your commute. If you want to arrive by 9AM, set a morning check-in with a coworker to ensure you won’t flake — even if it’s just coffee. Knowing that you could potentially be wasting someone else’s time with your tardiness will help motivate you to get in on time.
– Maura M. Lynch