Leave 15 Minutes Early, and Other Morning Routine Tips


For a full-time writer at a productivity blog, I’m pretty bad at mornings. So when we asked Lifehacker’s Facebook fans for their best hacks for making mornings easier, I was excited for the answers. We got some great tips!

Popular tricks include a programmable coffeemaker, a repeating alarm, and getting out your clothes overnight. Here are the best tips from the thread.

Federico Valentín Durán Fernández mentally preps the night before:

I go to sleep thinking of some interesting task I have to do the next day, and then wake up anticipating said task, which motivates me from bed to bus stop to desk.

Ashley Coffman focuses on the day’s rewards:

When I find it hard to get up and motivated, I think of at least three goods I have to look forward to that day. Sometimes it’s as simple as pizza for lunch or a new episode of a favorite show.

Ken Dewey sets a series of terrible alarms, but never has to hear them:

I have the “Screaming Goat” as my alarm…it is set at fifteen minute increments from 4:30 AM to 6:30 AM…I can normally wake myself up five or ten minutes before the first ear-bone shattering wail. I become fully awake when turning on my alarm app to disable each and every one of the alarms.

Kat Bryan also has a multi-alarm system for the family’s morning routines:

A series of alarms that go off every 30 minutes that I track my morning progress against. Breakfast and dressed in first 30 minutes, then hair and makeup during the next 30 minutes. 30 minutes of play with the child etc. Then a completely different alarm for 10 minutes before I have to leave the house.

The ten-minute warning one is a godsend as everyone knows at that point they have 10 minutes to get their act together to meet me at the car. The little one checks his bag, I get last minute instructions from the other adult, I spend 3 minutes frantically searching for my keys etc. =) It works for me.

Elizabeth Bush has an alarm right out of a puzzle game:

The first alarm won’t turn off without scanning a QR code I keep in the bathroom. Then I set a few alarms for while I’m getting ready so I know if I’m at the right place in my routine or if I’m late.

PolBob Trembler has an even cooler one:

I have an alarm that obligates me to get to a very bright light source. All the LED flashlights are on the other side of the house. If I don’t get there in time, my alarm blares even louder in my speakers.

And Tamara Kane targets her alarm to a certain household demographic:

Meme music to wake my kids up. It’s the only thing that works.

Steve Heffelfinger gets up on time by getting to sleep on time:

Putting the phone down when I get into bed. That’s 30-45 mins of sleep I wasn’t getting last year.

Lisa Raine starts early so she can take it easy:

I get up early and leave myself plenty of time to get ready and out the door. I am not a morning person and I *hate* being rushed.

Ryan Ferguson found a better way to wake up gradually:

Eliminated the snooze button from my life a LONG time ago. It is the devil.

Switched to one of those wake up lights that slowly gets brighter—that works pretty well.

Ben Hart takes full control of his lighting:

Black out shades, cheap wall outlet timer, couple extension cords, and lamps. Doesn’t matter if I have to get up at 0400, an artificial dawn at 0330 does wonders.

Canberk Hancan, uh, exorcises his demons:

Laying on the bed farting my ass off, annihilating every good smell that exists for a while until there is no gas left inside anymore. Then I begin my day in harmony.

Diosa Negra found the perfect time for her nightly setup:

While cooking dinner the night before, I lay out my outfit for the next morning, prep my tote bag and fix my lunch.

Matt Fran doesn’t do anything before his morning coffee substitute:

I drink a concentrated caffeinated drink before I even roll out of bed. I have one premixed on my nightstand made the night before. Within a couple of minutes I’m charged up and ready for the day.

Guido Hulscher has a pretty good one:

I hesitate to say it, but… morning sex.

Joseph Plata eats a complete breakfast in one bowl:

1-minute oats with a bit of water in the microwave for 1-1/2 minutes, then add a few tablespoons of egg whites, stir, add coffee and chocolate milk, stir, enjoy.

Mark May Hem gets outside:

I get up 10 minutes earlier and walk outside no matter the weather. My neighborhood is at its best when no one is up.

Sean Patrick creates margins to avoid being late:

Set a leave time that is 15 minutes before you have to go, and stick to it. You’ll of course remember last minute things that cost you time, but you won’t be late.

Jessica Moore-Lucas starts her day with a show:

I get up about 45 minutes before the rest of my family, putter around and listen to podcasts while I wake up. When it’s time to get the kids up for school, I’ve been up long enough that I’m in a better mood so it’s only their crabbiness in play, not mine. 

Heather Moss has a singalong:

I listen to music that I enjoy singing along to. It wakes me up faster than anything else, and puts me in a good mood as I get ready for work.

See something missing? Know the name of that cool light-activated alarm? Tell us!



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