Every single day we spend time getting ourselves ready and prepared to head out into the world, everything from grabbing our keys to getting dressed, to putting on shoes and winter gear. Time management is important for so many reasons and let’s be real here, in the morning it’s mostly to enjoy more sleep. I am a big fan of sleep, lots and lots of sleep. Due to that, I have dialed in a rapid morning routine that takes 15 minutes from the time I get out of bed until the time I am waiting outside for my morning ride.
Your motivation for a system to get out the door quickly might be different than (one of) mine:
- Create more time for your side hustle
- Create more time for your family
- Create less stress in your day
- Get some more sleep
- Simplify your day
5 Ways to Get Out the Door Quickly
Lunch Packing & Stacking
I have to take my lunch to work every day, or resort to my safety can of beans. Beans are delicious, but I like to keep them as the backup plan, you know? Over time, I have developed a dialed-in system for ensuring that taking lunch is easy-peasey. Plus, taking lunch saves boatloads of money. For most folks, if you forget your lunch, it’s going to set you back at least $10, by accident.
My gold-standard in lunch packing is when I put lunch into containers while I am making dinner, or plating what I’m going to eat that night. I go scoop-scoop-scoop-scoop. Four scoops: one each for dinner and one each for lunch, into reusable containers. There’s no returning to it after dinner is eaten, everything is already done.
Of course, that’s the gold standard. Most days I end up packing lunches after dinner is done. Sometimes it’s the last thing I do before bed (other than brush my teeth, of course!). Let’s call this the silver standard.
Super Pro Hack: I stack the lunch containers in the same order, every single night. Mine is the one on the top (I leave first) and my spouse’s is on the bottom.
Why take note of this little thing? Simplification is what de-stresses life. Similar to people who stick to a tiny wardrobe, or single outfit, like Steve Jobs’s black turtlenecks, it doesn’t require any mental capacity whatsoever. Plus, it doesn’t take time. I reach into the shelf, grab the top container(s) and go. No hunting around, no checking the contents, no estimating which one has more food in it!
This system also means that all of the containers are fair game. Most things aren’t sold in multiple colours these days, so we can’t colour-code who gets what. The stacking system solves that problem. If you have more than two people, you can use different locations in the fridge, or put the lunch bags into the fridge, to make it easier for yourself.
No Makeup or Fancy Hair
Just don’t bother. This saves tons of time, and tons of money. I have about five go-to hairstyles, none of which require anything to be plugged into the wall. The most complicated ones involve some braids. If you are super-keen to continue to wear makeup, I recommend sticking to eyeshadow, mascara and lipstick. That’s it.
Breakfast is Done
Now, I cheat. I eat breakfast at work. I know, I know, I’m a big-bad misleader.
I didn’t always cheat, though. Back in the good old days when I could eat eggs, every Sunday afternoon I would bake up a batch of egg muffins. They are dead simple.
Step two: Add a small amount of veggies, herbs, spices or even cheese to the tins. A small amount is key.
Step three: Crack an egg into each muffin tin and then swish it a bit with a fork.
Step four: Bake until cooked through.
Step five: Put them all in a container in the fridge.
Now you can very quickly grab two egg muffins and eat them as you walk out the door.
It takes about twenty minutes, start to finish, to make these. That equates to four minutes per workday. Are you currently spending four minutes on breakfast? I am not willing to bet against that! Now you are down to about 20 seconds, to open the fridge and grab two muffins. You can also down a banana or an apple, if you’d like. The time spent on Sunday is mostly baking time, too, so you can do other things once the eggs are in the oven.
Consider breakfast hacked.
Another piece of the puzzle that no longer requires mental space, either.
For more grab and go breakfast ideas:
- Pre portion trail mix and eat fresh fruit
- Pre portion big yogurts into smaller containers and add fruit
- Make fruit salad and eat some cheese (protein, folks, we need protein)
- Make DIY protein bars and portion them out in ready to grab containers
Almost all of my wardrobe coordinates with everything else. There are basically the brown-tone clothes and the black-tone clothes. Most days I wear a pair of grey or black dress pants with a sweater. I have a pair of black shoes and a pair of brown shoes, so my shoe choices are dictated very quickly by my outfit.
There’s no agonizing over what to wear, or spending time thinking through outfits. If I have a big presentation coming up the next day, I will think about what I’m going to wear as I’m getting ready for bed and sometimes even get theclothes out and ready to go for the morning.
Again, the mantra here is to simplify. Take the Steve Jobs approach and make your decision-making process simple, then don’t over-complicate it.
No Other Activities
Once upon a time, in a time long passed, I used to make mistakes. Dangerous mistakes. Almost-miss-your-ride mistakes.
It seemed innocent enough. No big deal. Then I would get SUCKED IN.
Facebook. It’s an evil machine.
I would be ready to go, with nothing to do and five or ten minutes to spare.
I would sit myself down on the couch and press the power button on the laptop.
Then, the next thing you know, I would see the clock and freak out, or, much worse, get a text message from my coworkers wondering where the bleep I was!
Resist the temptation.
Do NOT do anything extra in the morning, unless you are going to specifically include time for that activity every day.
If you do include something, make it consistently the same activity, so that the time is predictable, or set a timer and limit yourself to 5 minutes, maximum. If you use the timer method, the activity needs to be something from which you can just walk away.
My temptations are to empty the dishwasher, fold laundry, tidy up the living room or open my computer.
Instead, get to your destination early and check your email on your phone.
How to Get Out the Door Quickly in One Simple Message
Simplify your process and make it a routine.
Eliminate variables and prep things in batches, so that the average time to complete something like making breakfast is greatly reduced.
Preparing things in advance may seem like it is just moving time to another part of your day, but it does more than that. Bulk-prep is faster, and bulk prep eliminates a ton of mental bandwith suck. Free up your mind and de-stress, while being faster. It’s winning all around.
Much like meal planning, dialing in a quick morning routine thanks to eliminating choices, is a huge boon to mental health.
Then, use your new time and mental energy to focus on things that matter.
What tips can you share to help us all get out the door quickly?