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Being a “morning person”

I get accused of being a morning person on a pretty regular basis.  This seems to be based mostly on the fact that I can wake up and be out of the house in under 5 minutes, even at 6am.  Also, once I’m moving, I’m reasonably cheerful and actually functional.  This most definitely didn’t used to be true.

The secret?  Plan your day and lay everything out before you go to bed.  That way, you don’t have to try to make your brain work right after your alarm goes off.  You can just let your body carry you through the morning and out the door and all you have to concentrate on is how pretty early morning light is.

When I was younger, I was constantly at war with my mother regarding the time I was supposed to get up.  My sister and I both played musical instruments, and for a while, Mom felt that we needed to practice in the mornings, before doing anything else, including go to school.  I recall thinking that it was miserably cold, dark and unreasonable to get up so early… I’m pretty sure we were getting up at 6?  Maybe 6:30.  I HATED getting up so early.  It didn’t last long; we started driving ourselves to school which required leaving absurdly early, I think around 7am, because we were picking up a friend and also parking was definitely a *thing* at our school, and if we weren’t stupidly early, there wouldn’t be any.  I hated this, too, and I got good at doing the bare minimum before leaving the house, and doing the rest in the car; I got very good at extremely quick showers and then braiding my hair in the car.  I never bothered with makeup, because seriously, I do not care enough to get up any earlier.  I wore jeans and a t-shirt every day, so wardrobe planning was minimal.

When I got to college, I intentionally chose classes in the afternoons, because screw mornings.  This left me little option, though, when I decided I wanted a job; all my classes were in the afternoon, so I needed to work in the morning.  I ended up in a coffee shop, opening.  This meant I was at work at or slightly before 6:30am every morning.  I was still a college student, so I was routinely going to sleep around 3am every night.  Since I was going to sleep so late, and I was getting so little sleep and I usually was going straight from work to class, it was really important to have all my ducks in a row before I left each morning.  Doing it in the morning failed miserably, every time.  So I started getting my things together each night before I went to bed.

I put my bag and keys in the same place when I came home each night.  I pulled my outfit for the next day and laid it out in the order I would put it on (not kidding, I even laid out my underwear and socks).  I put out any jewelry or accessories that I wanted.  I’d do a mental inventory of my classes for the next day and make sure the books and homework I needed were in my bag.  My shoes lived next to the front door, and I’d pull the pair I was going to wear and put it with my bag.  Anything that could be done ahead of time, I did.  I’d write down the most efficient way I could think of to do all the activities required to get myself out the door, and I’d do them in that order until I thought of a more efficient way, then I’d revamp it.  Yeah, I was kind of weird.  I was also extremely sleep deprived, and I would definitely have failed all of my classes if not for the stupid amounts of planning.

When I left college, I ended up working at yet another coffee shop; this one opened even earlier.  My pre-going-to-bed ritual started to include things like setting the heater and defrost to full blast when I got out for the last time of the day.  My hair regime boiled down to “throw it in a ponytail” while I walked from my car to the shop.  I started writing down the efficient way to open the shop, too, and optimizing it.  I even tried pre-tooth-pasting my toothbrush a few times.  I don’t recommend it.

Eventually, I got to the point where I could get out of the house for work in under 15 minutes, including a shower and cooking breakfast.  If I skipped the shower and breakfast, it was more like 3 minutes from bedroom to starting the car.

I still hate having to be somewhere before 10am.  I still hate setting my alarm.  But if I need to?  I make my own life as easy as possible by planning what I’m going to need with me, and then laying it all out before I go to bed so that I don’t have to worry about it right after my alarm goes off while I’m still super groggy.  I can just head out the door knowing that I have everything I need, and I can enjoy the quietness of early morning.  Morning is truly beautiful if you’re not panicking.  I really love riding my bike early in the morning, or going for a walk.  Even if I’m not keen on getting up, some pre-planning means that I can enjoy the beauty around me instead of frantically trying to make my brain work to get me somewhere on time.