Advice / Succeeding at Work / Productivity

How to Get Out the Door Faster in the Morning (Without Waking up Earlier)

A logo with "the muse" in white text.
woman getting ready for work courtesy Peopleimages/Getty Images

The time between waking up and leaving the house for work seems to elapse so much more quickly than any other hours in the day—even if you’re a morning person.

It’s a busy time, what with making the coffee, taking a shower, finding the right outfit, locating the missing shoe, and making sure you have the essentials—wallet and keys—before you walk out the door. Setting the alarm 15 minutes earlier isn’t an option.

But prepping the night before is!

I’ve found that one of the only ways to consistently get that time back and create a smoother morning is to stage everything I need the night before.

And while it’s often tough for me to drag myself off of the couch when I’m snuggled up with a book or catching up on my shows, I do it because I know that a little advance effort literally makes my mornings better and less frazzled.

Here’s the best way to set yourself up for a pain-free start to your day if you have five, 10, or 15 minutes to spare before bed.

Place your wallet, keys, bag, sunglasses, water bottle, and any absolute essential work items near the door.

Still have time?

Fill your coffeemaker (or tea kettle!) with water and set your mug out.

Pack a lunch using any leftovers from dinner, and then stick a note on your door to remind yourself to remember said lunch. (And if you need easy brown bag ideas, here are 52.)

Still have time?

Take advantage of your Wi-Fi connection and download podcasts, ebooks, or music for your commute.

Check the weather and lay out your work outfit. If you exercise in the morning, make a pile of everything you’ll wear, all the way down to sneakers, socks, watch, and earbuds so that you’ll have no reason to delay your morning workout.

Still have time?

Steal this tip from Muse writer, Kat Moon’s article on bedtime routines and write down your three most important tasks for tomorrow so that you’ll know your priorities tomorrow morning.

Any time you can save in the morning is a win.

And while it’s admittedly difficult to get home from a long day and do more not-so-fun stuff, I promise you that once you get in the habit of setting yourself up for a successful, stress-free morning, you’ll wonder how you ever survived without it.

Seriously, five minutes really isn’t too much to ask for a peaceful morning.