Given the ever-changing schedules of most nurses, a morning routine is hardly ever typical. Whatever time of day you have to get ready and out the door, there are a few tasks you can do to simplify your routine without too much hassle!

1. Keep Things Where They Belong

Keys, phone, gloves, files – do you ever lose track of these things? Keeping everything in the same place sounds easy, but it never is. When you’re bursting though the door with groceries or kids or pets or on your way to something else, it’s easier to throw your keys wherever they land. But when you’re ready to leave again, your phone might be in your coat pocket, your keys could be on the counter, and who knows where your favorite coffee mug went. Organizers always give this advice – make a place for the essentials and use it. Use a small basket or a couple of hooks for keys and phone and put those items in that spot every single time you come home. Eventually, it will be a habit and you will save hours looking for those crucial items.

2. Write It Down

Can’t remember anything? You’re not alone. Lots of us get so harried when we’re trying to leave the house that we naturally forget things. Make it easy for yourself – write a list and post it on the door. Check it every time you leave. Is your brain spaz forgetting to turn off the coffee pot? Put “coffee pot off” at the top of the list. Need an important file for a presentation in the morning? Write it down. Make a point of checking the list before you go.

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3. Use Your Time Wisely

Having to make lunches, sign forms, gather papers, and prep the coffee pot before you leave is a huge hassle. Use the time before you go to bed (whenever that might be) to take a few minutes to prep for the next day. Cut melon and pack it in a container so you can grab a healthy snack. Make your lunch, put out your clothes, sign any school forms, and gather library books before you go to bed. When you’re scrambling in the morning, you’ll have less tasks to complete.

4. Give Yourself Extra Time

No one likes to hear this one, but it can really make your day start off better. Set your alarm 15 minutes ahead of your normal time and watch how your out-the-door rush becomes more manageable. Use the 15 minutes to actually sit down and have a cup of coffee instead of gulping it over the sink. Take a moment to make sure everything you need is ready to go or enjoy having the extra couple of minutes to take care of something. A little extra time ensures those unexpected glitches don’t derail your day.

5. Beat the Clock

Whether you’re trying to just get yourself out the door or your whole family, make your deadlines clear! Post the times the kids have to be dressed, fed, or at the bus stop. Write the times when you have to have your shower finished, your breakfast eaten, and when you have to leave for work. Keep checking the posted times against the clock and get everyone into the habit of doing the same. Eventually, you’ll save your voice and your routine will become a habit.

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These are a few ideas that can help you get out the door faster. What kinds of time-saving tips work for you?

Julia Quinn-Szcesuil
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