Mornings are probably the most important yet least managed part of the day. If you are like most people, you spend your mornings struggling to overcome the urges to crawl back into bed. Before you know it, you are running all over the place to prevent the morning traffic. Then when you think you have beaten the clock, you forget where you put you car keys. You end up arriving 15 minutes late for work, miss the morning meeting and spend the next 10 minutes hearing your manager rant about time management and how you should get some. Well, if you fall into this category, this article is for you. In this post I discuss 5s (a lean tool) ideas for your morning routine. If you are unfamiliar with lean, read this article. It is simply an improvement methodology developed by Toyota and used within their production processes to streamline their operations. Essentially it can be used in any process as you will see it applied in the morning routine ideas shown below:
As implied by 5s, there are 5 processes to follow: sort, set in order, shine, standardize and sustain:
The first step in the process involves removing unnecessary items and steps in your morning routine. These include simplifying your morning regime and only adding necessary components. Ask yourself: What is not necessary? The following are some great morning routine ideas to use for the “sort” stage:
- Use 2 in 1 cosmetic products to remove the need to apply multiple products
- Remove steps in your morning routine that is waste such as watching TV or social media. These are not necessary and therefore only consumes your time.
- Identify unproductive methods of doing things e.g. having a hot tub bath as opposed to a shower. A shower could be quicker and more efficient.
- Find easier breakfast solutions. Cereal as opposed to a gourmet omelette could save you loads of time.
Set in order
Once you have identified what items are necessary, the next step is to streamline your morning routine to make it as efficient as possible. Use the following “set in order” morning routine ideas to accomplish this:
- Put all common items together e.g. all the stuff you use for showering in one corner and the stuff after showering separately. This is to ensure that they are easy to find and accessible.
- Next look at processes in your routine. Look at ways of ordering the tasks you need to do such that you are able to maximize your time. For example you wouldn’t shower then go for a run then shower again. Instead go for a run and then shower. This eliminates a waste step and makes the process more time efficient.
- The purpose of this step is easy work flow, so ensure that all commonly used items are in front of you – easy to find. This will include your keys and wallet. Keep them at the same place so you never misplace them.
This step includes removing clutter and cleaning up your surroundings. This will make it easier to find items and also clear your mind as your thoughts are a reflection of your surroundings. The following are some “shine” morning routine ideas to implement:
- Develop habits like dressing your bed immediately after waking up
- Ensure that the tables where you keep the stuff you need are cleaned and all unnecessary items are removed
- Keep cosmetics in bags so that they don’t get strewn all over the place
- Pack shoes away – this also prevents a tripping hazard
This step involves repeating the above steps so that they become a standard morning routine. The advantage of a standardized routine means less room for error and more accurate accountability of time. The following are some great “standardize” morning routine ideas to carry out:
- Utilize your willpower to develop habits
- If something doesn’t work, change it around until it makes sense
- Constantly identify and rectify deviations in your morning routine
The sustain stage involves being able to constantly follow the routine you develop for yourself. Make sure that the routine you develop is easy to follow and gives you the most productivity. When you feel the urge to deviate back to your old ways, remind yourself of the benefits to sticking to the regime you developed. This will help you stay on track and make the most of your mornings.