QUIT THE MORNING RUSH

There was a time when my rush hour would start even before I hit the road – when all I had time for was a quick shower and two sips out of my coffee mug. For over a year, my mornings seemed like that of a tazmanian devil running in and out the bedroom, the bathroom, and the doorway. Most days, I would run back in to pick up something I forgot, then run back out to the car. Then I “floor it” like Michael Schumacher, aiming to keep a 30-minute drive down to 15.

A year of this and I realized how stressful I was making my life, by starting my day wrong. This crazy, rushed routine was bad, bad, bad for my health, body and mind. My stress barometers were way up so early in the morning that shutting them off during the day was close to impossible.

It took a bout of flu and some kind of respiratory infection to make me listen to my fatigued body. With no choice but to stay in bed for three days, I realized how mercilessly I abused myself. It was time for some lifestyle modification. I needed to learn how to start my day right.

MORNINGS SHOULD BE CALM

My idea of a “good morning” is this:

• a slow rise out of bed, with time to curl back a little and stretch, if I want to…

• waking up to the sights and sounds of the early morning: birds chirping, lawn mowers, slow engines…

• an alarm that goes off a good 5 minutes AFTER I have opened my eyes…

• listening to my ipod’s “good morning” playlist while brewing coffee, slicing bananas and pouring milk on my cereal…

• leisurely eating on the breakfast nook while I leaf through a magazine…

• switching to my “meditate” playlist and listening to it for a good 15 minutes as I quietly look out the window seat, even out my breathing, say my morning prayers and plan my day…

• time for an unrushed shower, getting dressed, blow drying my hair, putting on make-up and accessories…

• heading out of the door with an organized carry-all with everything I need…

• a pleasant drive to work that takes me to my office with a 15 minute head start before the rest of the office walks in…

There’s nothing like the calm of the morning to send us out into the day. Not everyone can enjoy the luxury of a peaceful morning.

Or so we think.

Think again. Here are some adjustments I made to my day, just so I could make the scenarios I listed above, into an everyday reality for me:

THE NIGHT BEFORE

Plan your tomorrow. Make it a habit to check your calendar for the next day’s appointment. This gives you time to prepare for them. (I.e. The printed documents for tomorrow’s meeting, the birthday gift for your client, etc).

Make your To-Do-List. Making them the night before saves you a lot of time the next day. You end the day with clear directions as to what you want to accomplish tomorrow.

Pack your bag. Put everything you need together in your carry-all – your laptop, your document folder, the bills you have to pay, etc. Line up all the other things you’ll have to carry out with you in one place – your keys, your umbrella, your cellphone.

Choose your outfit. This will save you a lot of time in the morning when you do the planning and choosing tonight. Complete down to the shoes and the accessories. Hang them out ready to wear for tomorrow.

Know what you’ll have for breakfast. Make a mental choice of what you want to eat tomorrow. Set the coffee pot ready for brewing. This will save you “choosing” time as you open your refrigerator in the morning.

Clear your mind. The last thing you have to do before hitting the sack is to clear your mind. You can do this by saying your night prayers, by meditating, or by simply thinking of “nothing” as you drift to sleep.

Get an assistant. Work smarter, not harder. Having an assistant allows you to have more time for the more important tasks that only you can do. Your assistant can take care of the many other little things that eat up a lot of your time. A very able and competent assistant can help you sleep well at night, without having to fret about the little details. Your assistant can help you make each morning a good one, and allow you to have that work life balance that you’ve always wanted.

About Pepper Virtual Assistants

Pepper Virtual Assistant Services is a business solutions firm that specializes on administrative assistance, customer support, CRM, copywriting, and personal virtual assistance. We take pride in our reliable service and responsive client handling which embodies our team’s optimal performance.

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