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8 Dos and don'ts to simplify your morning routine

Molly Cerreta Smith loves writing about all things mommy, parenting, food, health and travel. When she's not staring into the face of her Mac, she loves to hike, read, do messy crafts with her kids and compete in BBQ competitions with he...

Stay organized in the morning

Everything seems to be a little more complicated these days -- and the chaos begins first thing in the morning! But the a.m. routine sets the pace for your whole day, so you need to start it off right. Here are some easy dos and don'ts to help you simplify your morning routine and get out the door on time without forgetting a thing. Imagine that!

Family eating cereal for breakfast

DO: Skimp on the shower

Try to cut down your shower time by shaving your legs every other day instead of every day; try the same trick with shampooing your hair. You can salvage a great blow dry or straightening job for a few days, and your hair will thank you for giving it a break from the daily routine. Wear slacks or jeans on the alternate day if you think people might notice a bit of "leg stubble," and rock a sleek, professional ponytail on days when there is simply no time to wash your hair.

DON'T: Overdo it

Scale back your makeup routine. You'll not only save tons of time, but you'll also allow your face some much-needed time to breathe! Visit a makeup counter when you have some time, and seek out the advice of a makeup professional. Request a natural yet polished look that you can accomplish at home in less than 10 minutes. You'll be surprised how put-together you can look in such a short time.

DO: Prepare

On the previous night, try to get as much done as possible in preparation for the day ahead. Select the outfit you'll wear and iron or steam it that night, if needed. Don't wait until the next morning. Shower the night before, pack the kids' lunches and prepare your to-do list for the following day.

DON'T: Make breakfast a big production

Save the homemade biscuits and individual customized omelettes for Sunday brunch. For ordinary mornings, consider quick, easy and healthful alternatives such as whole-grain toast with peanut butter and an apple, whole-grain cereal or cereal bars, yogurt and fruit (pre-slice what you can the night before, but save things like bananas for the morning).

DON'T: Forget to breathe

It's just the beginning of the day, after all -- getting frazzled will only add to your morning frustrations. If you are running late and can't find your other shoe, just take a deep breath, count to 10 and relax. Remember that everyone else has hectic times, too.

DO: Delegate

Ask the kids to help out with the morning grind and reward them accordingly. Have them put their dishes away after eating breakfast, prepare their backpacks (ensuring they have all their homework from the night before) and get themselves dressed. Have the kids select their outfits the night before so you can avoid hearing, "MOM! I have nothing to wear!"

DON'T: Turn on the television

TV will slow everyone down, so leave it off while you are preparing to get out of the house. If you need a traffic update, turn off the television immediately after you've received the news, or wait until you are in your car to listen for traffic updates on the radio. Tell the kids that, if they are ready early, they can watch television until you have to leave.

DO: Make a to-do list

Jot down your agenda for the day so you know exactly where you need to be and when. Refer to your list often so you don't get sidetracked and forget a task.

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