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7 Easy Ways to Simplify Your Super-Hectic Morning Routine

Julie Sprankles is a freelance writer living in the storied city of Charleston, SC. When she isn't slinging sass for SheKnows, she enjoys watching campy SyFy creature features (Pirahnaconda, anyone?), trolling the internet for dance work...

Mornings are the worst, but these tips can help get your day off to a much smoother start

The alarm clock rings, and you hit snooze. You roll back over and try to eke out five more minutes of sleep before the familiar beep-beep-beep starts blaring again, interrupting your REM cycle for good. The rest of the morning flies by in a blur as you hastily try to get dressed, feed your family and get out the door before you're officially late to work.

And every morning as you flurry through the a.m. hours like a whirling dervish, you think to yourself, "There's gotta be a better way."

Well, there's no time like the present to take action. By making a few simple tweaks to your morning routine, you can start every day off on the right foot. Give 'em a try if you're ready to reclaim your morning sanity and actually feel joyful about the day to come.

1. Map out your morning menu

It's terribly tempting when you're running around trying to get ready in the morning to skip breakfast altogether, especially if you hadn't put any prior thought into what you would eat. However, we all know by now that breakfast is brain food, right? Besides, sliding right past breakfast isn't even an option if you have kids — tiny tummies wake up hungry, and they naturally all want something different to eat. By making note of what you (and your family members) will be eating each morning, it eliminates the chaos that comes with trying to throw something together at the last minute.

More: 5 Ways to Keep Your Hectic Life Organized

2. Steer clear of your cellphone

Also on the forbidden list: your laptop, tablet or any other tools and toys. It's no secret that social media is a giant time-sucker, but tethering yourself to any technology in the morning eats away at minutes you could be spending in more productive ways. Remove it from the equation and you may be surprised at how much time you free up — enough, let's say, to wash and style your hair before heading to work.

3. Make a checklist

It's one thing to make mental notes of what you need to accomplish. It's another thing altogether to have a physical list staring you in the face, practically begging for you to check off its items. The sheer satisfaction you'll get from making it down the entire column of tasks should be incentive enough to keep your morning cruising down the right track.

More: 25 Sweet Quotes That Celebrate the Magic of Motherhood

4. Pre-pack your lunch

Do you see a pattern forming? Meal planning makes life easier. It just does. If you wait until the eleventh hour to pack your lunch, you're leaving a lot to chance — that you won't feel too rushed to grab something, that you won't forget, that you'll pack something relatively healthy... you get the gist. When you front-load your time and forethought into packing your lunch the night before, you can breeze through the morning with the peace of mind that something yummy is waiting for you in the fridge.

5. Plan your daily pick-me-ups

If you're anything like me, you need a little sumthin' to look forward to in order to get through the day. It doesn't have to be a huge deal, just something simple that keeps you motivated enough to keep pushing — and it's gotta be a treat that doesn't take a lot of morning prep time. If you chill a bottle of iced tea (like NESTEA's yummy peach-flavored tea) and pop it in your bag to sip midday, you'll be gifted with a nice little mood lift that takes zero effort.

6. Utilize double-duty products

This doesn't mean to go out and stock up on mega-bottles of shampoo-plus-conditioner hybrids (unless you've found one that doesn't weigh down hair, in which case you should share!). Rather, we're talking two-for-one beauty products. Think a tinted moisturizer that has also has your a.m. dose of SPF or a "stain" you can use on your lips and cheeks. It may not seem like much, but these double-duty beauty products can shave valuable minutes off your morning routine.

More: 12 Things Your Cleaning Person Wants to Tell You, but Won't

7. Consider a capsule wardrobe

You've probably heard a hundred times how laying out your wardrobe the night before makes mornings much, much easier. There's a reason for the repetition — it's true, and it's true largely because we all have more clothes than we really know what to do with. Simplifying your closet to create a capsule wardrobe, though, means you'll spend less time fussing over what to wear. What is a capsule wardrobe you ask? It's when you cut your options way, way down to some basics that are easy to mix and match. You may think that having more clothes to choose from is the way to go, but it actually makes things more complicated — and any time we can make things less complicated, it's a joyous occasion. For real — you'll be surprised how much happier you will be through the rest of the day when you don't start your morning with a closet war.

This post is sponsored by NESTEA.

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