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7 Steps to a better commute

Tiffany Velez

Here are seven things I do each day to better my odds of having a smooth morning.


t I know there are many moms out there in my shoes. I just got a new job in Alexandria, Virginia, which is an hour and 45 minutes north of Richmond (where I live). As I was debating whether or not to take the job, I had to figure out how in the heck I was going to make the daily commute.

t I’m a divorced mom with an 8-year-old son. Brennan’s dad and I have joint custody, and Brennan splits the week between us both. Being a mom almost two hours away (on a good day) brought me great anxiety every time I thought about it — I had to figure out a master plan to deal with the following:


  1. How could I get up at 4 a.m., be on the road by 4:45 p.m., drive and be ready to sell with excitement and energy at 8 a.m.?
  2. t

  3. How could I ensure Brennan would be ready to go after I left each morning?

I tackled each issue separately, but it was too overwhelming. Then I figured out that the following seven steps would better my odds of having a smooth morning. Check them out.



t The night before, I make sure our clothes are selected and ironed. There’s no time in the morning for wardrobe changes.



t I go to sleep on time. Having to get up at 4 a.m. isn’t easy. I used to believe I couldn’t function on anything less than eight hours. Now I try my best to get into bed by 9 p.m. (I need about an hour to fall asleep). This gives me about six hours of sleep.



t I make sure all lunches (as well as snacks) are prepared the night before. I also pack Brennan’s backpack the night before so all I have to do in the morning is slip his lunchbox into his backpack — super simple.



t Brennan is set up for Richard in the morning. I leave the house early — around 4:45 a.m. — when Brennan is asleep. Rich is responsible for waking Brennan up, reminding him to brush his teeth, ensuring he’s not dressed for summer when it’s 40 degrees out, making his breakfast, and sending him out the door for pickup. I make sure that Brennan’s vitamins are on the counter and that his backpack, coat, sneakers and hat are by the door for quick pickup, without a second thought.



t Sometimes, I feel as though my car is my second home. I spend 4 to 6 hours in it on some days. I try my best to make sure the car is gassed up the night before. I would prefer to not make any stops at 5 a.m. when it’s super dark. I also make sure my car is packed up with my work bag and any luggage I may have, giving me one less thing to do in the morning.



t This is an easy trick. I’m a hard-core coffee drinker. I can’t function in the mornings without it. I place my filter and coffee in the maker the night before so all I have to do is hit “go” for it to start brewing. Simple and super easy.


Be flexible

t Things will happen — it’s life. I try my best to get the six things above done the night before, but sometimes it’s not possible. If I’m able to get most of them done the night before, then I usually have time in the morning for one or two remaining items.

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