Still trying to find your morning groove, now that you might have to return to office? By “groove”, we mean you trying to wake up, get dressed in the right, office-appropriate outfit, look presentable, be work-ready with all of your needed work-related materials, and – very importantly – be in the office on time. It may be hard to transition from your WFH days, but not impossible, not with these 12 tips to try so that you can be sat at your desk at [insert your official work time here] sharp.
Don’t Go Double Time; Double Up On Your Alarms
If you have loads of trouble being woken up or happen to always return into sleep mode almost instantaneously after smashing the snooze button, then set more alarms. Simply get an alarm clock that is dedicated for waking you up (look for the most annoying, loudest one possible), and then set a backup alarm on your mobile phone (also, set the most annoying tone and at the loudest volume possible). If you are kiasi, you can custom your phone alarm for repeated ringing. If you are ultra kiasi, then place your clock or phone at a further distance from your bed, so that you are forced to get up on your feet and walk to these devices to turn them off.
Get Your Loved Ones To Hug You Awake
If man-made devices are not your thing (or not enough) and prefer a more personable touch, you can always get your loved ones to help. Pick the earliest, easy-to-rise, morning person (who’s also responsible) in the fam to rouse you awake, with their hugs, kisses or loud endearments. It not only helps you bond with your loved ones (with some possible irritable episodes or hiccups happening to both sides along the way), but also helps the younger ones if they are the ones tasked with waking you, build up their sense of trust and responsibility.
Wet Hair, Must Care
Some of us (especially those with longer tresses) might find it perfectly fine to head out into the world with horrible, dripping wet hair, Sadako-style, because you neither have the time nor care if your clothes end up with wet patches or that you are getting other people wet. Not a good look nor a civic habit. You ought to dry your mane but do so with this less-thought-of trick – use a hairdryer, but in a dry and airy space. Some of us might use the hairdryer either in our cold air-conditioned bedroom or humid, condensation-filled bathroom, but it will take longer to get our follicles dry and ready for styling. Every second counts as much as how presentable you look when you step out.
Wet Hair, Must Care (The Sequel)
One sure way to save time and not look like Sadako – do not wet wash or shampoo your hair in the morning. We aren’t asking you to appear unwashed but to use a dry shampoo instead. Alternate the use of your wet shampoo and conditioner with a dry shampoo, or use a powder shampoo on days when you feel like it, say on less humid days. Again, every second counts as much as how clean you feel and look when heading into office.
Shower Or Bathe The Night Before
While a morning shower can help perk you up and make you feel squeaky clean, it does take up a sizeable portion of time. Try changing up your routine and shower at night before bed. You can spend more time on cleaning up more thoroughly, and even take a longer bath to unwind at the end of the day instead of rushing and stressing in a shower before you start the day. You just need to perform your morning ablutions for your face and/or use a dry shampoo (see above) if you fear having flat or greasy hair, and then you are ready to dive into the trenches to get your hands dirty for work.
Decide Your OOOTD The Night Before
It is not vain to decide on your Office Outfit Of The Day (OOOTD) in advance. In fact, adopting such a pre-planning idea where you sort out your next-day work uniform the night before, helps you from fretting and picking out what to wear as well as staving off any unforeseen problems, such as tracking down clean or ironed clothes or discovering ruined ones (torn, spoilt zipper, stained) while trying to put yourself together for work. Also, do try them on beforehand if you can so you know everything’s all fitting, clean and in working order.
Or Better Yet, Decide Your OOTD The Week Before
If you are able, you can even prep for the whole week by setting aside all your “looks” – your tops, bottoms, shoes and even accessories – in a dedicated space in your wardrobe or room so you know automatically what to reach for when you are getting dressed. You will not only save time, but look more put-together and stylish because you have already got everything matched and paired up to make an impression at work.
Put All Your Eggs In One Basket
By “eggs”, we mean all the “get ready for work” grooming and beauty must-haves. Keep your shavers (body and face), makeup brushes, perfumes, underarm deodorant, hair spray, and whatever else items and products you use often on work days, stashed neatly in a basket or box in your bedroom or bathroom. In a snap, you will know what to look for and use (or even be reminded to use during your morning rush), and where to look for them.
Tune Up Your Morning
This is for those who don’t mind a little music to get them going. Playing some upbeat tunes on your speakers can help wake you up, set an energising mood, put your mind into the zone and get your body moving, all at once.
Organise Your Work Stuff
Like your work outfit, sort out your work-related items the night before so you have everything on hand (and in bag) even before you step out the door. Be it documents, files, laptop and all its necessary peripherals, or any special equipment or tools, get them all packed and put out in the open so you can just grab and go like an express courier without missing a beat (or a single thing).
Actually, Organise All Your Stuff
We have all been late because we have forgotten that one thing that is not work-related but oh-so-important. Your house keys, your wallet or purse, your mobile phone, your kiddo’s favourite plushie that you promised to bring to her during your lunch hour… the list goes on. Once again, gather all of your daily must-haves and place them in plain, open, unmissable sight – like on a tabletop or shelf space next to the door. An additional note: You can also place some non-daily essential extras or emergency items such as umbrellas, spare coins in a dish, important sticky “To Do” memo notes, and yes, even that said plushie, at the same common “holding area” so they are instantly accessible when you are blitzing out of the house.
Multi-Task And -Hack
Here’s an oft-used tactic: Do a couple of things simultaneously, or not at all. A few multi-task and -hack examples: brush your teeth while waiting for your hair conditioner to work its magic if you must wash up in the morning; skip the ironing and steam your clothes in your bathroom by setting your shower on high heat and hanging your wrinkled mess to smooth out (but not while you are bathing ’cos that’s just gonna make things messy and wet); or split the morning tasks such as making the bed and prepping brekkie between you and your loved one.
Spend a little time and have a think about the details of your morning routine and how you can combine, split or even cut out tasks completely as part of your daily “getting ready for work” plan. Stick to this plan, so that in the long run, it becomes more effective, ends up being effortless, and in turn, your mornings can grow to become more productive. The one big payoff is this: Once you decide on and settle into your optimal time-saving routine, you will breeze through the morning, with peace of mind knowing you will get to your office without a foreseeable hitch.