If you’re a “don’t talk to me ‘til I’ve had my coffee” kind of person, or if you snooze your alarm six times before getting up, or if you skip washing your hair (or washing full stop) to get an extra half hour in bed, then this post is for you because chances are you leave the house with your cardi on inside out, a ladder in your tights and still half asleep, dreaming of Alexander Armstrong (or is that just me?). Then, a couple of hours later, you finish your 12th coffee, head to the work loos and, now awake (or rather completely wired and jittering from all the caffeine), you notice a stain on your shirt that hasn’t come out in the wash, you suddenly care that your hair looks like it’s the third day of the V Festival and the extra half hour in bed – that was crap anyway cos you spent it dreading your commute and having to hit the snooze button every five minutes – doesn’t seem half as valuable as it did earlier that morning. Reaching into your bag to fix your make-up and make the best of a bad situation, you realise you’ve forgotten your mobile/keys/purse and you have to call your boyfriend/landlord/mate to sort you out, they joke about the catastrophic scatterbrain you are and, as you stare back at your puffy face in the mirror (that’s where skipping contouring in favour of snoozing will get you), you’re inclined to agree.
Maybe the consequence of day after day of this type of thing is just that you get labelled as the ditzy one in your group of mates. But maybe constantly feeling like a bedraggled disaster waiting to happen is affecting your confidence at a subconscious level, making you think twice before putting your hand up in a meeting at work, wearing something more daring for lunch with the girls or smiling at that new gym instructor. Going into full ‘butterfly effect’ mode, this is stuff that can end up affecting your entire life and it’s all because your morning routine is like a time trial to the Benny Hill theme tune, leaving you to face the day ahead as unprepared as you are unkempt. So read on and find out how making just teeny tiny changes can make a huge difference in your life:
I’ll get the worst one over with: set your alarm half an hour early. I know, but bear with me. This will give you plenty of time to do the rest of the routine calmly and whilst you may treasure every snug minute you get in your Egyptian cottons, arriving to work red, flustered, sweaty and late is not a good look. If the idea of an early morning fills you with dread, set the alarm just five minutes earlier each day – it won’t be such a shock to your system this way and you’ll be bright eyed and bushy tailed, sipping your morning coffee and catching an extra half hour of Lorraine in less than a week.
Make a to-do list If you’ve had the brains and the sass to get yourself a Scouse Bird diary – which has space for daily to-do lists – you may well be doing this already, so go you. If, however, you’ve been slow off the mark and still not got yourself a diary, then there’s no time like the present to get your life in order by taking five minutes each morning to plan what you need to get done for the day with a to-do list. Personally, I like to put even the smallest of tasks on my list – the feeling of ticking things off as ‘done’ is addictive and so if that means adding “eat lunch” on there, then so be it. Writing things down, especially the God-awful chores you hate, is the first step to getting them done, off your list and out your mind for good. And if you did miss out on the diary you can still pick up a sassy as hell notebook for a couple of quid in the sale.
So, I might have lied in point one when I said I’d get the worst thing over with first because point number three is exercise. Not convinced? Just five or ten minutes of squats, tummy crunches or lunges will build muscle which will keep burning calories throughout the whole day (even whilst you’re sat down eating that Mars bar later on) – how good is that? What’s more, if you start your day off in gym bunny mode, you’re much more likely to eat healthier in the day. Who hasn’t done one gym class and gone home, bought half of Nike’s Spring/Summer collection online and sworn they’re never going to touch sugar or carbs again? The problem is that the temporary delusion that you’re Liverpool’s answer to Jane Fonda only lasts one short evening if your gym class is at night – when you wake up the next day, the lycra-clad hour you spent spinning like a maniac will be a long distant memory and you’ll be back on the Oreos and crisps with a vengeance. Starting your morning off with (a little) exercise will not only put you in the right mindset for the day ahead, but it will leave you feeling super smug going into work knowing you’ve already worked out – and the glow you get from being smug is far better than what any bronzer out there can do for you. So what’s the best way to get it over and done with? I recommend searching for your favourite comedian on YouTube – you’ll be able to chose from tonnes of short clips that will keep you entertained whilst you squat away last night’s Big Mac and knowing the video will be over before the kettle’s boiled will make it all the easier to get started.
Take an extra five minutes in front of the mirror. Maybe you’re only going to work and maybe the only bloke you’ll see is Darran, the oddball IT technician with a penchant for World of Warcraft, but what if your mate calls for impromptu post-work drinks? Take an extra five minutes to get ready in the morning – whether it’s to paint your nails, put on a piece of statement jewellery or pick an outfit that you’ve not worn to death. It’ll make you feel good and, like the mini-workout above, it will put you in the right mindset for the day ahead – one that will leave you with your head held high, not muttering about the state you look every time you catch yourself in the mirror, or skulking behind your PC, hoping the hottie from Accounts doesn’t pass by and notice your chipped nails and the fact you’ve worn the same black pants all week. So take the time to put on some perfume, accessorize your outfit and curl your eyelashes – when Darran’s fit brother comes to visit him at the office, you’ll be glad you did and more importantly, each time you catch a glimpse of your reflection throughout the day, you’ll be convincing your subconscious not that you should go and hide away with a family pack of crisps but, in the words of Jennifer, Cheryl, et al, ‘you’re worth it’ – and when you start to believe this, you’re on track to a happier (not to mention fitter) you.
Pack your bag. If points one and three were the worst bits of the routine, this bit is probably the best because it (kind of) gives you the excuse to go out and buy a new bag. Let’s be honest, there’s no point leaving the house perfectly preened and with your to-do list ready to be accomplished if you’re accessorizing with a bottomless PVC pit of old receipts, lipglosses and fluff – reaching inside to grab a pen and coming out with a melted old eyeliner and a used Kleenex really does not spell success. So, get a new bag or at least clean out your old one (vacuum inside if you have to!) and fill it with the essentials. Top tip to keep things simple? Buying quality make-up will mean you won’t have to keep reapplying it throughout the day and so there’ll be no need to be cart around half of Boots with you. Similarly, buying a fancy pen that you’ll look after is a thousand times better (and will make you look and feel a thousand times smarter) than having 12 chewed Argos biros floating at the bottom of your bag. Basically this is your excuse to go out and shop for nice things that will convey the the new, smart, sassy you – after all, what better way is there to mark a new beginning than a trip to the shops?