Rachel Paige
Updated Sep 24, 2014 @ 6:48 am

Isn’t it weird how one second you’re drifting off to sleep, and then the next second—BOOM—it’s 7AM and you have to get up to go to work/school/life. I know, it’s the worst. That’s also probably why you hit the snooze button once, if not twice (or six times), before you finally get out of bed. Now you’re running a half-hour late and your day is already off to a rocky start.

This doesn’t have to be the worst situation, though. You know what? Go ahead and hit that snooze button twice (or six times). There are lots of incredibly simple things to do to shave off minutes from your morning routine, and bank them for dreamland. Just 10 more minutes? Here’s how to earn it.

1. Pack your lunch the night before

It might seem like a pain, but packing your lunch the night before will save you so much time in the morning. If you’re making dinner one night, go ahead and make a little extra to refrigerate and eat over the next few days. Pack it in tupperware so it’s good to go the next day. Meals like pastas and soups are so easy to reheat; plus, it doesn’t take much to vary these items up. Seriously, make a big lasagna and/or a big quiche. Slice it up and ‘tup’ it for a week’s worth of to-go lunches.

2. Plan out your outfit ahead of time

First, check the weather for the week. If the temperature is suddenly going to drop for one day, you need to take that into account as you furiously pull clothing from your closet. Even if you don’t lay everything out ahead of time, at least organize it in such a way that you know what pants you’ll wear with what blouse. There’s nothing like a wardrobe malfunction ten minutes before you need to leave. Another good idea is to always keep a supply of safety pins in your purse, just in case something should happen literally as you’re walking out the door. Sometimes there’s no going back.

3. Simplify your coffee-making process

If you’re a Keurig devotee, the hassle of making coffee is null and void for you in the morning. All you’ve got to do is switch the machine on. But for the rest of us who still rely on Mr. Coffee, be sure to get everything ready the night before, which includes setting out the filter, putting coffee in the filter, and making sure the well is full of water. That way, in the morning all you’ll have to do is turn your machine on, too. If you’re someone who likes to take coffee to-go, make your first cup in a tumbler, that way whatever you don’t finish is ready to travel with you.

4. Listen to music as an audible timer

It’s easy to lose track of time in the morning, especially if you’re stumbling around in the dark sans coffee. An easy way to keep time, and to keep yourself on track, is to listen to music. Most songs are genuinely anywhere from three minutes to four, so know that you’ve got one song’s length to shower, another to get dressed, and a third to apply makeup. Besides, it’s kind of impossible not to perk up when you’re listening to Shake It Off.

5. Put everything you’re going to need for the day together

There’s nothing like being halfway down the street and then remembering that those super important documents are still sitting on your desk. The night before, do a quick run down of everything you’ll need for the next day. It’s just as easy to pack your bag/backpack/purse/wristlet at 10PM as it is at 7AM, and you’re bound to forget something in the morning. If you’re prone to forgetting important things, put them in an area where you know you’ll see them just before you leave. Even take it a step further and leave everything with your shoes—you know you’re going to need to put those on before you leave the house.

6. Don’t even think about Facebook

This is a time wasting black hole. Probably nothing substantial has happened between the hours of midnight and 6AM, so there’s no need to spend ten minutes aimlessly scrolling through status updates. If you can, avoid the Internet entirely. A “quick email check” can totally derail your perfectly planned morning.

7. Buy that expensive dry shampoo

Dry shampoo is kind of a love/hate thing, meaning that you either love it and it works wonders for your hair, or you hate it and it leaves your hair looking like you’ve rolled around in a flour factory. The trick is to figure out what kind of dry shampoo will work best with your hair, and it might take trying a few of them out. I’ve learned the hard way that with my thick hair, I can’t buy the least expensive dry shampoo. I’ve got to break out the big bucks and splurge a little, but it saves so much time and energy, especially on those cold mornings when wet hair sounds like the worst punishment ever. Take a weekend night to try out the dry shampoo, and see what your hair looks like in the morning. You might hate it, or you could have just found your new best friend.

8. Travel with extra snacks

Even though it’s not the best way to go, usually if there’s one thing that has to be forfeited in the morning, it’s breakfast. Thankfully, though, there are plenty of options other than grabbing a donut on the way into work. Stuff a few extra granola bars into your bag for the week, so you don’t ever have to worry about running back to grab something to eat, or wasting time stopping along the way to your destination. Remember, you might save yourself ten minutes in the morning, but if that Starbucks line is out the door and around the corner, none of your hard work will pay off.

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