Tip #1: Prepack kids' lunches and backpacks
For many busy moms and dads, rush hour starts as soon as the alarm clock sounds. Between packing lunches, making breakfasts and helping with last-minute assignments, most parents don't have a moment to spare in the morning.
Instead of starting your day by chasing the school bus down the street or stressing over misplaced math homework, use these strategies to simplify your morning routine.
When it's time to pack lunches, who has time to cut the crusts off sandwiches in the morning? Save time by prepacking your kids' meals the night before.
Tip #2: Check Your Calendar
Review your next day's schedule, and your kids' schedules, before bed. You'll sleep better—and dress better—if you know what's in store.
Tip #3: Break for Coffee
Have the coffee machine prepared so that all you have to do is press "on," or make a pitcher of iced coffee ahead of time. Keep a to-go cup handy so you can have your morning jolt while you drive your kids to school.
Tip #4: Plan Your Outfit
Prearrange your clothes, ironing anything that needs it. When possible, buy wrinkle-free.
Tip #5: Take Turns
Coordinate the bathroom schedules of the people you live with.
Tip #6: Find Fast Breakfast Solutions
Have a lineup of several routine breakfasts, with at least one being portable.
Tip #7: Makeup for Lost Time
Keep your makeup case organized, and minimal, with your everyday things most accessible. Have two different makeup routines—one normal, one makeup "lite" for really rushed days.
Tip #8: Time Yourself
If you tend to linger too long when you read the newspaper or take a shower, set a timer.
Tip #9: Trim It
Get a low-maintenance haircut.
Tip #10: Prepack Your Purse
Prepack your briefcase and/or purse.
Tip #11: Charge It
Keep your cell phone in its charger, right on top of your briefcase or purse.
Tip #12: Stay Focused
Morning is no time to be industrious. If you're hit by the urge to wash a few dishes, pay a few bills, or clean up old e-mail and mail—fight it!
If you can't resist, divvy out household chores to your children. A good rule to enforce is that kids don't get their privileges—watching TV, playing video games, talking on the phone—until they fulfill their responsibilities.
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