8 Simple Tricks to Make Mornings Easier

26 Jan

You arrive at work at 7:30 am (or whenever you arrive) and somehow you get there in one piece. How? You probably have a morning routine.  So often we focus on the deals that happen while we are at work, but did you know what happens before you get there has a very big impact on how you perform at your job? I went back to work this week from my maternity leave, (Sniffle, Sniffle) and have used some of these simple tips to help the transition go smoothly.

So, lets talk about morning routines and how they can help you become a better teacher.

8 Simple Things You Can Do To Make Mornings Easier

  1. Pack your lunch the night before. Even better, keep a week’s stash of food at school. One young mom I know has a case of Progresso soups, a loaf of bread and jar of Peanut Butter in her desk.  Then, each day, although boring, she has a lunch ready to go.  I might try this!
  2. Get your coffee ready the night before, so all you have to do is pour and go. Get a reusable cup and skip Starbucks. Some teachers I know who are ALWAYS late come in with Starbucks. I don’t get it. You obviously don’t have time to stop.
  3. Lay out your clothing the night before and stop worrying so much about what you look like. This is a hard one, because as the art teacher we have this quirky funky standard to live up to, but keeping it basic will help you go faster in the AM.  I have a hook that I can hang the whole outfit on in my closet, and I put the jewelry right on the hanger, too. Easy.
  4. Get up earlier. I am a morning person, so it’s easy for me to say. I am accustomed to getting up at 5:15 to workout before I get ready to go to school. We’ll see if I can still pull this with a little one, but I plan to just go to bed earlier.  The last 10 pounds of baby weight are not going to come off on their own, are they?
  5. Eat Breakfast (or keep a stash of granola bars in your desk) because you really can’t be a good teacher running on “Empty.”
  6. Chug Water- I make sure I chug a whole thing of water before my first class walks in the door. (Not the best idea for using the rest room) however, what it does do is give you energy. Drinking water gives you more energy then just caffeine alone.  I am the only person at our department meetings with a water bottle and not coffee.  Yes, I’ve been up since 5 drinking coffee, but I switch to water after I brush my teeth in the morning (better for my teeth and stains) and never look back. I’m telling you, it helps so much with energy!
  7. Don’t take much work home. I try not to bring anything home at night if I can help it. Less to drag, less to load, and less to remember. Plus, once I get it home I am usually too tired to work on it anyway, so why did I bother?  I just aim to use my time more efficiently the next day while I am at school.
  8. Take a deep breath. Before students walk in mentally reverse how you will talk to them, and check your disposition.  They will pick up on it so fast.  You can control this!

All of these tricks can help you as an educator because you are fueling your own fire. You are making sure that your energy is up, your aren’t frazzled or rushed, and it will make your day go much more smoothly and help you enjoy your students.

What other tricks do you have for getting the morning going on a good note and not a sour one? 

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22 Responses to “8 Simple Tricks to Make Mornings Easier”

  1. Kristi January 26, 2012 at 9:03 pm #

    Thankfully, I have planning first thing in the morning. I take my sketchbook to school everyday and allow myself 10 minutes to draw. Sometimes I even visit the art room and make art with a bunch of 7th graders ( I’m not the art teacher). It makes me relax and definitely puts me in the right frame of mind.

  2. Novak January 26, 2012 at 9:13 pm #

    I agree with putting out clothes the night before – makes my mornings run a lot smoother. I drink tea in the morning instead of coffee, but then I also switch to water. Water not only gives me the energy, but keeps me feeling ‘full’ till lunch at 12:30. My voice also sounds better at the end of the day when I’ve been drinking water. Good advice Jess.

  3. Marla January 26, 2012 at 9:32 pm #

    I love all your ideas and do most. I think being prepared and knowing what you want to accomplish makes you feel ready and not in a rush. Greeting every kid too also sets the tone.

  4. Megan January 26, 2012 at 9:51 pm #

    Jessica, I admire you so much! I feel like your my long lost best teacher friend! I just want you to know what an encouragement you ALWAYS are to me through your posts!!! I want to be you when I grow up!!! Thanks again.

    • Jessica Balsley January 29, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

      Megan,
      You are so cute! We can be long lost cyber friends! :) Keep in touch!

  5. Debi'sDesignShop January 27, 2012 at 4:57 am #

    Jess I think all your morning routines work really well and I too am a morning person, although I don’t work out in the morning. Good luck with that! One thing did occur to me as I read your list, as children get older more obstacles tend to get in the way of great morning routines. My children are now teenagers and even though I have a routine it doesn’t always jive with theirs so waking up and seeking the Lord first is how I begin my day. It never fails that I will have to rush, forget to do something or have to do something out of the ordinary for someone else. As you say your day can be and will be affected by what goes on in the morning so save your battles until the evening if you can. Best to you as you find your way back to work with a new baby at home.

    • Jessica Balsley January 29, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

      Thank you for this reminder- I sure needed it this week!

  6. Anna January 27, 2012 at 9:15 am #

    I completely argree w/ your ways to make mornings easier as I do most of them. However, I am not a morning person, but I stil have to get up at 5:30am as my drive to work is anywhere between 45-55 mins (depends on which school I am traveling to)… so my workouts have to be at night after I’ve walked my dogs & made dinner…otherwise I’d have to be up at 4:30am ish! Yuck! Anyway, thanks again for all your tips! Happy Friday!

  7. organizednowplease January 28, 2012 at 6:13 am #

    Don’t check your email first thing in the morning. It’s amazing how much time email eats up. It also allows me to focus on my priorities first before checking to see what other people want me to do. I try to write 2-3 tasks in my planner that are my priorties for the day. It helps me to keep focused throughout the day and not use my “free time” on less important tasks or feel unsuccessful because I have a long to do list.

    • Jessica Balsley January 29, 2012 at 4:30 pm #

      I agree, starting the day looking at email (which I do most of the time) is stressful and I’d like to get out of this habit!

  8. artprojectgirl January 28, 2012 at 7:19 pm #

    Mornings ahhh. . . a good morning starts the night before! so true

  9. hope knight January 29, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

    this isn’t a tip i’m necessarily PROUD of, but it works for me. i used to scoff at kids who brought in “uncrustables” – prepackaged frozen pb&j – before i had kids of my own, thinking “who can’t slap together a pb&J, come on!” turns out it’s me! grabbing one from the freezer for breakfast each morning is a huge time saver, and they really aren’t much more costly than making your own if you buy the big box. they thaw out on my drive and I have just enough time to eat it while looking over the day’s calendar before the kids arrive. i like mega packs of granola bars too -easy to keep in your classroom.

  10. EJ January 29, 2012 at 9:14 pm #

    I think the most important tip on this list is #7. Let yourself be “at home” when you’re at home, and be “at work” when you’re at work. The same goes for after school as in the morning.

    My own strange tips…

    I have a large curtain rod hanging in my storage closet, so I figured i might as well put it to good use… I’ve taken most of my teaching wardrobe in to school and actually have it hanging in my storage closet, so I get dressed at school. It sounds strange I know, but it’s sooo much faster to put on gym shorts and a tee (more on that later) than it is to get dressed to the nines at 530 in the morning with sleepy hands. Most of my teaching clothes have at least 1 small stain on them anyways, so I don’t wear them really outside of school, I take them home every few weeks to wash which may sound gross, but if you’re that big of a clean freak, you probably shouldnt be an art teacher!!

    My new year resolution this year was to get to school 30 minutes earlier this year to make time to get a good yoga session in on my class carpet before diving in to the day’s activities (hence the gym shorts and tee). Yeah I get a little sweaty, but I’m in a room on my own with a bunch of stinky, smelly kids, so what’s the big deal?! Getting a little exercise in the morning has boosted by energy level soo much the past month, ive had multiple teachers make bitter comments on how/why im so happy.

    • Jessica Balsley January 30, 2012 at 8:48 am #

      Hey whatever works for you!!! I think it sounds smart and I am proud of you for getting in your yoga, too. I love yoga but have trouble slowing down to do it.

  11. Deanne January 30, 2012 at 8:19 am #

    Hi Jessica! Love your blog so much!
    I also just returned to school from maternity leave and your morning routine sounds just like mine! Up early to workout, coffee, pre-made lunches! I do keep cans of soup in my room just in case & also have a little 4 cup coffee pot in my classroom. Chug a whole liter of water on my way to school. These organization tips help me stay calm and on my toes. I even have less time now since I’m pumping on my plan time, lunch time and any time to make more milk for my little man.
    Thanks for making me feel more normal knowing that someone else is up at 5 working out, premaking coffee the night before and chugging water for energy!

    • Jessica Balsley January 30, 2012 at 8:47 am #

      I forgot to mention time for pumping!!! I have no prep or lunch anymore and it’s insane! Then, I was walked in on by a kid at one of my schools and since have moved pumping rooms. All of this in two days back. Nice to know as well I am not alone!

      • artprojectgirl January 30, 2012 at 6:15 pm #

        Oh my gosh you poor girl! I pumped in the kiln room hahaha it locked! It’s gotta be done. . . I think I would have just went home and cried. No prep or lunch I really get mad hearing things like this! How are we supposed to be ON with no lunch or preps? Not to mention little sleep with a newborn. It is enough to make a new mom scream. Luckily everyone will scream with you if they have half a heart because most of us have been there or are there!

      • Priscilla January 31, 2012 at 4:25 pm #

        Hi Jessica,
        Thank you for the tips :)
        I am not a morning person – but I do notice a big difference in my day when I get up earlier and don’t have to rush out the door!

        I feel so bad about your lack of prep and lunch time though – I don’t understand how that is legal!? I hope they give it back to you :)

      • Jessica Balsley February 1, 2012 at 9:37 pm #

        We have PLC’s during several of our preps and I get a 30 minute lunch, but use it to pump and prep while I wolf a tuna sandwich! :0 So while the prep is there, most of it is spent pumping or in meetings.

  12. Tisha Burke January 30, 2012 at 8:26 pm #

    Great tips! My son is in middle school this year so we are no longer fighting our way out the door together. I get up and am showered and dressed before I wake him up and put him on the bus – at the end of our driveway. The I have some stress free time to get my lunch ready and pack my gym clothes (I go right after bus call) and my planning materials.
    I too try hard to stay away from the computer in the morning – it definately gets me out the door faster. I try to have a nice sit down breakfast to get ready for the day, take my vitamins and read.
    I can luckily get to school in about 8 minutes – but it is beneficial to leave earlier – or I get stuck behind a bus of kids waving at me through the emergency door!! :-)

  13. Ann February 11, 2012 at 8:41 pm #

    Great ideas! I’m not a morning person, and I struggle every day because I really don’t want to get up before 6a.m. I make my lunch and my daughter’s lunch at night and pick out everyone’s clothes. My biggest problems are getting to bed before midnight and getting my kids up and ready to go! I love the tip about not bringing things home. I bring heavy bags home that I don’t have time or energy to get to.

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