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Raise your hand if you always feel one step behind in the a.m. Despite your best efforts in the morning, perhaps you still take too long in the shower, hem and haw over what to wear and constantly run late? But what if we told you a slight rejiggering of your routine and a little bit of nighttime planning could transform those first hours of the day. Read on for five simple ways to reclaim your morning.

/images/articles/Wait 30 Minutes Before Checking Email

Wait 30 Minutes Before Checking Email

Who?s running the show here, you or your in-box? Answering requests and bouncing from task to task first thing in the morning is guaranteed to derail you. Don?t believe us? There?s a whole book about it. Instead, start your day by completing one task that requires focus (something as simple as making coffee) and focus solely on that one task until it?s done. Minimize the manic feeling brought on by a rapidly filling in-box by waiting at least half an hour to check your email. Better yet, save it till you?re in the office.

/images/articles/Do It the Night Before

Do It the Night Before

The difference between well-put-together folks and the rest of us? Those smarties do everything they can the night before. Everything. Like make breakfast and plan an outfit and leave their purse by the front door. That way they can sleep for an extra ten minutes and not look like they just rolled out of bed. On Sunday, they bake a batch of breakfast muffins and stash them in the freezer. Don’t hate these people, become one of them.

/images/articles/Get Dressed First

Get Dressed First

We want to stay in our pj’s for as long as possible too--and on Saturdays, we do--but the closet is the biggest hurdle between you and your desk. Get the hard stuff out of the way so you can spend time on more important things, like curling your lashes. Mimic the first day of school and lay your clothes out at night. And always keep a pullover dress on standby--but don’t touch it unless it’s an emergency.

/images/articles/Change Your Sleeping Habits

Change Your Sleeping Habits

The reason you’re wide awake at 2 a.m.? You aren’t giving your body and mind enough time to wind down before getting into bed. Avoid watching TV or scrolling through Facebook too late at night. Those light-emitting screens make it harder to fall asleep and have also been linked to feelings of sluggishness in the morning. Put your Kindle away an hour before you hit the sheets and pick up a paperback instead.

/images/articles/Get Your Routine Down to a Science

Get Your Routine Down to a Science

You’re a lot less likely to lose track of time or forget to do something if you follow roughly the same order every day: Fill the French press, shower, get dressed, take your vitamins, drink your coffee. Repeat tomorrow.

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