In the morning I can get out of the door in 30 minutes. This time includes getting myself ready; clothing on and make-up done, (note, not washing hair but looking presentable) and getting my daughter up, nappy changed, dressed, bottle in hand, ready for the childminder.
I live 8 minutes from the train station, I have timed this drive to perfection. I often make the train with plenty of time to spare and have the opportunity to grab my morning coffee.
In total, it takes me 38 minutes to get up and on the train.
This is my routine
I’ve been back at work 2 months after 10 months on maternity leave and my new routine is very different to my pre-baby one. Let’s call it a streamlined version. With my old routine I had to get up 1.5 hours before I needed to catch the train just so I didn’t miss it.
Now, even with the addition of mummy duties, I have managed to trim almost an hour off my morning routine. How? Partly through necessity I have had to cut out the ‘faff’ but mainly, this trimmed down version, is a result of my use of technology. By leveraging various digital tools I have made my morning routine more efficient.
This is how I did it:
I need my morning coffee. Need it. I couldn’t cut this out, my productivity would be ruined without it. So instead of queuing at the station for my coffee, I now pre-order and pay for it on my phone through the Starbucks app. This process alone has saved me 10 minutes and means that I can skip the queue and collect up my fresh coffee from the pickup area.
The app also enables me to earn free things through their My Starbucks Rewards scheme. I buy coffee, I earn stars, I get free coffee. Bonus! This loyalty scheme in itself has saved me time as I don’t have to rummage in my bag to find my physical loyalty card anymore, instead my stars get automatically attributed to my account when I pre-order.
Time saved = 12 minutes.
I have nothing to wear, no really I have nothing to wear. Sound familiar? That was me, I had a wardrobe bursting with clothes but nothing to wear. I’d spend at least 10 minutes each morning deciding what to wear; did I have any meetings, was it raining outside? My wardrobe overwhelmed me every morning.
But then I discovered Stylebook, an app designed to help you curate outfits and get the most out of your wardrobe.
It does requires you to invest quite a lot of time as you need to upload images of your clothes and categorise them, but does save your time in the long run. This app has enabled me to effortlessly choose an outfit from my wardrobe the night before without even opening the wardrobe doors. Stylebook also has a calendar feature so I can plan my outfits for the week ahead based on my diary commitments.
Other reasons I love this app:
- It’s saved me money as I don’t buy duplicates or similar items of clothing as I can clearly see what I own.
- I can import outfit inspiration from Pinterest and match it against what’s in my wardrobe, so in theory I can get my own stylist.
Time saved = 10 minutes.
My daughter’s bottle
I don’t have one of those bottle machines, the ones that make a ‘ready to drink’ bottle in 2 minutes. I am old school, I boil the kettle, wait for it to cool add the formula and shake. This is a time consuming process. The water cooling itself takes at least 15 minutes and I just didn’t have time anymore. Instead, I invested in an iKettle, a kettle you can control via your phone meaning you can remote brew from anywhere.
“Hanging around the kitchen waiting for the kettle to boil is a thing of the past. Whether you’re super efficient or ultra lazy the iKettle will save you over two days a year. It makes you wonder what you will do with all your spare time…”
The thing I find most useful about this product is the ‘Wake up mode’ feature on the app. It works as my morning alarm and when it goes off at 6am the app asks me if I’d like to start boiling the kettle. “Yes please”. So, not only can I switch on my kettle from my bed, someone (something) else does it for me.
Time saved = 20 minutes.
My daily commute
I always commute via train, I often use this time to catch up on work things via Slack or email and it’s generally less stressful than driving. Before I had my daughter I didn’t worry if my train was on time, if it was delayed I’d read the Metro or queue for a coffee until it arrived. But now I like to be in the studio early so that I can prep for my day ahead and comfortably leave on time to make sure I can put my daughter to bed. This means a bit of forward planning with my train travel, especially, in the winter months when the trains are often delayed. For this I use the National Rail app.
Other than the obvious live train tracking feature (which pre-populates with my most recent journey and gives the most up-to-date information on my journey), the app has 2 other features which are equally as useful to me:
- My alerts; this feature allows me to set an alert if my train is delayed for over 5 minutes. I get a notification which lets me know there is a delay. I can also set these alerts only for the days I work ( Monday — Wednesday) so I don’t have to see them on my days off!
2. Wake me up; I love this feature. If I’ve not had much sleep I often try and catch a few minutes on the train (if I get a seat) however, I worry about not waking up and missing my stop. The wake me up feature allows me to set an alarm for 5 minutes before I arrive into the station so I don’t miss my stop. This might be a little annoying for other passengers but it’s really useful for me.
Time saved = unknown, could be anything up to an hour!
I no longer have the luxury of watching TV before I have to leave the house, I used to be able to squeeze in part of an episode of whatever I was into at the time; Game of Thrones, House of Cards, Real Housewives of Cheshire etc. but I can’t do this anymore. Instead, I now download my chosen show via the BBC iPlayer app on my phone while I am brushing my teeth (multi-tasking at its best). Having a backlog of saved shows means I have something to watch on my train downtime.
However, I do wish more broadcasters offered a service where you could download programmes rather than streaming. The 4G signal throughout my Shropshire countryside train journey is poor so it’s just not possible to stream between Shifnal and Wolverhampton (which is the majority of my daily commute).
Time saved = 15 minutes.
So that’s how I leverage digital products to make my morning routine more efficient. It’s pretty simple but super effective. These products not only enable me to save almost an hour each morning they also allow me to pre-plan and be more productive, meaning I don’t have to sacrifice my morning luxuries such as coffee and trash TV!
Et Voila, my morning routine sorted the night before via my mobile.
BTW, I still get out of bed 1.5 hours early so I can spend that extra, well earned hour, with my daughter before I leave for work.