I used to commute by train in between Spoleto and Rome. Some of the track’s twists and turns were through ivy-covered ancient walls, punctuated with stone towers. They said that medieval communities could relay messages in just minutes, passing signals from tower to tower. On those bends in the tracks, there were no billboards, no buildings. It was very Gothic, and on those welcome days my train didn’t get stuck in a tunnel for an hour, I felt like I was in a fairy tale.The flip side to the fairy tale is that the train left at 5 a.m. I know. Italians – and lots of big-city dwellers, for that matter – rely on public transportation that does not wait for a mad dash back into the house to grab purse / keys / switch slippers for actual shoes. I think that’s part of what makes Italians efficient morning people. The other is space. Italian homes are smaller, hence less area in which to dash about in a frantic, 7 a.m. scramble. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to shave 10-15 minutes off that morning frenzy on Central Standard Time? But how?
Glad you asked!
First thing is observation. Conduct your normal morning routine and figure out:
- What parts of your morning routine take the most time?
- How much criss-crossing do you do? Meaning, running briefly back and forth from one room to another.
- How many minutes late do you tend to run once you do leave the house?
- What item has called you back on more than one occasion into the house?
Once you have observed yourselves a couple of days, it’s time to take charge:
- Prep – a simple hardware hook, like this one from Home Depot, make a great budget valet, and Ikea and any other hardware store should have similar dollar-range versions. Find an inconspicuous spot on the wall in your bedroom, drill it in, place the next day’s clothes, and voila’ – 5 minutes saved (more if you check your stockings for runs before selecting). No need to spend $50-100 on a valet or other complex, cumbersome item.
- Combine – morning activities may elide more easily together than you think. I’ve cut down some time by combining makeup and hair with my morning cappuccino. I had to give up reading the (online) papers in the morning, but I opted for online NPR instead – coffee + makeup + news, it’s really three things in one. Oh, how the type-A soul smiles at the thought. For moms, you might think of bringing your toddler’s breakfast time into the makeup session as well – park the kiddo in a high chair to slowly make their way through some Cheerios while throwing most of them on the floor. (Dust buster recommended for those opting for this variant). 5-10 minutes saved.
A good place to continue your Prep is your coffee, whether it’s a percolator, an espresso machine, or the beloved Moka: prep your coffee in the evening to save 5 minutes in the a.m. Get all the benefit of a well-designed Italian morning, without the bother of a less-than-efficient Italian train. The last step is STREAMLINING. More on this next post. Stay tuned!
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