I am not a morning person. I'm the type of person that has to set my alarm for half-an-hour before I have to actually get out of bed. And, no one can talk to me. I'll get annoyed if anyone tries and practically grunt my responses.

But, mornings can make or break your day. Are you rushed and stressed to get to your meeting? Did your alarm scare you out of sleep and make you practically jump out of bed? These are signs of a an ineffective morning routine. The first hour after you wake up should be as seamless as possible, thanks to a set routine that ensures nothing is missed and you are ready to take on the day.

Since my morning routine could use a serious makeover, I asked the rest of Team Ridiculous Efficient for tips on what makes for a great morning, and added in a few of my own suggestions for good measure.

A Peaceful Wakeup Call

"Avoid jarring alarms, which trigger your fight-or-flight response and start your day off in a panic. Instead, try soothing tones that start off soft and gradually build. I'm trying out the Sense app and I looooove the built-in alarms. So soothing, it's like waking up to a gentle hug." -Marissa Brassfield

"I have a Phillips alarm clock (the Wake-up Light) that gradually wakes me up with light for 30 minutes, then uses the sound of birds chirping to signal that it's time to get out of bed. But I've been using it for so long, that I am now actually annoyed by the sound of birds chirping at any time of the day." -Rosemina Nazarali

"I like to use the bedtime calculator that tells you when you should go to sleep if you have to wake up at a certain time, so that you don't wake up groggy in the middle of a rem cycle." -Kelley Lujan

Do Something You Enjoy

"Create a routine that makes you excited to wake up in the morning (or as excited as you can get). Fill it with activities you enjoy, like a hearty breakfast, a yoga session, or even something as simple as a karaoke session in the shower." -Rosemina Nazarali

"When you wake up, spend at least 30 minutes, and ideally 60 to 90, doing an activity of your choice. It can differ each day, but it should be something that contributes to your overall well-being, like reading, exercise or writing. Do this before you do anything work-related, like checking email or consulting your calendar -- even if this means you have to wake up earlier. By starting the day off YOUR way, you subtly reinforce that no matter what craziness the day brings you, you're still in charge of your own life." -Marissa Brassfield

"Listen to music while you're in the shower and getting ready for your day." -Billy Murray

Tidy Up the Night Before and Get Organized

"Take time to clean your house or apartment, so you can wake up to an organized living space. This includes washing, folding and putting away all laundry, washing and putting away dishes, dusting, vacuuming, Windex-ing mirrors, and wiping down all surfaces. It's a lot of work, but the payoff of waking up in a clean home is just an OK feeling compared to COMING HOME to a spotless house." -Billy Murray

"Before you go to bed at night, load and run your dishwasher. When you wake up in the morning, unload it. If you work at home, you can fill the dishwasher throughout the day, simplifying clean-up." -Marissa Brassfield

"Eliminate as many possible hurdles as you can, so your morning is as seamless as possible. Get your outfit ready, make sure your bag is ready to go, pack your lunch, etc.. If you work from home, tidy up before bed." -Rosemina Nazarali

How to have an efficient morning:

  • Wakeup peacefully instead of with jarring sounds.
  • Start the day by doing something you enjoy, like reading or listening to music.
  • Clean up and get organized the night before to make your mornings seamless.

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