8 steps to an ideal morning

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Are you the type of person who rolls out of bed in the morning, puts on the makeup bare minimum and throws your hair up in a messy bun (which is totally chic, but let’s be honest, a bit lazy)? Do you typically leave the house without coffee and wait until you get to work to fuel up on caffeine?

Think for a minute. What does your morning consist of? Are you starting things off in a productive manner in order to have a ridiculously good day? There are several things to take into consideration if you want to start the day off right.

It starts before you go to sleep and continues on until around noon the following day. The key to having a productive day means being prepared–here are eight steps to help accomplish just that.

Lay out what you want to wear the next day.

Due to the excitement of wearing the fabulous outfit you’ve picked, knowing what you’re going to wear in the morning may help you get out of bed, too.

Grab coffee before you leave the house.

If you are a coffee drinker, set the coffee maker to brew a lovely cup an hour before you need to be out the door. My morning commute consists of sipping on a nice cup of coffee and rocking out to music on Pandora while buzzing down the 405 in LA.

Take care of loose ends to make the current day feel more complete before bed.

It helps to know you have accomplished a few things that evening, even if they are small–like doing a load of laundry, emptying the dishwasher or replying to an email you could send in the morning but should just get over with.

Write in a journal.

Write about your day. Write down your thoughts about a subject matter that is floating around in your mind. Write about anything. It could even be a quote or an idea. Just write.

Set your alarm for 15-20 minutes earlier than it’s set for right now.

This will allow you to have more time to wake up and cross one or two chores off your list.

Stretch when you get up.

Stretching increases blood flow, which also increases oxygen in the brain, allowing you to think clearly and make positive decisions throughout your day.

Give yourself enough time in the morning to take a shower or a warm bath.

Your coworkers with thank you when you show up to work with a clean mane and smell so fresh and so clean! Plus, it will help you wake up and get rid of those massive bags under your eyes.

Write down a to-do list for the next day.

By writing down a to-do list, you will have in your mind and on paper what you need to get done tomorrow. I find that it helps to keep this list simple. Jot 3-4 things down and cross them off after completely when you’re done.

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Jennifer McDougall is a freelance writer, student of life and lover of spontaneous adventure. She grew up in a small town in Georgia but has lived in Southern California for the past 14 years. When she is not writing about some wild experience or creative insight, she can be found at the beach or watching "Breakfast at Tiffany's" for the bazillionth time. Having gone through the relationship ringer, she is happy to share some great advice with the world. Follow along on her journey through Twitter: @lifeofpolly and Instagram: lifeof_polly