6 Ways To Beat The Chaotic Morning Rush

Say goodbye to chaotic weekday mornings.

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1. Start your week on Sunday night, not Monday morning

Whether it's managing your weekly schedule and to-dos in an agenda book, on a family white- or blackboard or in your BlackBerry, knowing what's coming up will make you feel more in control, says Toronto-based executive trainer and life coach Ellen Smith of Encourse.ca. So review the week ahead after Sunday dinner, well before the go-go-go of Monday morning. "It's a pro-active measure and takes you out of reactive mode," says Smith, who practises this herself.

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2. Go to bed an hour earlier

If you trade an hour in front of the boob tube for 60 minutes of quality time in bed-reading, journal writing or dare we say, getting romantic with your sweetie — you'll be more likely to get a restful night's sleep and less likely to wake up frazzled.

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3. Breakfast like you're at a fitness retreat

Save time-consuming, high-calorie fry-ups and sugary, unhealthy toaster pastries for the weekend. Weekdays, think healthy and no-fuss breakfasts enjoyed in a pleasant, sit-down environment.

Whole-grain cereal, low-fat yogurt, fresh fruit and multigrain toast are all yoga-retreat-worthy options. Refrigerate frozen berries or fresh fruit in serving bowls the night before so they'll be ready for adding to cereal or yogurt in the morning, and set the table beforehand too, so there's less rush in the a.m.

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4. Stick to routines

Routines can be boring, but they're essential for weekday mornings. "Things come up and crises arise," says Smith. "You'll be much more productive if you can follow routines most of the time." If your kids know their weekday routine consists of getting ready, then meeting at the kitchen table where their place setting and meal choices are waiting, then heading to the front door for 8:15 a.m. — without prompting — this frees you up to put out any fires first thing in the morning.

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5. Set up systems

They keep you from wasting time looking for things or "reinventing the wheel every time," says Smith. Use a big white- or blackboard to track after-school activities and other don't-forget events. Assign hooks and individual baskets (one per person) by the entranceway, where each person in your household can stash their keys/bags/outerware/accessories, so there isn't a mad search every morning.

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6. Take your health seriously

It's easier to maintain your car rather than neglect it and then try to fix it once it has a faulty engine and is covered in rust, right? Same deal with your physical and mental health.

Mornings are a great time to carve out some "me time" before your kids or partner wake up. Squeezing in an early workout, eating a leisurely breakfast or taking the time to mediate are just some of the options for a healthy, relaxing start to the day. Vast research backs up the assertion that these lifestyle habits can reduce your likelihood of cancer, type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even depression.

Another perk of healthy living is the get-up-and-go attitude it gives you, making every morning a good morning!