Whenever I hear someone talk about something they did in the morning before they went to work, it always kind of blows my mind.

I wish I were the kind of person who saw the morning hours as normal hours in the day—hours during which waking activities can be pursued. A cup of coffee, a perusal of the newspaper, a shower. I do none of those things. I like staying in bed as long as possible.

In fact, in order to maintain my strict, rigorous morning schedule of getting up at the absolute last possible moment, there are many preparations which must be put into place the night before. I set up the automatic coffee maker. I shower. I pack my lunch. I pack my bag for the gym. I lay out my clothes.

That’s right, I pick out my clothes the night before and lay them in a pile on my dresser. Laugh if you will. I’ve been doing this for years, and it’s what prevents me from going to work wearing mismatched outfits or uncomfortable clothes because I forgot that x shirt rides up unless I wear it with y undershirt. Before I started laying out my clothes, mornings involved a hurried search in the dark for matching socks and office-appropriate pants. Now, I leave nothing to chance. My outfit is ready to go in the morning—unless, that is, I make a last minute executive decision to veto a skirt in favor of pants because it feels extra cold or rainy that morning. Now I stagger out of bed, grab an Evening -Approved pile of clothes on my way to the bathroom, and I’m golden.

My aim in these evening preparatory rituals is to streamline and minimize any effort that needs to be made in the early morning hours (or minutes). I want as straight a shot as possible between myself and the front door in the morning, with as few decisions left to be made as I can help. I’m proud (or ashamed) to say that the system works. I can swing my feet out of bed at 7:00am and be locking the front door in under 15 minutes with a mug of coffee in my hand.

The only difference over the years is that despite my hatred of not being in bed as long as possible during the week days, I’ve begun to wake up early-ish on the weekends. I try to take this as a sign of maturity, but really all I’m trying to do is take advantage of my free time. I love sleeping in, but I’m starting to love lounging around in my pajamas with a cup of coffee and the New York Times online at 8am on Saturday and Sunday mornings even more. Who knows, maybe this early-morning quiet-time will trickle into my workday schedule in the next ten years or so. I guess anything can happen.

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