How to Get Out the Door in the Morning and Feel Good About Your Day!


Mornings are not my friend. From the moment my eyelids flutter open, I’m calculating the number of steps it will take until the first sip of coffee passes my lips. (Yes, I realize that this qualifies as a caffeine addiction.) But the bed is so warm, and my dog is so cuddly, and yes, I realize I’m full of excuses about why mornings suck but I’m here to tell you that it really is possible to get out the door and feel good about your day. If I can do it, you can too!

First of all, the real key to making over your morning routine is to be realistic about the amount of time you need in order to get ready. I don’t care if that means timing yourself from the moment you get out of bed to the moment you walk into work. If you don’t plan ahead and allow yourself enough time you’ll never get out the door feeling relaxed and good about your day.

If you’re super organized like I pretend to be then your awesome organizational skills will also save you time during that morning rush. Making sure that the bathroom is fully stocked with toiletries and having an ample supply of fresh socks, underwear and pantyhose at hand can make getting ready more of a pleasure and less of a chore. If you depend on public transit to get to work, it’s always a good idea to stash your bus pass/tokens/tickets or an arsenal of change for fare in a place that’s convenient and ideally on your way out the door. For those who drive, a car that’s stocked and ready with emergency supplies can be a lifesaver for those days when you’re rushing, and a full tank of gas and pre-programmed GPS can contribute to a smoother commute.

For those who aren’t morning people, consider ways in which you might save time in the morning by switching tasks to your evening routine. I usually check the weather the night before to plan my outfit in advance, and prep my coffee and breakfast dishes so I don’t have to stumble around blindly to find them in the morning. People who find themselves rushing and skipping breakfast may want to keep an arsenal of nutritious snacks or meals on hand that are easy to grab to take with you. Those who find themselves really struggling in the mornings may wish to reconsider their morning routine altogether by showering at night before bed instead of first thing the next day.

Even if you are a morning person, I’ve always believed in packing your bag the night before. If you have multiple jobs or divide your time among multiple clients, you may want to keep a checklist nearby of the materials required for each job to make packing easier.

And if you’re super, super smart you’ll have somewhat of an emergency kit stashed away in your desk at work, in the trunk of your car, or on a shelf of your mudroom so you can grab it as you go out the door. Think of it as your terrible morning toolbox. I’ve got one that I keep in a toiletry bag at work that has feminine products, an extra pair of the disposable contacts that I wear, bobby pins and hair elastics, breath mints, lip balm, hand lotion and a granola bar in case I hit an energy slump.

They’re no substitute for an espresso but hopefully by implementing at least one of these ideas into your morning routine, it’ll give you the injection of energy needed to get out your door and feel good about your day, no caffeine needed.

KBwB-BFlower-50Have you adapted one of these ideas into your morning routine? Is there anything that I’ve missed that you think I should try? Tell me your secrets at or share with the rest of us by commenting below.

Looking for other ways to jazz up your routine? I’ve got advice on how to start here, how to break down big projects here, and how to change up how you do your errands here.

Book Review: Timothy Ferris on Scrunching Your Schedule

KBB_Book_Review_TimothyFerrisPeople are often surprised to find out that in addition to my freelancing career, I work part-time as an office administrator at a local family practice. It isn’t easy trying to balance a regular job between freelancing clients but I have to admit that one of the ways that I’ve achieved this is through Timothy Ferris’ technique that I like to call “schedule-scrunching”, as outlined in his bestselling book The Four-Hour Work Week.

Scrunching your schedule isn’t necessarily about sacrificing certain key elements of your workflow- for instance; it would be impossible for someone in a service-based business like my own to cut down on time spent with clients. Instead, making extra time during your work week depends on 1) figuring out which tasks can be streamlined or delegated; and 2) maximizing your schedule for efficiency by grouping together tasks.

Ferris sounds like he leads a pretty wild lifestyle- he dances competitively and travels the world- and he claims that his methodology presented in The Four Hour Work Week has allowed him the time and flexibility to pursue his passions. I’m a little skeptical about the feasibility of running a business using only a weekly four-hour marathon work session, but it’s definitely an attractive idea.

When applying this to my own schedule, I tried to make the most of the days when I work half-day shifts by scheduling client meetings or other appointments during the portion of the day I’m free. It means that for a few days every week I’m working my butt off but the payoff of building a couple of flex days into my schedule has allowed me the freedom to take on new clients, keep on top of housework, and develop personal projects.

For those of you who haven’t totally bought into the hype, there’s still lots of interesting tidbits on how to automate your business, on which tasks to delegate and how, and the most interesting of all (to the budget-obsessed like me), Ferris offers lots of different suggestions on how to cultivate the lifestyle that best suits you for as cheaply as possible. He covers everything from cutting down on business costs to finding cheap airfare so you can too make that dance competition on another continent.

As for me? I’m taking Timothy Ferris’ suggestions to heart, but I’m sticking to armchair travel for now.


Psst- wanna see which books have previously graced my bookshelves? Click here. Want even more fun reading recommendations? I’ve got some for you here. Don’t forget to find me on Goodreads so we can snoop each other’s bookshelves and dish about our favourites.

Book Review: Cheryl Mendelson on Mastering Homemaking


I’m a self-proclaimed Martha Stewart fan, and it’s not because I subscribe to the idea that a woman’s place is in the home; nor should women be the sole person responsible for the health and happiness of the entire household. I’ve just always relished the idea of having a clean and comfortable home filled with things that fill me with joy.

There’s a strange satisfaction that comes with cleaning and organizing that comes with completing even the smallest of domestic tasks. It’s a feeling that I always felt existed in opposition to my desire to pay attention to my career. How does a workaholic like me reconcile the urge to be domestic as well? Is it possible to be both?

While Martha Stewart launched a successful business and television career, lawyer Cheryl Mendelson used her passion for all things domestic to launch her writing career with the two volumes of housekeeping hints of biblical proportions. Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House is a meticulously researched and detailed guide for serious home-keepers who believe in the power of a clean and orderly house.

Note I use the word “home-keeping”, and I use it deliberately: this book is not about how to speed clean your home, or taking domestic shortcuts. Mendelson has amassed an encyclopedia on virtually everything you wanted to know about housekeeping and were afraid to ask. Food storage, linen care, even musical instrument maintenance all make appearances on the veritable laundry list (excuse the pun) of subjects covered by Home Comforts.

This might seem to be a strange subject to write about for someone with a career in law, but Mendelson argues both that her demanding schedule and strong domestic background fuelled her need for keeping an orderly house as an independent adult. Her solutions are practical and yet seem rooted in a more romantic time, where homes were seen as places for families and individuals to flourish and grow instead of storage facilities to keep an increasing amount of meaningless possessions.

A client of mine referred to me this manual for some housekeeping issues that I was having and I was so in love with it that my own copy is being shipped as I type this post. I’m looking forward to creating a new approach to cleaning based on some of her methods. Some people may choose to take or leave her advice if they are happy with their existing routines, but I would recommend reading it anyway. The material is so extensive there’s something there to excite novices and experts alike. For those who think they know everything anyway, they may want to check out her other manual (remember I said she had two?) titled Laundry: The Home Comforts Book of Caring for Clothes and Linens. Three guesses as to what it’s about, and the first two don’t count.

Finally, for all of ye nay-sayers who are reading this and scoffing at the idea of housework as being a vital part of our existence, consider this quotation from Mendelson:

“Housekeeping creates cleanliness, order, regularity, beauty, the conditions for health and safety, and a good place to do and feel all the things you wish and need to do and feel in your home.”

Now that’s one smart lawyer.


Psst- wanna see which books have previously graced my bookshelves? Click here. Want even more fun reading recommendations? I’ve got some for you here. Don’t forget to find me on Goodreads so we can snoop each other’s bookshelves and dish about our favourites.

Bedtime Isn’t Just for Babies

KBB_the_beach_at_nightI used to hate going to bed when I was little and it drove my parents nuts. It’s not that I was a bad kid, but I remember not being able to shake the feeling that I’d somehow be missing something by going to bed.

I can’t imagine how my five-year old self would feel now. In a digital age where it seems like the world is always awake, you truly are missing something by going to bed. Bloggers are posting, tweeters are tweeting and you’re missing it all by lying horizontally in a darkened room with your eyes closed, which the critics say is supposedly good for you. In the meantime, you could be cleaning, or emailing, or Snapchatting, or whatever it is the kids do these days and you’re losing all these hours of productivity to simply doing nothing. It’s enough to make a girl go crazy, right?

Wrong. Sleep is everything, and it’s funny that in a world ruled by batteries we seem to forget the importance of recharging ourselves. Sleep deprivation is often said to be one of the cruelest forms of torture, and anyone who has suffered through a night of tossing and turning would be inclined to agree. With the extreme effects that lack of sleep has on both the body and the mind it seems crazy that we as a society would continue to choose work over rest when one so clearly affects the other.

I’m not trying to lecture; I was like you once. Lack of sleep was not a new concept to me. As a fairly anxious person it’s often hard for me to sleep through the night (let alone fall asleep at all) and as I got older I learned to embrace my bad sleeping patterns because they allowed me to stay up and work and drink way too much coffee. I was happy because I was being productive but I was also exhausted, and exhaustion can be dangerous.

Emotionally, mentally, physically our brains need recharging time in order to function. It’s your body’s diagnostic test- a way of making sure that everything is in good working condition without you having to know a thing. If your brain doesn’t get that tune-up every night your insomnia can be managed in the short term, but it can develop into a more serious issue if the problem isn’t resolved. Exhaustion can affect your coping mechanisms, your logic, your critical thinking skills, your memory, your hormones and your immune system – and that’s just the start of the list.

The biggest problem for people who like to keep busy instead of getting sleep is that they’re operating under the false impression that they’re getting more done by stretching the hours of their day. Instead, they are less productive because they’re not operating at their full physical and mental capacities and that can lead to sloppy work, mistakes, and an all-around lower quality output.

I’m sure you were a small child once. (Weren’t we all?) Our parents enforced bedtimes, established routines and emphasized the importance of getting a good night’s sleep so that we were refreshed and prepared for the day ahead of us. Why don’t we hold ourselves up to the same expectations? When did becoming an adult mean not taking care of oneself?

Even the most immature adult should know- bedtime isn’t just for babies.


What are your best practices for a great bedtime routine? Share your comments below or drop me a line at Are you a book-before-bed person like me? I’ve got lots of suggestions on to read here.

Run Your Errands More Effectively Today!

KBB_fancy_starbucksOne of my friends recently took on a new part-time job; it’s not a permanent thing, but it helps her get her foot in the door in the particular field in which she wants to eventually work. A couple of extra shifts a week though meant drastically reorganizing her well-crafted schedule so much so that all of her routines were thrown off balance. When I asked her how her weekend was the other day, she was responded with the usual complaint that she never felt she had enough time to herself. “I spend most of my time off doing chores and running errands,” she complained. “I’m always popping out to do one thing or another and it’s starting to get to the point where I feel like I’m a jack-in-the-box.”

Have you experienced this too? Girl (guy), I know the feeling. As a freelancer my schedule is all over the place and I’ve had jobs where I’ve found myself working at all sorts of strange hours while still trying to have a life. It’s sad that so much of what should be vital personal time is eaten up by mundane daily tasks, but I do have some tricks for taking back that me-time. One of them is trying to running my errands more effectively.

Running “errands”- going to the post office, marketing, picking up and dropping off gift items, donations, prescriptions, dry cleaning- all of these things are necessary evils in order for our lives to run smoothly. But if I left the house every time I needed something, or every time another task popped up, I’d be leaving the house constantly. There’s nothing fun or productive about it.

That’s why I keep track of all of my errands in an ongoing list I have stashed at the back of my agenda and try to group similar tasks to suit my needs and my schedule. I work a lot from home, so I try to save my errands for times when I’m already out of the house so I don’t have to make special trips for specific items. Where possible I try to delegate my tasks or incorporate them into a dog walk. (That is, of course, providing the errand in question is dog-friendly. My dog has been known to shoplift. I wish I that was joke.) As a last resort I will put aside a chunk of time to complete my errands and plan the most straightforward route ahead of time.

A little bit of preparation can help you fit these pesky tasks into your schedule in a painless way, but a little behind-the-scenes work can help as well. I always like to make sure my bag is packed ahead of time and I always try to make sure I pack whatever I need to complete any errands I might do on my outing.

And if there’s one rule that I live by, it’s: never, ever leave the house without a list. (Anyone who has wandered around the grocery store after work starving knows what I’m talking about.) The key to running your errands more effectively is to make sure you’re prepared and there’s nothing more productive than a list that’s able to keep track of what you’re doing, where you’re going, and what you need in order to do it.

Who knows? You might even make you enjoy getting out of the house for once.


Is there one errand that you absolutely hate doing? Mine is going to the post office. I’d love to hear yours when you drop me a line at For more suggestions on how to organize yourself, get yourself over to my Busy page.