In a perfect world, we'd get up at 5 am, feeling zippy and refreshed, brew some coffee, catch up on emails, and read the paper before heading into the office. Real life, however, frustrates such lofty ambitions: the kids flushed a sock down the toilet. Your commute is perpetually snagged. (Also, your "House of Cards" marathon last night means you hit the snooze button a few too many times.)
How do you get yourself looking office-ready in the shortest possible amount of time? We have some tips for making sure you arrive looking effortlessly polished, cool, and collected - even if you've opened your eyes mere minutes before.
1. Routinize the routine
The phenomena of decision fatigue is so real that even the POTUS factors it into his routine: Tim Dowling of The Guardian writes, "In order to manage the challenge of being president of the United States, Barack Obama hits the gym at 7:30 on the dot every morning, and wears only blue or grey suits in order to cut down on non-vital decisions." Cutting down your own (admittedly less weighty) early morning decisions - which could be as simple as deciding on a simple, healthy breakfast and eating it every day - lets you focus your mental energy on the day ahead instead of minutia.
2. Become "iron man"
Nothing says "I just fished my outfit out of the hamper" like a wrinkled shirt. True time-saving superheroes can reserve an hour on Sunday to iron all their shirts for the week; mere mortals might prefer GQ's technique for ironing a dress shirt in 90 seconds (hint: it means not wasting time on the back of the shirt, which is covered by your jacket anyway, and instead taking a quick pass over the cuffs, collar, and front.) No one will suspect your crisp, freshly-pressed self woke up 10 minutes ago. Put on some Black Sabbath and get to work, Iron Man.
3. Crank the tunes
Speaking of Sabbath: "When we hear a song, our brain springs into action," writes The Huffington Post's Rebecca Adams. "As the music fires up our emotional, memory and motor centers. It's no wonder music has been linked to creative individuals since (practically) the beginning of time." Download your high-energy favourites and start the day off right: you can also invest in a pair of high-quality shower speakers that let you rock out, not miss any calls, and ensure your device stays dry up to 200 feet away.
4. Shave in the shower
Not only do the steamy environs of the shower perfectly replicate the hot, wet towel at the barber's, but integrating your shave and shower into a single, seamless process skims minutes off the morning rush. Can't see what you're doing? There's a simple fix: "use an extendable, double sided shaving mirror," advises unrepentant shower-shaver Douglas Smythe. "Coat and polish with toothpaste to prevent fog-up." Anti-fog mirrors on the market are designed specifically for this purpose. Another hot tip? Use your normal grooming routine to ready your face for the shave. "I massage excess conditioner into my moustache and face in preparation for the shave," adds Smythe. "This aids in softening the bristles even more."
5. Be cold as ice (for a few seconds)
Yes, we know all you want is to linger in the steamy bubble of the shower for as long as humanly possible. But too-hot showers wreak havoc not only on your skin (causing flare-ups of redness and itchiness, especially in winter), but also on your ability to get to work reasonably on time. "There are some studies," Dr. Terrence Keaney tells GQ, "to suggest that cold water increases heart rate" - in other words, it wakes you up - "improves your mood, and increases your stores of brown fat [the "good" fat that burns calories/energy in order to produce heat]." Exercise some self-discipline and douse yourself with a refreshing, icy blast of water after you've scrubbed: it'll leave your skin less red-looking, your hair shinier, and, all in all, you looking even more handsome than you do already.