I wake up between 6:15 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. After that, there are at least 30 minutes before I get to leave the house and - this is the important part - consume coffee.
That is correct. I leave the house with a thermal coffee mug in hand almost every morning, but never drink any coffee until I am on the road.
Somehow, I still manage to have everything that I need with me each day. My secret?
I use a "prep" checklist to decide what to carry with me each morning.
TIP: Mine is done in OneNote 2013, but you can write one in your planner or post a dry-erase checklist next to your purse or briefcase, by typing up a list, dropping the list into a plastic page protector, highlighting the items that need to leave the house in the morning on the outside of the page protector, and erasing the highlights as each item is packed.
Highlighting at night and erasing in the morning leaves the list clean and ready to go the next time that you use it.
In the example above, I am planning to go to church and to grocery shop in the morning. I don't bring anything special to church, but I like to bring a watch to the store, as it is usually a two hour trip. Daily items, my watch, and shopping items, like reusable bags, coupons, and my grocery list, are on the my prep list for tomorrow.
Note the use of categorized sub-lists. That makes it easy to pack for the office, a workout, or substitute teaching.
TIP: Don't limit prep checklists to home. At the office, have a master prep list for repetitive meetings or trips.
Update the list as a need arises that might repeat again in the near future. For example, the next time you remind yourself to put mints and lip balm in your purse before a date, add a date sub-list to your prep list. Maybe you create a sub-list for the library, yoga class, or college courses.
Most things on my list are easy to remember, but in the rush of the morning, this checklist makes life easier. The one thing I never forget? My coffee!