I’ve always envied the slow mornings on TV shows. On Gilmore Girls, they wander about town chatting and drinking coffee. On Gossip Girl, they stop at bistros to grab brioche and destroy their enemies via social media. Pretty much every show has featured big breakfasts (that no one eats) and family chatter. I find myself in a coffee-fueled haze where I need to get my bum in the front seat of the car by 6:45 or else. That’s one of the reasons I rely so heavily on my journal. My handwritten planner helps me think less — and forget less — during the morning stress.

Think About Tomorrow

When I sit down in my bed each evening, I pull out my journal and think about tomorrow. I envision the day and walk myself through all the things that need to be done. I jot down any meetings and times. Then, I think through my travel between events and what I’ll need for the day.

This moment of reflection prepares me for the following morning. It eases that mental strain of considering, “What do I need to do today?”

Plan Breakfast

I plan my meals for the day right alongside my agenda. First, this helps me with food prep. I can make little notes reminding myself that I need to put out something to thaw or pick up an ingredient on the way home.

Also, it helps me be realistic when thinking about meals. I’m not making eggs if I need to leave by 6 am.

Pack and Prep

Even if you don’t lay out your entire outfit for the next day, your journal can help you make notes about what you need to bring with you before you leave the house. The process helps me remember to iron a shirt the night before or set my umbrella by the front door.

Most of the time, this helps me pull papers I’ll need for work or assemble bags that I need to drop off. All these little things make my morning too busy. When I look through the planner, I can set them aside the night before.

Set Reminders

Whenever I have a disruption to my routine, I make little reminders in my journal. Otherwise, my morning feels a little stressful — like I’m forgetting something. When I take the time to put all the reminders in my journal, I feel more at ease.

How do you plan for easy mornings?

I’d like to hear about how you get organized for the day. Do you use a journal? Feel free to leave a note in the comments or join the conversation on my Instagram @verderamade.