​Our work schedules have changed (some repeatedly) since COVID-19, with many switching from 8-hour to 12-hour shifts. Many are coming in earlier than usual, to allow more time for hand-over or as part of staggered reporting times to avoid crowding our public transport as part of safe distancing. These tips can help make it a breeze to get yourself out of the door. 


How to kick-off the change? Find yourself a pen and a piece of paper. Write down your current morning routine by steps and the estimated time each step takes…let’s go!

For example, this is my morning routine:

Step 1 External/ Internal activities

The first thing that I do is to see what tasks I can do beforehand. Going back to my list, I realised I can choose or prepare my attire for the day and set them aside the night before. I can also pre-select make-up items for tomorrow and arrange them in sequence at the make-up table. By shifting some morning activities to the night before, I am actually utilizing one of the key streamlining concepts of doing what I can beforehand to cut down on the time I take to get ready in the morning.

My morning routine list now becomes:

Step 2 Parallel processing

Next, I look for activities that can be done concurrently. The key idea here is to multi-task to save time. Preparing the rice and setting the timer of my rice cooker for dinner is something I do every morning. I realised that I can do this step while waiting for my coffee machine to make my morning brew. In addition, I can read the news and steam a bun for my son while I am having my breakfast.

Wow, how exciting! My morning routine list is even shorter now!

Step 3 Elimination of steps

My list now looks shorter (by a full 18 minutes!) At this stage, I look through my list again to see if there are any unnecessary steps that I can eliminate from my morning routine. One of them that stands out from the rest is to -“check my bag and make sure earphone and umbrella are in the bag”. I asked myself if I really needed to do this and the answer is no surprise – nope. I have a spare umbrella at my office and my earphones are not necessary for work. It is time to eliminate this step from my morning routine list!


Step 4 Improve existing steps


The last step is to review and improve on existing steps. How can I do things faster? I noticed that my make-up routine takes approximately 12 minutes, which is about a third of my total preparation time in the morning. Can I simplify this step further and reduce the complexity of my make-up routine, which currently include foundation, loose powder, blush, eyebrow pencil, eye shadow, eye liner, highlighter and lipstick? After gleaning tips from professional make-up artists on YouTube, I narrowed it down to just  BB cushion foundation (faster to apply and no need for  face powder). Because of COVID-19, I am now wearing a surgical mask - instead of blush and lipstick - every day to keep my colleagues and myself safe.

Instead of 12 minutes, I would only need 3 minutes now! 

By simply applying the four principles of streamlining, I managed to shorten my morning routine by two-thirds from 63 minutes to 23 minutes! How is your morning routine list now? Is it much shorter? Try the new routine tomorrow and get to work earlier with no stress.


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