SLT015: Creating Your Morning Routine, and Living Without a Printer
Play • 45 min

Wouldn’t you love to simplify your morning routine? What? You don’t have one? Well, in this episode Vanessa shares some tips to help you create your morning routine so you can start of each morning on the right path.

But even if you start out on the right path, sometimes little things can become big irritants, can’t they? One thing that can be really frustrating is printer problems. Do you think you could digitize your life to the point where you don’t even need a printer? Well, Dan shares his thoughts on that very subject! Read more… 

Vanessa’s Topic: Creating Your Morning Routine

Are you feeling a little rushed in the mornings? Are you stressed out? Do you find yourself getting distracted from completing your important tasks? Well, you’re not alone. One of the most popular posts on my website is about how to create a morning routine. I talked about routines in general way back in Episode 2, but I thought I’d get a little bit more specific here and share some tips specific to a morning routine.

When you establish a routine for you or your family, you are creating an environment of consistency. With consistency comes known expectations of roles and responsibilities, known outcomes and a happier, calmer family.  Think about it like this…we are drawn to certain businesses, products, bosses and friends because they provide consistently good food, products, leadership and friendship, right?  Well, if we expect and value consistency in those things…why not value it in our own lives?  A morning routine is just the thing to give you order and calm.

Now, before you jump into creating a daily routine, remember to keep the following in mind:

  • Specific tasks: You’ll need to identify your specific morning tasks and how long it takes to do them.  I suggest writing everything down and be specific about the exact times it takes to complete a task.  Sometimes tasks take longer than we think!
  • Specific order: Figure out the most logical sequence of events for you and schedule each event in a time slot.  I highly recommend writing this schedule down on paper or on your calendar.  Electronic calendars are especially wonderful because you can rearrange your tasks without wasting time rewriting and erasing events.
  • Consistency: This is key!  Once you’ve figured out your tasks and order, now you’ve got to stick to it.  There’s no point in going through all the effort of creating a routine if you’re not going to follow it.  

Here are a few suggestions and typical tasks to think about incorporating into your morning routine:

  • Wake up. Take 15-30 minutes to wake up, enjoy your coffee, check out the news or read.  Check out my morning coffee routine post on prepping your coffee the night before.  Having a fresh cup of joe already made first thing in the morning makes all the difference!
  • Review your daily tasks. Refresh your memory of the tasks and important “to-do” items you need to get done that day.You might also consider preparing this list the night before as part of a  nightly de-clutter routine.
  • Make your bed. Simply taking 5 minutes or less to make your bed will instantly make your room look cleaner plus you’ll feel much more relaxed when you come home to a tidy room. If you don’t like the process of making the bed, consider cutting down on the amount of pillows you have and use a duvet cover over your comforter that doubles as a top sheet too!
  • Prepare for dinner. Make sure all of your food items are defrosted and that you have all the necessary ingredients for the evening’s dinner.  That way you can pick up any missing items later on in the day. I actually like to refer to my weekly dinner menu and look at the next day’s meal too so I know to take out things from the freezer to give them time to defrost.
  • Empty the dishwasher or dish rack.  Put your dishes away first thing in the morning so that you and your family can fill it up after breakfast and throughout the day instead of waiting to do all of it after dinner.
  • After you shower and get dressed, clean up after yourself. Be sure to put dirty clothes in the laundry hamper, put away your toiletries and makeup, wipe down the sinks and hang up your towel.
  • Prep kids for school.  Allot time to make lunches (or better yet, make them the night before), eat breakfast, dress, brush teeth and get school bags ready.  Of course, if your kids are old enough be sure to get them in a routine too and have them take on some, if not most of the responsibilities.
  • Make breakfast and cleanup afterwards. Like your bed, the kitchen has a lot of counter space and when one counter is cluttered the whole kitchen looks messy.  Take just a couple of minutes everyday to wipe down those counters and appliances…you’ll be amazed at how refreshing it is to come home to a clean kitchen after a busy day at work.

Ok…so there are some suggestions for you.  Although you may have these tasks written or typed in on your calendars, you might try writing them down on paper and creating a checklist that you can actually check off as you go so. Post it where you’ll see it (bathroom, next to the coffee maker, or somewhere else in the kitchen perhaps).   Sometimes that can help you pick up a new habit/routine faster.

Dan’s Topic:

We’re keeping a running list of our top top problems, issues, or situations that cause us frustration. You know, things that are just a hassle. We’re keeping the list so we can do a good 80/20 analysis and take action to eliminate or at least mitigate the problems.

On the top of the list for tech items is our computer printer. We used to have 2 printers, one in the house and one in the office. We really seldom use them and I’d be willing to bet that the one inside the house wasn’t used for over a year before we got rid of it. As for the work printer in the World Shedquarters, we seldom use it at all and when we do, we usually have an issue connecting. It’s a wifi only unit with no option for a direct connection to our computers or our router. And even with software updates we haven’t had the best of luck with it staying connected.

Well, the other day Farnoosh Brock, from, who is a member of our Edit & Forget It Challenge posted this on the Edit & Forget It Challenge Facebook page:

Hi everyone, so I’ve made a firm decision NOT to buy a printer for our business. Until a month ago, we’d be using my hubby’s work printer and side note: I HATE Printers with a passion like you wouldn’t believe …. soooo can I survive without a printer? I am willing to bet yes.

That post really got me thinking. I spent a lot of time comparing and contrasting our options when I bought this all-in-one printer but I never once considered NOT buying a printer! After all of the efforts we’ve made over the last 3-4 years at going paperless, I just never even considered it. Well, that got me thinking about the real feasibility of doing away with a printer completely.

So, knowing that we don’t use a printer much, we had to take a look at what we DO use it for. Here’s what we boiled it down to and potential work arounds:

  1. Vanessa prints out service agreements for her clients. She typical sends an email version of it but for some clients she needs to have only a dozen or so paper copies on hand… “justin case”. One option is having some pre-printed out at OfficeMax, etc, and keeping just a few on hand.
  1. Printing out an online coupon…which we maybe do twice a year max! So is it really worth it? Maybe we could try a screenshot of the online coupon with an iPhone and see it they’ll take that.
  1. Our son’s schoolwork. He may need to print something 2-3 times per school year. He always has the option of printing them out at his mom’s house or at school.
  1. Tickets to hockey games, movies, etc...just 3-5 times per year. A good option is to just use the Will Call option at the ticket booth. Still pay ahead, but pick up at Will Call.

Here are some other ways to print out what you need:

  • Email to Print Services: OfficeMax, OfficeDepot and Fedex/Kinkos all have email “email to print” services.
  • Save stuff into Evernote. I’m an Evernote fiend and it’s our repository for all things info!
  • Print to PDF. Most operating systems let you print to PDF as an option. Apple’s OS X also lets you save to an “online receipts” folder in the print menu.  Again, I prefer to save into Evernote, either as text or as a PDF right in the note.
  • Print what you need. There’s always the good old thumb drive option. If there’s something that absolutely needs to be in printed “hard copy” form, save it to your thumb drive. Try to batch print jobs if possible and go print them all out at once.
  • Options for Your All-In-One’s Other Functions:
    • Digital Signatures: I use apps like iAnnotate in my mobile devices. I’m not sure about on a PC, but on a Mac you can sign docs using the trackpad with apps such as Autograph and Signature, or use the built in signature optioning the Preview menu. Here’s some tips from Lifehacker:
      • Signing digital documents has gotten a bit easier over the last few years, especially on the Mac, with great apps like Autograph and the built-in signing option in Preview, but both have their pros and cons. Autograph, while quite good, can’t store signatures and has been a little unstable in recent releases. Preview, on the other hand, requires a webcam and an image of your signature. The quality of the final product doesn’t look so great, either, but you can store signatures so you don’t have to scan them in all the time. Signature, however, combines the best of both: you can sign with your finger on the trackpad and store signatures for later use.
      • Another option is Hello Fax. It lets you keep a digital image of your signature on file, which you can then position, resize and reuse on other docs.
    • Use an online Fax service: It’s wasteful to print a page just to be able to fax it. Instead, sign up for an online fax service, like FaxZero, that will let you send and receive paperless faxes through email, the web or on your smartphone.

Alright…well, those are some options for you. Take some time and evaluate whether you really need a printer and if it falls squarely into that category of 20% of things that cause 80% of your tech problems.

So, have you gone without a printer? Do you think you could? I’d love to hear from you either way.  I think our printer is now firmly on our “tech to phase out” list. There may be a few growing pains, that’s what growing is all about, right?

The “Thing” Segment:

Vanessa: Our story about how we chose to sponsor Charity:Water on our website.

Dan: How an article on Zen Habits reminded him of a letter he wrote to his son before heading off to Afghanistan right after 9/11.

Edit & Forget It Update!

Well, we welcomed a lot of new folks to the Facebook Edit & Forget It page this past week! So if you signed up for Edit & Forget It, join us on FB, too! It’s never too late to join the Challenge, it’s going on all year so if you’re ready to edit 2013 things from your life, head on over to and  sign up!


Wanted to thank everyone that has given us fantastic feedback on iTunes, thru email, on the website and even several “shout outs” on different blogs and podcasts. It’s great to hear how you enjoy the podcast and to get your ideas and suggestions for future ones as well.  Thank you so much!

Closing Thoughts:

We’re blessed to be able to share some ideas and some of our experiences as we journey toward a simpler life in the modern world and we’d like to hear some of your experiences, too.

It sure would help if you you took just 2 minutes to review the show in iTunes. The more positive reviews we get, the higher the show is in the listings and that’s how people find us.

If you like the show, please subscribe and consider giving us a good review in iTunesIt takes less than 2 minutes to review the show in iTunes and that’s the best way for people to find us.

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If you know someone else who might enjoy the journey too, send them a link to

Connect with us on Twitter, Dan is @DanielHayes and Vanessa is @GetSimplifized. You can find links to our Twitter and Google Plus profiles on the left side of the home page.

Be sure to leave comments below, send us a voicemail from the little microphone icon on the right side of the page, or you can go “old school” and email us!  Comments, questions, thoughts, ideas, suggestions…they’re all welcome and we’d love to hear from you!

Resources and Links:

Get Simplifized: Morning Routine

Your Morning Coffee Routine Just Got Simplifized

Organize Your Morning Routine with a Nightly Routine

Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits Article: Advice to My Kids

Photo Credit: RaSeLaSeD – Il Pinguino

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