SLT015: Creating Your Morning Routine, and Living Without a Printer

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.

Morning Routine

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.

  • Go to
  • Click on”Write a Review”
  • Write your review…
  • Click “Submit”! It’s as easy as that and it really helps to get the word out about the the show.  Thanks for doing that.

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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13 thoughts on “SLT015: Creating Your Morning Routine, and Living Without a Printer

  1. I am loving the podcasts. The information is great. The ideas are great. But in my opinion, the greatest thing about these podcasts is the relationship & obvious chemistry between the two of you. Superb.

    Mark – London. UK

  2. I loved this podcast… Thanks for the great tips. I do have to disagree with the idea of getting rid of a printer. I looooove printing things out. I’m a creative, visual, kinesthetic, right brainer and living without paper and a printer would seriously make my life not as fun, joyful or even practical.
    I use the printer 5 to 6 days a week. My 3 kids use the printer also for their school work.
    I live in Brazil, South America and the disorganization of things here makes having paper receipts and proof that things were done essential when they get things screwed up and trust me they get things screwed up all the time.
    I’m glad that you guys were able to get rid of it, but it’s just not a good thing for creative types like me. I actually print out ebooks, artwork and things that make me inspired to tape to my walls too.
    Anyways, just wanted to chime in.
    All the best,
    Eren Mckay

    • Sorry, Eren, you’re dead wrong….get rid of that printer!!!! JUST KIDDING!!!!! We are so with you on this. If we used our printer anywhere near as much as you do then we wouldn’t ditch ours either! Brazil sounds interesting…in a a “need your printer for backup” kinda way. Neither Vanessa nor I have ever been there, but if I ever go I would buy bags and bags of Malagueta peppers to bring home for my sauces! I LOVE Malaguetta peppers and just can’t seem to get them around here. Too bad I can’t print some out…hmmmm…I’d never get rid of the printer then! Thanks, Eren…hope you keep listening!

  3. I just left a review on iTunes. Y’all are doing a terrific job! I just starting listening a few weeks ago and have made it through quite a few episodes. I wanted to share some tips about living without a printer.

    My DH and I lived without a printer for about 5 years. My main habits for using a printer before that time were 1) printing boarding passes for air travel and 2) printing directions from Google maps or MapQuest. Here’s how we solved that: 1) many airlines will let you check in online, and then print a copy of your boarding pass at the airport. For example, with Southwest it is important to check in as soon as possible (up to 24 hrs before the flight) to get a good seat assignment. So you can check in 24 hrs ahead online, and then NOT print the boarding pass. When you go to check luggage at the airport (or even if you have no luggage), just use one of the machines to print a new boarding pass. 2) for directions, we mainly wrote them down on paper!

    Now of course there are lots of great directions/maps/GPS on phones and I never print directions. There are also more apps for checking in on planes and some airlines even let you use a document on your cell phone as a boarding pass.

    What caused us to get a printer at home was this: one of us started working from home, and needed to print documents from time to time for work purposes. Also, we wanted to print photos of our DD without having to bring the SD card (or transfer photo files) to a print center. But UGH–just bought ink AGAIN and it is painful to see that receipt!

    • Madeline- Thanks so much for the comment here and the review on iTunes! You ROCK! And thanks, too, for such nice things to say about us! We may have to widen the doors on our World Shedquarters to get our big heads out of the office! We’re having a lot of fun with the show and amazed at how much it seems to have caught on with people who’ve found it.

      Wow…5 years without a printer…and such great tips, too! Yes, to have to go back to buying ink after so long must be unnerving. I guess for some a printer really is a necessity (like you say, UGH!). So maybe we should start collecting tips on how to tame the beast…ink refills, online outlets for ink, raising squids to refill our own, etc…

      Thanks again for everything and let us know how it goes with the printer or if you find any more workarounds!

  4. When I lived Honolulu (city urban environment), there were 24 hour Kinkos near my job and home so I did away with having a printer and it was fine. I’d print from my laptop but hit pdf option from home, save it to a flash drive and then produce the hardcopy at Kinko’s. It was a relief not to have to find a place for the printer, toner and paper.

    I’m back to having a printer again because I live in a more rural environment now. Kinko’s is out of the way and has much shorter hours. My BF also prints quite a bit of things. But if I was by myself, I could easily go without it. I do print graphic design pieces sometimes for home decor or card making but even that is so occasional.

    I recommend the HP Envy for those in small spaces and small printing jobs. It’s not cheap but it’s nice and stream lined looking and closes up completely so it stays pretty clean. My desk is in my bedroom so I try to keep it as non-office looking as possible (office/work feel is not conducive to restful sleep). It also works wonderfully with iPads and iPhones and is a great scanner too. You can print remotely from your mobile device but I don’t use that function much.

    By the way, for Safeway, you can save your store coupons on your Safeway card now. EventBrite also has an iPhone app where you can save your event tickets in your app on your phone to show at the door. So, things are looking better and better for the paperless pushing folks.

    • These are great tips, Tania! Thanks! And yes, if you do have to have a printer it is bet to really analyze your needs and find the RIGHT printer for you, not just “a printer.” Good stuff!

    • Thanks for sharing, Tania! Although Dan’s thought provoking topic of going printer less is exciting…I haven’t quite gotten there yet. I definitely use it more than he does but I’ve cut down quite a bit…so that’s a good thing. As for the printer, definitely need one to fit your needs. We have the Envy as well and like you, we like the streamlined look of it with it’s tiny swing out paper tray. Ideally you don’t want your bedroom as a multi-purpose room but if you have to it’s best to keep it clean and aesthetically pleasing. Right now we have a treadmill in our bedroom which I’m not thrilled about, but I’m not willing to let it go just yet. Anyhoos…..thanks again for sharing!

  5. We haven’t had a printer for the last 6 months and I LOVE IT! I am even a homeschooling mother of 6 children but I love to simplify and going printerless has been so simple. We go to the library about once a week so if there is anything I really need printed I make a list and print it when we’re at the library. The best part is that printing up to 25 pages there is FREE!

    I rarely print anything though. Maybe a knitting pattern or a homeschool worksheet here or there. The worksheets go in page protectors, by the way. My children can use them with dry erase markers so they can be used over and over again by all my children. So simple! If you ever want simple homeschooling ideas for your show let me know!

    • Wow! That is so inspirational, Jane! It sounds like you’ve developed some great workarounds, too. Next time someone says they can’t do it, I’m going to refer them to your comment (and your library)!