Life in Paris, Schedule Series

Routine Rundown

I’m thinking about how quickly I used to get out the door in high school.

On mornings when I didn’t wash my hair, I could go from sleeping to riding in the car on the way to the Park and Ride in just 17 minutes. As my parents can attest, I didn’t always get out the door on time. While those mornings made for a very stressful ride to the bus stop, my 17 minute routine worked for me most of the time.

I had to catch a city bus if I wanted to make it to school in time for choir at 7am, so once I’d waited until the last moment, I could shoot out of bed, into my bottoms, then into the bathroom to wash my face, brush my teeth, and to throw on some mascara.

Back to my bedroom to root around for a clean shirt, get my shoes on, and put my hair up into a pony tail. Then, I’d race upstairs to dig through the coin dish for bus fare or a snack, grab my backpack, possibly down an entire pot of tea if I brewed it and left it out to sit overnight. Then, out the door!

Now, I take great pleasure in extending my mornings well beyond 17 minutes.

Still, as predicted, I’ve started devoting my mornings to activities out of the house, like volunteering, study groups, and my internship.

That means I need to get out of the house by a certain time, and unlike my high school self, I’m having trouble getting in gear each day for a few reasons beyond my love of a lazy morning.

First, I shower every day in France. I wash my hair very rarely, but I at least take a quick, 2 minute rinse, every morning.

Second, I bring my lunch with me almost every day, and I actually eat breakfast. If I’ve not made it the night before, I need to take at least 20 minutes to make a smoothie while I warm some veggies, boil a few eggs, or make a sandwich and pack everything away.

Third, I dress better than I did in high school. I have a much smaller wardrobe, but I’ve put it together with a lot more care and consideration for my surroundings than I did as a teenager. This means that I am often hunting for a particular part of an outfit, or trying to gauge how many layers I’ll need to wear based on the weather.

Fourth, my skincare routine has improved. While washing my face in high school usually meant smearing my face with a cleansing scrub and rubbing it off with a towel (yikes!), I’m a little more diligent these days. I use at least three products, cleanser, witch hazel toner, and a moisturiser, but I can get up to four or five when spot treatments and sunscreens enter the mix.

My makeup routine is only slightly more complicated, as I’ve added an eyebrow gel to accompany a layer of mascara. Some days, I’ll even apply a blush! It’s getting wild over here, I know…

Fifth, and finally, I’m trying to keep track of my bus pass, my keys, an my various badges and ID cards. This isn’t terribly complicated when compared to my bus pass and my keys in high school, but truly, if I’d run out the door with only my bus pass, I would have been OK.

Now, forgetting an ID card means I can’t get into several locked doors at either my university or my internship, and there’s no change dish to rummage through if I can’t find my bus pass. As is fairly common in France, our keys are not just keys, they’re also the doorknobs to open the door (stick it in, turn, and push), so it’s simply not possible to leave my keys at home and let myself in using the garage door code.

So, what would a streamlined version of my adult routine look like?

I’d have to wake up, throw some lunch fixings on the stove and then go straight to the shower. I’d rinse off, and head back to the kitchen to dry while making a smoothie or eating cereal. Then, I’d finish eating, tend to the lunch foods, and take care of my face (wash, tone, and moisturise). Hopefully no more than 15 minute have passed since getting out of bed.

Next, I’d open a window to get a feel for the temperature, and collect everything to get dressed. Shoes on, lunch off the stove, and REMEMBER TO TURN THE STOVE OFF! Next, I’d let the food cool while arranging everything into my various bags for school or my internship. Take another 5  minutes to rinse an inevitably forgotten lunch tin, and pack away the food. Estimated time : another 15 minutes.

Do a quick scan of the apartment, and a pocket pat down for my keys, Navigo, and phone. Put my badge around my neck if I’m heading to my internship, or touch my wallet in my book bag if I’m going to school. Unplug or turn off the three powerstrips around the house, and make sure my reusable water bottle is sealed. Another 15 minutes, assuming I can’t find one of the aforementioned items.

Next, it’s out of the house, locking the door, and walking down to the metro. This is, optimistically, a 45 minute routine. I’m going to time myself tomorrow (before my last exam!) and see how things go. I’ll get into how I can make my mornings easier in a later post, but for now, it’s a good baseline. Let the practice begin!




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