I'd like mornings better if they started later. - Author Unknown

This quote could be a daily mantra for me and my teenagers. Let's be clear — we are not morning people. Getting up and out the door is a necessary evil, so we've learned to make the process as painless as possible. Here are 10 ways to make your mornings less manic.

1. Get up earlier

It's simple, really. If you don't have enough time in the morning, get up earlier. I'm not suggesting that you get up with the roosters…but an extra 15 minutes might give you the edge that you need.

2. Wake your children

I've found that my children, especially as teenagers, are much more receptive to a gentle "good morning" than to a blaring alarm. I've also found that my children do not respond positively to good morning cheer routines.

3. Stop making your bed

Shocking, I know. Stop making your bed, and gain at least an extra 10 minutes. Don't worry, you can make it when you get home for the day…and no one will be the wiser.

4. Keep the TV off

This rule is non-negotiable in our house. Keeping the television off eliminates distraction, and keeps everyone on task. Worried about keeping up with current events? Log on to a news site when you get to work. Want to check the weather? Look outside!

5. Eat breakfast

Sage advice: Fuel up for your busy day ahead, and insist that your kids do, too. Whether it's a green smoothie, or a simple bowl of cereal, start your day with good nutrition!

6. Create a command center

Designate one central area for calendars, sports schedules, permission slips, etc. You might even consider hanging a "command center" bulletin board. No more searching for paperwork in the morning!

7. Batch process

Batch processing is a function that I use in photo-editing to tackle a stack of photos. Using the same mentality, aim to batch process your frequent morning tasks. Do your kids go home with friends a few days per week? Type up a "generic" note for the school office, print multiple copies, and sign on the applicable day.

8. Choose songs (or silence)

Mornings are NOT the time to talk about college apps, grades, boyfriends/girlfriends, or fashion statements. Save the serious discussions for a time when everyone is more awake. Instead, blare the radio (or a playlist), or just enjoy some shared silence.

9. Designate a co-pilot

Eliminate the game of "shotgun!" in the morning. Choose either a consistent rule (oldest sits in the front), or a rotating schedule to determine who gets the prized front row passenger seat. Goodbye bickering, hello peaceful commute.

10. Lower your expectations

If all else fails…lower the bar. Mornings don't have to be all Leave it to Beaver. Most of the time, I'm happy if everyone makes it out of house reasonably clothed, and well fed. One cranky morning here and there isn't going to change their lives.

Mornings are inevitable, but with these tips and a positive attitude, you'll be greeting each new day with open arms!