What's the number 1 thing people can do differently to make their morning routine less stressful and more pleasant?
I think the best things they can do is to plan the night before. No matter what is on TV or how tired you are you should do some tasks to make the next day less stressful and run smoothly.
Which typical morning activities are the easiest to "outsource" or move to another time of the day?
Packing lunches, finishing things that should have been done the night before (e.g. homework). Getting clothing ready to wear.
Do you recommend using checklists? Do you think it's help in establishing a routine or too restrictive?
I think checklists are essential! No matter how organized you are it's better if you have a list to follow. Then, the "to-dos" don't have to be kept in your head and your mind can be more clear to focus on other things. There is something so gratifying about checking things off a physical list!
How specific should people be when establishing routines? Is "6am: wake up, 6:02: brush teeth" too restrictive? How structured or loose should you start with?
I think it depends on the person; someone new to structure might need more a more specific plan until they get used to it. We don't want to make people into robots, we just want their day to go smoother, we want them to not feel rushed, we want them to find their keys in the morning. It also depends on the day's activities because not everyone has a regular 9-to-5 job.
Which activities do you recommend clients complete as part of their morning, midday, and evening routines?
I think mornings are simple - it is what our mothers always told us!!
- Make your bed (you will feel like everything is in place if this simple task is done). Eat a good breakfast.
- Feed and walk your pet.
- Review your schedule and to-do list.
Schedule a few times a day to return emails and voicemails so you are not being bombarded all day.
Minimize social networking to stay focused (unless it's part of your job).
- Exercise (this could be a morning routine).
- Make your to-do list for the next day and go over any appointments, gather materials needed for those appointments (maps, proposals).
- Decide on, and ready your outfit for the next day.
- Pack lunches.
- Make sure everything is in place before you go to bed (wash all the dishes from dinner, put things back on shelves, fold the blankets on the couch, maybe even throw a load of laundry in so it can be clean by morning.
- Take time to relax before bed for better sleep - yoga, read a book, listen to soft music.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Being organized and reducing clutter has an effect on every other aspect of one's life and not too many people recognize this. It affects your energy, finances, weight, relationships, health, career, family, and amount of free time you have.
More About Your Daily Routine:
- Get More Done with a Daily Routine
- How to Create a Daily Routine
- How to Use a Daily Routine to Reach Your Goals
- How to Stick to a Daily Routine
- Daily Checklist
- 10 Good Daily Habits
- 10 Tips for a Better Daily Routine
- Erin Duran's Pro Advice on Daily Routines
- Wendy Salmon's Pro Advice on Daily Routines
- Daily Routine Reading List