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Advice from a Pro: Wendy Salmon on Daily Routines

Wendy Salmon's Daily Routine Advice

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Big Mirror in Foyer

Big Mirror in Foyer

Photo / Greige Design
Professional organizer Wendy Salmon answers my questions on creating and sticking to daily routines.

What's the number 1 thing people can do differently to make their morning routine less stressful and more pleasant?

For me it's selecting my outfit the night before and making sure its clean, ironed, and all the accessories are together.

Which typical morning activities are the easiest to outsource or move to another time of the day?

Make part or all of lunch the night before. Same with selecting your outfit for work/school.

What's something you've learned from a client that surprised you?

One of my clients took her closet doors off and replaced them with curtains which coordinated with the others in her room. It made getting things in the closet easier due to the set up of her room.

Another client used a hair salon calendar (the type that had columns for each stylist) for her 4 kids', her husband's and her daily activities. She didn't like to use the computer but this calendar helped her keep things in order as she had too much going on to write every obligation in those tiny little squares on a typical wall calendar.

Do you recommend using checklists? Do you think it's helpful in establishing a routine or too restrictive?

If a checklist isn't used, I find I can get into what I call "circular thinking" which means I think about my projects in a continual loop of worry. When things are written down and then broken into smaller parts, the worry lessens or goes away. Remember the old adage? "How do you eat an elephant?" "One bite at a time!"

I highly recommend Atul Gawande's book The Checklist Manifesto.

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 6:02 a.m Brush Teeth is too restrictive; after, all we move at different speeds depending on our moods and how we're feeling. However, I think routines are necessary to get to work/school/appointments on time, to complete our work, to pay bills on time, to stay in shape, to be successful in business, for so many facets in life.

Any more advice you'd like to add?

If a routine isn't working, change it. Just because it works for your mom, neighbor or best friend doesn't mean it's right for you. But when you find a routine that works, stick with it.

Next, we talk about why you need a daily routine:

More About Your Daily Routine:

  1. Get More Done with a Daily Routine
  2. How to Create a Daily Routine
  3. How to Use a Daily Routine to Reach Your Goals
  4. How to Stick to a Daily Routine
  5. Daily Checklist
  6. 10 Good Daily Habits
  7. 10 Tips for a Better Daily Routine
  8. Erin Duran's Pro Advice on Daily Routines
  9. Wendy Salmon's Pro Advice on Daily Routines
  10. Daily Routine Reading List

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