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Ask any productivity guru — Tim Ferriss, David Allen, Tony Robbins — and he we tell you that success lies in the perfection of routine. Others have argued that a static routine represents the death of originality and creativity.

Of course, all philosophies are subjective: we all must choose how to balance the need to “get things done” with the desire to innovate. For the third installation of Beauty Shoppe’s Desk Project, we talked to three distinguished women who shared her perspective on routine.



“When I’m not traveling or in meetings, I work alone and I work from home. I use whiteboards to keep running lists of things I need to accomplish.


Also, being virtual and mobile, it certainly lends to lack of time boundaries. We are always connected so I tend to always answer.


We all have something special about our routines. Having an employer validate that leads to a lot of good retention and satisfaction.”


— AMY HARTZELL, Executive Director for the Pittsburgh Entrepreneurs Forum


“We are always trying to figure out work-life balance. And it’s very interesting at an arts organization.


For example, my best work is done in the morning. I can start working at 7 am — but others might not work that way. I don’t think folks need to have ‘set hours.’ Also, folks should have the ability to step away from their desk and work in a new space.


When I am not feeling as productive, I go to a coffee shop. That completely shifts my productivity for the day.”


— CHRISTINA SALGADO, Director of Education and Community Engagement at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre


“Before we moved into [our current] space, we were entirely based out of coworking [at Beauty Shoppe and Cube]. This was literally our first time buying furniture and – to be honest – we tried a very similar setup to Beauty Shoppe.


Our desks are slightly larger and we love the white surfaces because we can write on them. To be able to just spontaneously start writing without a notebook – our team loves that.


A policy we have around our desks is that they move every four months. We have three partners and two rooms here at our office. The partners will pick out of a hat for which room they will be in. Then the team picks out of a hat and we mix up whom we are sitting next to. If — through the lottery — you get the same room, that’s fine two times in a row. But not the third. All that to say, I’ve never been in one space more than four months.


We are a small creative firm and we are very organizationally flat. We don’t have departments. We have collaborative in our name because we feel the need to work together.”


SARAH MAYER, Partner and Co-Founder at Shift Collaborative