I received this reader question in my email:
Where do you find all those lovely matching shoes in such a comfortable style. Every outfit perfectly co-ordinated. Where do you find the time to care for your kids, make dinner, clean house, have time with your spouse and kids and look so good. I would love you to do a piece on time management and style: it’s the flip side of beauty. Meredith
One of the common comments I hear around having style is that it just “takes so much time”. In fact many women say they don’t wear any makeup as they have no time to put it on, yet some women manage to find the time to do all these grooming and style related tasks.
There are definitely ways of making the time management area of style easier to manage. Like anything we do, we can choose to make something a habit (like cleaning your teeth) or turn it into something that is a special occasion only task. For me, general grooming – hair and makeup – are habits – they don’t require much thought and I build the 10 minutes they take me into my morning routine. Do I get up 10 minutes earlier? Possibly? Or do I forgo watching breakfast TV, or reading the paper in the morning – yes. When my kids were very young they would sit on the bathroom counter and chat to me as I put on my makeup. My 10 year old daughter still enjoys spending time with me in the bathroom as I do my makeup.
There are many ways we can use our time and I know that when I feel that I look good, I feel more confident, so taking that time out each day to put together an outfit I enjoy wearing is time well spent and makes the rest of my day more productive as I feel positive in myself.
My wardrobe has evolved over time. I find that the more I know about my style and what suits me, the colours, the shapes, the contrast, the patterns, the scale, the fabrics and textures. Knowing all these details make it so much easier to shop for the pieces that I’ll wear, will go with what I already own, and work for my lifestyle. Knowing and really understanding your personal style and colour really do make it much faster and easier over time which is why I work with my personal clients and have also developed 7 Steps to Style so that you too can make your wardrobing process easier and quicker (plus save you money for the rest of your life as you stop buying the wrong garments and focus on what works for you).
This means I cut down on the time it takes to get dressed each day as the colours in my wardrobe easily mix and match. I know when I’m shopping what my wardrobe holes are, and what I’m keeping my eyes out for to fill those holes, so when I spy those shoes that fill that hole, I get them, knowing that they will be a great workhorse. That way I have a co-ordinated wardrobe with shoes and accessories all ready to go (you too can create some easy co-ordination with your own beauty bundles).
I’ve spent time evolving my style (and yes doing a style challenge like Evolve Your Style can really help you discover what you do and don’t like to wear, try new outfit combinations and refine your style statement.
Where does anyone find the time? We focus on what is important to us, do those things first, and other elements fall by the wayside.
For me, I know that by planning my meals for the week on a Sunday and doing the weekly supermarket shop with those meals in mind, I don’t have to think so hard each evening when I finish work and go to the kitchen to cook dinner.
In many ways I plan my wardrobe the same way, considering what is going on, who I’m meeting, what the weather will be, and what I want to project.
I don’t think you need more time to look stylish and put together, you just need to manage your time better if it’s not something you naturally focus on. That’s why I’m creating a Weekly Wardrobe Planner for you to download so you can plan your outfits, as you’d plan your family meals!
I treat what is important to me with respect and care – and I try and spend my time wisely (as I know just how limited it is, in fact I consider time to be my currency, it’s what I value most).
Having gotten divorced I know how expensive that process is, and so I focus time on my husband so that I never go through that again.
I know that my kids are growing up fast and it won’t be long before they are adults, a decade feels like it zips past in a minute! Therefore I enjoy the time I spend talking to them and being with them, just cuddling on the couch. I’m lucky I work from home, so I can be here when they go to school and home when they get home, they come and sit in my office and do their homework as I write blog posts, we discuss their homework, they ask questions. I try and help, without actually doing the homework for them!
I appreciate my health, the older I get the more I appreciate being in good health, and so I exercise regularly to help keep me healthy and vibrant. I get up that little bit earlier to ensure that it happens. I go to bed at a reasonable hour so that I’m not tired all day and I can think clearly. If I’m in pain I know that I’m unproductive, so I do what I can to avoid that.
I try not to waste too much time, which is so easy, particularly with social media constantly begging my attention. I try and maximise my time, I love reading and gaining new knowledge, but have little time left in my day, so I listen to audio books when I’m driving my car, going for a walk or run, cleaning the house or doing the gardening. It makes boring and mundane tasks more pleasurable for me.
I’m currently listening to Gretchen Rubins – The Happiness Project, which I think has a lot to offer on what is important as well as what will make us happy. And I’m not listening because I’m unhappy, in fact I think my life is pretty darn great! But I know that small tweaks can make a difference to how I feel, my relationships and what I concentrate on doing.
Much of my wardrobe is not the latest season, I don’t believe it has to be. I do update a little every season, but that’s as far as I go. I feel it’s always a work in progress and always will be.
I can tell you that I’m far from superwoman. My husband will attest to the fact I comment how often how much I have on my plate (as my to-do-list seems to grow not shrink day after day), and I’m far from perfect and things slip by and I forget things, which is why the more we can make a habit in our lives, the easier those elements are as they don’t take up as much brain space.
How do you manage your time and your style? How much time does it take you? What are your tips to being stylish and groomed even when you have a very busy life?