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Friday, May 2, 2014

Finding the Flow

"Do the hard things first and life will be easy. Do the easy things first and life will be hard."~ Stuart Keevy

So, I have an update on my perpetual search for the perfect wardrobe planning system. 

I've created or come across, and subsequently passed along all sorts of ideas- some really fancy ones requiring big, huge work to put together an elaborate system; pictures of all your clothes and accessories that you put together for each outfit, etc. This is best for the true clothes hound who has an extensive wardrobe that may be closeted in difficult-to-reach places. I've also presented simple, streamlined ideas; simply lay out the next days entire ensemble the night before. After doing it both ways (though I never got as far as photographing all my stuff) I've found a middle road that seems to be a perfect fit for me.

The difference between a good system and a bad system is easy enough to define: a good system makes the daily task of dressing easier, and your image consistently better than it would be without said system, while a bad system makes the same task more difficult usually by overcomplicating things.

Last year I read a book by David Allen called 'Getting Things Done' which helps you get a handle on managing your time. One of his techniques for time management- which really means 'self' management- that I find particularly helpful is to do what he calls a 'weekly review.'  His ideas are really geared toward the busy business executive, but I'm a full time mom with a part time, entrepreneurial business, so I customized his ideas for my needs. My version of the 'weekly review' means I sit down on a Friday afternoon or Saturday morning and co-ordinate my weekly/monthly low-tech 'daytimer' calendar and anything in my tickler file with my large wall calendar for the coming week; meal plans around whatever events and weather may affect it, create my shopping lists, and define goals for my business for the coming week. (The meal planning saves a ton of money and time, BTW.)

This year I added a new area on the week-at-a-glance section of my daytimer. (I'm picky-I make my own calendar every year.) It's a small space tucked into the corner of each day with the headline 'wardrobe.' So, at the same time that I'm looking at the big picture of everything that's going on all week, what the weather will be, etc, I plan out what I'll wear- for the whole week. This by far has been the easiest and most effective technique for me. I've been doing it for a while now, where I used to drop other systems much sooner. I think it's working for me because it fits in with my weekly review so neatly. Doing this before the week starts means I have some time to make sure everything is in good condition and ready to go. Not only does this make mornings a breeze, but also means one less chore in the evenings- I can either just look at my book and get things out, or if I've been particularly clever the weekend before, then I've already arranged next weeks clothes together in the closet.  All this means my day 'flows' much more easily.

Of course, this could be done electronically, but for me, I don't see an advantage- you may find it would work better for you. Computers, ipads and phones would be ideal places to store this, but I just don't want to have to turn something on to access this particular info. It's just easier for me to flip open my book. 

Like I'm always preaching, if you find a way to organize your wardrobe in advance you'll find you consistently look better and your mornings will run more smoothly. Just try it for a week and you'll see. The thing is, you have to find a way that works for you- maybe you're better with laying the clothes out the night before, maybe you need the elaborate system with all the pictures and the book. Maybe you want to keep it on a clipboard hanging in your closet, or maybe you want to keep it in a small list in your phone. 

This bowl of porridge is too hot, this bowl is too cold, but this one is just right...

Happy Dressing!