I was binging one of my new obsessions, The Beyond Happy Podcast, recently and host Becky Hoschek made the point that our society’s standard response to the question “how are you doing?” has shifted from “well” or “fine” to “BUSY!” And she’s SO right. Post-2020 shutdown, our lives are as busy as ever. Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom running kids to sports practice, keeping healthy-ish meals on the table, and trying to juggle all the household to-dos, or a budding entrepreneur maintaining your social media calendar, managing client demands, and trying to squeeze in time with your friends or s/o on the side, or doing both, your calendar can quickly escalate to crazy town.
Personally, I’m working on slowing down and doing less, better. But that’s a conversation for a whole other post. 😉 No matter your roles and responsibilities, I know the firsthand challenge of wanting to do it all – and look good doing it. I’m not even talking about getting all dolled up, unless that’s your thing. What I have found, and why I’m sharing these tips, is the days I don’t bother to put any effort into my appearance, I feel amazingly less productive and confident as a result. My whole day seems to suffer.
We all face a lot of pressures (self-inflicted or otherwise) and the point of this article is not to raise the standards you set for yourself. It’s to provide you with lots of ways to take care of yourself and show up the way you want to, amidst the chaos.
No. 1 – you’re doing great. Take a minute right now and express gratitude for just one small thing you’ve accomplished this morning or even this week. I don’t care if it’s as seemingly insignificant as remembering to floss for the first time in months or landing a big account at work. You are Doing. The. Thing. even on the days that feel super hard. So first and foremost, give yourself some credit.
No. 2 – As your resident style expert, I’m here to boost your confidence on the inside and the outside. And since you’ve found yourself here, I have to believe you care about how you show up for yourself and others. You want to put your best foot forward and feel as polished as possible. (Psst… there’s nothing wrong with pouring into your own cup!) I also get that you don’t have a ton of time or hours to waste getting ready in the morning. The good news is: you don’t need to.
Today, I’m sharing 10 timesaving tips to look put together FAST. I recommend starting with one or two of these suggestions at a time. The goal isn’t to give you more to-dos; it’s to help you maximize your time and simplify your life. Take what works for you and leave the rest! Now without further ado, let’s dive in…
1. Name Your Non-Negotiables
Are you a must-have makeup kinda girl? Do you feel most put together when your hair is perfectly styled? Does everything feel right in the world after a fresh manicure? Which aspects of getting ready move the needle most for you? It doesn’t matter which (or what) it is. Take some time to think about what makes YOU feel the most pulled together and make that ONE thing your non-negotiable, meaning no matter what – it gets done.
On those days when you’re rushing out the door, you’ll be glad to have your priorities in check. Make the biggest impact you can with your one (or two) non-negotiables and give yourself grace with everything else. I promise, you’re your harshest critic.
2. Choose a Quick Go-To Hairstyle
Not the type to compromise? Not a problem. My non-negotiable is a touch of makeup, but that doesn’t mean I like to leave my hair a hot mess either. All you need to do is figure out a go-to hairstyle you can pull off in a flash. Is it faster for you to give your hair a quick wash and let it air dry into natural waves or curls? Embrace it! When time constraints make you skip the shampoo, is there a simple style you can practice and perfect like a topknot, French braid, or low ponytail? YouTube is a goldmine for easy hairstyle ideas! I love this and this for long styles, this or this for shorter cuts, or this and this for natural hair.
If finding time to do your hair is often a challenge, simply pick ONE hairstyle to master at a time. Yep, just like with your non-negotiables. Start small and add on as you have the time and energy to experiment with more looks.
3. Master a 5-Minute Makeup Routine
Similarly, if you’re a time-strapped makeup lover, it’s a great idea to nail down a speedy under-5-minute makeup routine. If a full face is out of the question most mornings, figure out your makeup essentials, just like in tip number one. For me, I never leave the house without a little under eye concealer, mascara, and eyebrow filler. Those are my 3 musts and make the biggest impact in my overall appearance. For you, it might be a bold lip, dewy foundation, or a touch of blush to brighten your cheeks.
If you need inspiration or a step-by-step tutorial to practice, head back over to YouTube or Pinterest and explore just a few of the thousands of quick makeup demonstrations at your fingertips. Of course, I suggest taking your cues from a makeup artist with a similar skin type and tone as your own for the most similar results.
4. Accessories Are Your Best Friend
Before we dive too deep down this rabbit hole, remember the importance of sticking with your signature style. Don’t blindly follow these suggestions. Put thought into which of these eye-catching accents might work well for you. That said, the right accessories have the power to kick your outfit up a notch in 5-seconds flat.
Having a bad hair day or not enough time to tame those fly aways? Slip on a simple (or extravagant) headband. Need to look polished in a flash for your next Zoom meeting? Pop on a statement necklace or eye-catching earrings. Keep several go-to accessories on hand, like colorful hair ties, pretty bobby pins, a seasonal hat, stylish shoes, etc. when you need to enhance your appearance in a pinch.
Handbags and shoes tend to make or break an outfit the most. So I generally recommend you allocate the largest portion of your shopping budget to these two areas. Adding a great shoe or purse can easily take your ensemble from effortless to enviable.
5. Consider What’s On the Calendar
Clearly, getting dressed calls for a general idea of what you have going on for the day. Use your agenda to help set your priorities. If you’ve made any appearances on Zoom in the past two years, you’ve already figured out it mostly matters how you look from the waist up. Put extra effort into a fresh face and flattering top when you’re only seeing people in Brady Bunch-style squares.
Beyond planning for each day as it comes, start making conscious choices to invest in clothes that fit your lifestyle as a whole. When you shop according to what you need, rather than what you want, you’ll find it ten times easier to get dressed in a snap. The reason most of us feel like we have a closet full of clothes with nothing to wear is because we shop on impulse rather than with intention. If you don’t have a ton of time to spare, having a thoughtfully curated closet is even more crucial for you.
6. Learn (or Remember) the Foundations
On that note, I have to harp on the importance of knowing the foundations of style:
- Dialing in your signature style
- Discovering your best colors
- Learning to flatter your figure
When your wardrobe is made up only of pieces you LOVE, that align with your style goals, are in flattering colors, and highlight your favorite physical features, you’ll be able to throw on any outfit effortlessly and feel absolutely incredible.
My goal as a personal style coach is to empower my clients to make more discerning choices about what they bring into their closets. Thoughtfully curating your clothing options does take some up front effort but will save you SO MUCH time, money, headaches, and self-doubt on the daily. The pay-off is literally priceless. Peruse some of my other posts for helpful insights on each of these foundations. You might want to start here and here.
7. Grooming Matters
Remember how I said this post wasn’t meant to give you a laundry list of to-dos? This tip might be the one exception. You do NOT need to go full on high-maintenance mode here. But I can’t stress the importance of keeping up with basic grooming IF you want to save time and still look polished in the day-to-day.
The key to good style is in the details. Think about it. How much more confident do you feel after a fresh haircut or an eyebrow wax? Whatever your grooming standards, make sure you maintain them regularly. Whether it’s booking a standing appointment with your favorite aesthetician to keep your skin glowing or breaking out the latest Olive & June collection for a DIY mani every Friday evening, find the routine that works for you, your lifestyle, and your budget.
At a minimum, I recommend keeping your nails neatly filed (and void of chipped polish), maintaining your roots or investing in a touch-up spray (if you dye your hair regularly), and adopting a healthy skincare routine. These simple touches really do go a long way to looking pulled together at a moment’s notice.
8. Plan Ahead
This one might seem obvious, but I can’t imagine I’m the only one to historically leave everything until the last minute. (Tell me I’m not alone!) You’ve probably heard it’s a great morning timesaver to pick out your clothes the night before… But have you ever actually done it? No judgment, friend. Planning ahead does require extra effort when you have the time to do it.
Maybe mornings feel impossible. After the kids get up, it’s an endless list of demands and distractions. You can’t seem to get yourself together while taking care of everyone else. But if you penciled in a few minutes before bed, you could quickly lay out your clothes for the next day, adopt a simple (and oh so relaxing!) skincare routine, take a hot shower (one less thing to do tomorrow!), or go to bed on-time so you can actually wake up with your alarm. Yes, that might mean binging one less show on Netflix or stopping your evening Instagram scroll earlier than usual. It’s so worth the swap.
I truly believe we make time for what matters to us. And if you want to put even an ounce more effort into how you show up each day, do what you need to plan ahead and set yourself up for success.
9. When It’s Time To Change, You’ve Got To Rearrange
I’m not sure how we found ourselves here… at the second Brady Bunch reference in this blog post. Sorry, Millennials – you might have to Google it. 😆 If you’re struggling to get dressed quickly, it might be time to do a closet shuffle. Organization is critical to time management and your wardrobe is no exception. Instead of fighting an ongoing battle, block out an afternoon or a small window of time each day for a week to audit and rearrange your clothing and accessories as needed. I created a free, downloadable Closet Audit Flowchart to help you tackle this very project with ease. ⤵
Keep your favorite pieces front and center for quick access to what you love. Sort items by occasion so you know exactly where to reach when you’re getting ready. Move anything you want to replace (aka eventually upgrade) to a separate section. The more you wear a an item from the replacement section, the higher it should move up on your list of shopping priorities. Your future self will thank you!
10. Confidence Is the Always the Answer
I should tack this point onto the end of every blog post I write: confidence is KEY. If you feel comfortable with who you are from the inside out, it doesn’t matter if you spend 2 hours or 2 minutes getting ready. Your self-assurance will shine through. So on the days when you simply Do. Not. Have. Time. to even think about the other 9 tips I’ve offered here, just roll with it. Flaunt your yoga pants at the preschool pick up line. Don’t sweat the small stuff. We have a sign in my house that says “Being happy never goes out of style” and it’s true. As cheesy as it may be, a smile is your best accessory by far.
If confidence is a major struggle for you, I wrote this helpful article on 10 Quick Confidence Boosting Hacks For Ambitious Women. You’ll have one confidence booster to go along with each of the timesaving tips inside this post!
I promise, it’s possible to look pulled together even when you’re strapped for time.
You’ve just read ten different techniques to improve your self-image while simultaneously reducing the amount of stress and headaches you face getting ready. Start with the one that sounds simplest and go about your day. You’ve got this, gorgeous!
Let’s continue the conversation in the comments! Let me know which of these tips you’ll try first. What other ways do you love to save time when getting ready for the day? Share your success stories with us below!