Monthly Archives: June 2017

The System

The System

It’s a hard thing to admit, that your life is this crazy.  That there are so many variables and responsibilities and balls in the air that your life, your family, your household requires a weekly business meeting.

Ugh.  I mean, really?

I’m not talking about a cute family meeting where we plan our upcoming vacation and talk about the socks a kid left on the floor.  Our kids are nowhere near this meeting.  Kai is very interested in what is going on, but his constant questions make an already long slog of a meeting even longer, so we invite/demand our children go downstairs and play computer while we meet.  I have been known to bribe with veggie chips.


We look through the calendar for the week, find all the holes, all the due dates, all the forms, all the meals, all the prep, all the babysitter needs.  Then we look at the next month to try to anticipate what’s coming up, to try to get ahead of things.

We look at our money – our bills due and money coming in and any issues that arise and where do we want to put this money next month – good times.

We look at the house maintenance – plan what needs doing, what materials we need, how much, when can it fit on the calendar.

We look at housekeeping – what’s not happening, what needs cleaning, where can we tweak our routines.

We look at the cars.

We look at the kids.

We look at the dog.

And at the end, we are exhausted, but there is a list of stuff to do and to look up, and the color-coded Google calendar has been updated, and we fall into the rest of  the weekend.

And after a few weeks of this, last night, I said, “Andrew, don’t let me forget to take Isaac to his field trip tomorrow.  Don’t let us just do our usual morning routine and forget.”  And he opened up the tablet mounted on the wall in our kitchen, and said, “you mean, this field trip?” Which was displayed on the Google Calendar.  Which we put on the calendar at our last meeting. The calendar which we discussed adding to the kitchen tablet so we could check it in the morning while making food.  Which he did.

“The system is working,” he said, and I feel into his arms for a hug.

“I’m so happy.” I said.  And I meant it.   Because, even if we weren’t ready to admit we were at weekly-business-meeting  vida loca – we have been at this level for a while.  And the only thing worse than being at weekly-business-meeting crazy is being at that level, but not having a weekly-business-meeting system in place.

We’re gonna get through this season of our life.  Team Hagan.

Automation for happiness: getting dressed

Automation for happiness: getting dressed

I’m a firm believer that the less decisions you make on the day to day small stuff, the more energy and focus you have for the big stuff.  There’s been a lot of buzz about this lately (see HERE and HERE and HERE).

One of the common suggestions to reduce decision-making in the morning is to have a uniform.  Basically, don’t decide fresh every morning what you’re going to wear.

I’d be on board, except, I have issues.  Namely, one time in middle school I wore a sweater.  And a girl came up to me and said “you wore that last Wednesday.  That’s, like, your Wednesday sweater.” and I was MORTIFIED.  Because, you know, middle school.  I have, ever since, taken great care not to wear the same thing on the same day of the week EVER.  Seriously, it’s in my head, even now, heading into my 40s.

I even track what the boys wear to be sure they don’t repeat this greatest of  social embarrassments. “Change your shirt, buddy, you wore that last Wednesday” has been known to come out of my mouth.

So – uniform.  No.

BUT, less decisions in the morning, especially regarding getting dressed – big thumbs up!

Here’s how I do it – weather and rotation.

If the high is in the…

  • 80s, I wear short/short (short bottom, like a skirt without tights or capris, and a short top like short-sleeved blouse or a tank top with a light cover up).
  • 70s – long/short (either long bottom – skirt with tights or slacks, or a long top – long-sleeved blouse – with a short counter-balance on the top or bottom.  Example, today is a high of the 70s, and I’m wearing capri pants with long-sleeved blouse.
  • 60s – long/long
  • 50s – long/long with a cardigan sweater
  • 40s and under – long/long with a sweater

Once I’ve determined what my formula is by checking the weather, I then turn to my closet.

My closet is laid out with dresses on the left, bottoms in the middle, tops on the right.  Bottoms are organized skirts then slacks.  Tops are organized tanks, then short-sleeved, then long-sleeved.  Sweaters are folded on a shelf above.

I grab from the left and load clothes in on the right.  After I wear something, it either goes in the laundry hamper to be washed, or is hung back in the closet on the right.  Clean clothes get put away on the right.

I first select a bottom, which rotates every three days: dress, skirt, slacks.  Today was a long/short day (70s) and I wore a skirt yesterday, so it was slacks today – a pair of capris were on the left.  Selected.

Next I select a top.  I had a short bottom, so I went to the long-sleeved tops and the first blouse did coordinate with the slacks, so it was chosen.  If it had clashed, I would have gone to the next in line.

If the item of clothing next in line is one I just don’t want to wear (it works, I just don’t dig it that day), I turn the hanger around.  If next time it comes up, I still don’t want to wear it, I put it in the Goodwill pile.

Me, on a short/long day last year. #automaticallycute

Me, on a short/long day last year. #automaticallycute

So, in the time it took me to check the weather on my phone, plus an extra 7 seconds, I had my outfit for today,  It looks cute, it’s actually a combo I’ve never worn before so it feels fresh, and I didn’t have to think about it.  Because i cull what I don’t dig, every item in my closet is something that fits and I feel happy to wear.  Because I pull from the left and load to the right, I’m always going to have something newish I haven’t worn in a while. Every outfit is fun, and I don’t have to make a decision.

I’m not saying everyone MUST do this.  Maybe a uniform works for you (shudder).  Maybe you enjoy pulling out lots of options and making those decisions – you want to spend your brain capital here.  Whatever, you do you.

But this works tremendously well for me!  One less decision in the morning equals more able to handle the stressful day ahead.