Is There an Art to Looking “Put Together”?

I am on a journey to become more put-together.

To call it a journey is underselling this mountain I’ve barely begun to scale. You can’t just up and decide, as I did, that you’re going to be a whole new you and then expect immediate results. You can change habits through dedication and relentless practice, yes; I made myself a morning person thrice-over this way. But you can’t erupt into an advanced state of being at whim. Life would be far too easy if A BETTER YOUTM were a paper banner to run through, with a marching band that followed, drums pa-rum-ing, trumpets all up in the air to announce your system update.

I know all of this and yet, I needed something to change — fast. I am habitually late, consistently rushing, eternally overwhelmed and generally stressed. I spill things all the time. I forget birthdays, words and the names of my own friends. One time, a pal of mine ran into a pal of his, who was my industry acquaintance. They realized they both knew me through separate avenues. My friend reported back, in his thick Southern accent (imagine that in your head as you read this): “So-and-So says she just loves you, but that you are just insane over email!” And I couldn’t even be offended because I am. I have often, frequently, literally lost my mind. I lose my things (iPhone, credit cards, keys) a lot too.

For a while, I charmed myself into thinking it was part of my creative persona, that such drama fueled me. I thought it added personality to my writing, to my dinner conversations, to my clothes. But as my life has gotten increasingly busier and my adult and professional responsibilities increase, this hot mess routine of mine has become intolerable. Hence, the journey.

Because this likely will be the multi-part exploration that I feared, I began step one close to home. I asked three friends — women who I specifically admire for being so remarkably put together — for their advice and words of wisdom.

Jasmin Aujla

Jasmin Aujla is Man Repeller’s Senior Partnerships Strategist and one of the most composed human beings I have ever met. Here is the difference between Jasmin (who has cracked the code on casual-but-professional-but-cool dressing) and me: Jasmin and I had an off-site meeting together a few weeks ago. She arrived 15 minutes early, buying her enough time to grab coffee and wait in the lobby. I arrived with a mere three minutes to spare (I was terrified to be late to this one) and lost my glove in the process.

The most important takeaways from our conversation:

– She does not feel put together. In fact, she was shocked I thought of her for this story.

– She makes her bed every morning and washes her hair on Sundays because she likes to start the week “fresh.”   

– If she wakes up early on the weekend after a night of drinking, she does what she calls a “second-sleep”: she washes her face, brushes her teeth, moisturizes, changes her pajamas, fluffs the pillows, straightens out the bed sheets and gets back into bed to reset and wake up again, after an hour or so, far more refreshed.  

– She allows herself time to fully digest before replying to emails. This helps her craft thorough responses that result in far less back-and-forth for eternity.

Best piece of advice:

“Overestimate how long it will take you to arrive somewhere and leave earlier.”

Tiffany Reid

Tiffany Reid is the Senior Fashion Editor at Cosmopolitan and is as poised and polished as they come. I am that creepy friend who, every time I see her, asks, “Why do you always look so perfect?” But it goes beyond looking perfect. She exudes calm and a sense of confidence, of, “I’ve got this.”

The most important takeaways from our conversation:

– She not only feels messy sometimes, she looks back on old photos of herself where she felt “together” in the moment and realizes she was, in fact, not.

– She keeps a makeup bag and hairbrush at the office so that, if she doesn’t have time before she leaves for work, she can do it once she arrives (or later before an event). And by ensuring this bag stays at the office, it’s one less thing to shlep.

– She feels her best when she takes her time with things. She used to be frequently late, like me, until one day, a friend confronted her about it: “She told me that when I’m late, she feels as though I don’t respect her time, which hurts her feelings.” Thinking about time in the context of other people’s feelings changed her tardy habits almost immediately.

– She practices yoga regularly, meditates daily and notices a negative difference on days she skips.

Best piece of advice:

“Say no to things. And say yes to alone time. The more people you’re around, the more energy you absorb, so if you’re feeling all over the place, all that extra energy can throw you off balance.”

MaryKate Boylan

MaryKate Boylan is the Fashion Market Editor at Town and Country and the kind of person who everyone on the subway probably assumes is a ballet dancer. Her posture is excellent, she never has an eyebrow out of place, and her poker face under stress should be studied by scientists.

The most important takeaways from our conversation:

– She’s a self-described routine-oriented person who wakes up at the same time every day, even on vacation. Organization isn’t a learned skill for her but rather her inherent way of existing. And when it comes to getting dressed, she’s simply more comfortable — physically, mentally — in a thought-out outfit than she is in sweatpants. (All of which made me feel better because, given the whole “that’s life” mentality, I have to accept that for some people, being put together comes far more naturally. Not good or bad, just is.)

– She writes down absolutely everything, no matter how small a task, that she has to do, and she keeps her daily lists in a notebook that she references and updates throughout the day.

– She stays calm because she has learned over time that acting stressed has yet to help aid her in finding a problem’s solution.

Best piece of advice:

“Set deadlines for yourself: ‘By 3 p.m. I have to finish this story, by 5 p.m. I have to have completed [XYZ].’ Small windows to get things done help me more productive.”

I’m trying all of the above the moment I hit publish. Wish me luck, and please, either commiserate and/or share your tips for being a more put-together human being down below.

Get more Brain Massage ?
  • Adrianna

    Looking Put Together is something I’ve thought a lot about, because I’ll feel sloppy in an outfit that looks chic on another woman. Am I the only one who feels ridiculous in joggers?

    In terms of clothing, fit and proportion are probably the most important factors. I feel the most ‘put together’ when my top has some structure in the form of a collar or buttons. I can wear a t-shirt and sneakers to work, but I store a fancy cashmere sweater and shoes at my desk.

    The common thread in all these little interviews is routine – certain rituals make us believe we are put together. I don’t wear make up and barely remember to apply lotion, so the bar is set really low in order for me to feel like I don’t have my shit together.

    • Amelia Diamond

      you’re so right that it’s about the little rituals. and yes i’m the same way – i feel sloppy in things that so many other women look “done” in!!

  • Such a great read + even better advice!


  • If your wish to be more put together is an overarching roof, then you simply need to stove miriads of meaningful routines beneath. You need to find and define them by yourself and you should be serious about them and just do them. Because our brain has the need for high efficiency, it lets us do this stuff without paying attention after some time. It is of course important to pay attention while introducing and learning a new routine, but after some time you are good to go and can use your brain for other things.
    I haven’t become a routine monster despite my firm belief life should be organized around these efficiency nuggets: on the contrary, whenever I am done being organized I feel I deserve to let go. So I do. And then start all over again. I also forget things but take it easy on that because on the whole, I function well enough and that is enough.

    • Amelia Diamond

      this is very wise advise alcessa!!!!!

      • Thank you. It actually works 🙂 as it must – this stuff can be sometimes boring as hell 😉

    • Monica

      The book “The Power of Habit” is one of my favorite books and talks about how our brains use less energy when performing actions out of habit- it’s really fascinating!
      For example, when you learn to drive, your brain is working on overdrive to be aware of each tiny thing. But once it’s a habit, your brain has more capacity, so that, while you’re pulling out of the driveway & checking your mirrors & buckling your seatbelt out of habit, you brain can also remember that you left something inside!

  • Vic

    I definitely stick to a version of Tiffany’s ideas. I write lists for everything, tasks at work, shopping lists, things to get done at the weekend and that instantly makes me feel more put together. Over the last year, I’ve really prioritised saying no to going out when I think it will drain me and the FOMO bothers me less and less each time I turn something down

    • Amelia Diamond

      I don’t think I say no because of fomo, but of feeling bad for not showing up?? F.O.N.S.U? less catchy.

      • Vic

        Yes! Fear of looking like I don’t care enough to show my face is just as bad but I tell myself to always turn up to the important things, the weddings, the leaving parties, the meet ups with friends having a bad day. Then I don’t feel so bad for missing the in-between invites if I need to. (This makes me sound like I have a million friends and a wild social life and I really don’t)

  • Pancake

    Great advice. I definitely agree with marinating on emails and then re reading my responses before sending. Things I carry at all times in an attempt at being “put together” : brush, gum, floss, oil blotting papers, lipstick, chapstick, bobby pin, safety pins, tissues, tampon.

    • Pancake

      Also saying no to things is for me the hardest/best type of self care.

      • Amelia Diamond


    • Amelia Diamond

      Since you are someone who thinks about floss, I am adding you to my list of people who are Put Together. (I used to floss and then I STOPPED – SOS)

      • Pancake

        make it part of your routine girl! So important. Put a sign up in your bathroom or something.

    • Amanda Faerber

      The only reason I floss regularly (weekdays, not weekends) is because I keep it at my desk and use it after lunch. It’s an easy, good thing to do that doesn’t take very long. Also, it’s not really floss floss but those pick things which are way easier to use and you don’t have to jam your fingers in your mouth to use them effectively.

  • Cynthia Schoonover

    Terrific advice! I arrive early to everything, because I am more relaxed when I am not rushing. I’d rather wait for my appointment or someone than have someone waiting for me. I plan my outfits the night before, so I’m not wasting time in the morning figuring out what to wear. I’ve learned to say no.

    • Amelia Diamond

      teach me your ways

      • Cynthia Schoonover

        As I’m not relying on public transportation, I leave home allowing myself plenty of time in case I encounter roadwork, a wreck, or just slow traffic. If it’s raining or foggy, I also give myself extra time. I get up early enough in the morning so I don’t have to rush to get ready. I’m able to pack my lunch, enjoy breakfast, and read part of the newspaper. I check the weather the night before and check the outfit I want to wear to make sure it’s clean or if I need to iron any part of it, I can. I usually have a back-up outfit in mind in case there is a drastic weather change overnight which has happened before. If I start the day rushing, I feel like I’m rushing all day. By arriving at school early, I can get my act together before my students arrive. I’ve been like this all my life.

        • Ann P

          I do almost exactly all the same things, plus some of the others above such as having lists. BUT I have not been like that all my life. I had to learn to be this way. You can do it Amelia! 🙂

          Learning to arrive early (and thereby not feel rushed and out of control all day) was truly life changing. That and getting the next day’s clothes ready the night before are I think the two most calming habits I now have.

          Oh, and learning to stay visibly calm – in my case by literal physical cues such as consciously relaxing my face and smiling a very small serene smile – when everyone else around you is losing their shit just makes you feel better. It also can calm down the team of people you’re working with / leading pretty quickly too.

    • Jessica

      Ooooh me too! I love arriving early, I do it for everything except going to someone’s house (they might not be ready for you so that’s unfair on them). But dates, dinner, drinks with friends, meetings, appointments. I love having that time to sit, get myself settled, gather my thoughts, adjust my outfit after the journey if need be. I always feel so much more relaxed and prepared that way.

      • Kiks

        Exactly. I’m not put-together at all but I am never late because the thought makes me so anxious. I always leave time to fix my hair, scope the place out, take several deep breaths.

      • Jessica S

        Yes yes yes! My friends always think I’m weird showing up to bars and things super early with no one to talk to yet…but I definitely need time to survey the scene, adjust my outfit/hair/makeup, sit down and relax for a second (and have a drink on my own lol). I hate walking straight into any sort of meeting and immediately having to do…whatever it is we came there to do. I’ll be stressed out the rest of the day!

        • Jessica

          Totally with you on the solo drink too! I always carry my kindle with me, so I’m never sitting around bored no matter how early I show up. I have my relaxation/sit down time and get to catch up on my reading too.

  • Sarah Fordham

    I’m so into the idea of a “second sleep” !! Haha! I have no problem being early, and like Tiffany mentioned, I see lateness as rather selfish. I wonder if you’ve read the book Hell Week? You should look it up! It’s basically about having a strict army-like routine in order to get more done and feel good about yourself (I lasted half a day).

    • Amelia Diamond

      I love second sleep too. What is Hell Week???

    • I love it, too, and have inadvertently been doing it for years after late nights/ falling asleep on the couch with makeup on… My boyfriend takes it to another level though and will even go to the gym in between! It sounds extreme but that second sleep is always dynamite.

    • Julia

      Lateness is so selfish! It’s annoying because here I am in my 4th year of college and I’ve finally learned to NOT be on time because everyone else is never on time and it wastes my time when I’m on time. It drives me nuts.

  • “If she wakes up early on the weekend after a night of drinking, she does what she calls a “second-sleep”: she washes her face, brushes her teeth, moisturizes, changes her pajamas, fluffs the pillows, straightens out the bed sheets and gets back into bed to reset and wake up again, after an hour or so, far more refreshed.” This sounds like wonderful damage control! Love it. Gorgeous women!

    • Amelia Diamond

      i love this idea too

    • Jasmin

      It works an absolute charm!

  • Jo

    I hear you, the struggle to bring order into a creative, whimsical life is a challenge. For me, as I am slowly learning this at 29, it also has to do with stepping into that very in-control person. It’s a transition away from my student/post-grad school mentality into being an actual adult. The latter comes with an added gravitas, taking yourself seriously. I wasn’t ready to accept and embrace until recently, when my own “whimsy” just turned into a liability – too much to bear and – frankly – exhausting.

    For a while, becoming that put to-together person was intimidating. I hadn’t been quite ready to acknowledge and accept my own power and not play small by self-sabotaging. Now I am 🙂 The transition hasn’t always been easy but the outcome has been wonderful (so far, at least).

    I also wonder whether this process is a more common late-twenties (saturn return, yeahaay ;)) theme, even though clearly not everyone’s the same and it depends on personality, too.

    • Rosemary

      WOW. Thank you so much for this, as a college student feeling the pressure and intimidation of transitioning into “being an actual adult”, this was exactly what I needed to hear.

    • Mackenzie

      “I hadn’t been quite ready to acknowledge and accept my own power and not play small by self-sabotaging. Now I am”



    Bookmarking all of this because I’m graduating this spring and trying to become a Real Adult Woman.

  • Off topic– I love Jasmin’s brother’s instagram (doctors_kitchen). They seem like very well adjusted, organized and motivated people in that family! Her “second sleep idea” is genius.

    • Amelia Diamond

      Rupi aka Doctors_Kitchen is ALWAYS ON TOPIC FOR ME. Also I think you meant Jasmin’s *HANDSOME brother.

      As for this: I wonder if she has any advice on the chronic “REPLY AS FAST AS POSSIBLE” types that make it difficult to do? –> this would be an interesting career coach q. I wanna look into!!

      • Hannah Laub

        Other people on man repeller follow Doctors Kitchen. Today is already a great day.

      • Lizzie

        The Doctor’s Kitchen is Jasmine’s brother?? What a brilliantly beautiful family! I also do the second sleep concept but it usually lasts until it’s an acceptable time to order pizza.

        • Amelia Diamond


          • Jasmin

            Just want you all to know that I screenshot this thread and sent it to my family group chat <3

  • Leslie Hitchcock

    I think what you uncovered (which it took me years of therapy to get) is being ‘put together’ has very little to do with what one looks like. It is more of how one feels on the inside about oneself.

    My therapist says (yes I’m the person who says ‘my therapist says’) that feeling messy is judging my insides (the internal thoughts) by other people’s outsides (what they project). Since most of the women you spoke to feel messier inside than their outsides look to you, this is an excellent example.

    It wasn’t until I started slowing down, pausing before action, practicing restraint of pen and tongue, saying ‘let’s consider this’ and talking thru solutions before making a decision, and building a strong yoga and meditation practice, I *always* felt messier than others. And I’m sure I looked like I had it together on the outside, because I was impeccable at presenting that no matter what.

    Now when I feel messy or not put together, it is a signal to look inside at whatever I’m feeling anxious about, or what my brain is spinning on, or what I’m not talking about that needs surfacing. And then after that I feel right as rain. Thanks for the thought provoking post!

    • Amelia Diamond

      I start everything with “my therapist says,” and this is REAL “feeling messy is judging my insides (the internal thoughts) by other people’s outsides (what they project)”

      I really like your whole comment. Far longer than I’ve been saying “my therapist says,” I’ve been saying, “i need to start meditating more and get back into yoga.” but your comment combined with tiffany’s advice has really lit a fire under my ass

      • Kiks

        I just started seeing a therapist (like, so many years overdue) and it is the best.
        I also want to start doing yoga again. Please write an article about people who desperately need to do yoga but the thought of going to a class makes them feel like throwing up.

        • clarethetable

          (waves at her toes from a distance)

        • On days when it’s difficult for me to fit in a yoga practice (which is quite often these days), I commit to 10 minutes. It’s attainable, you feel a difference in your body, and connect to yourself. If you go over the 10 minutes it’s an added bonus. Legs-up-the-wall pose and reclined butterfly pose are relaxing poses that you can do when you don’t feel like doing much else.

          • Kiks

            That’s a good point. I had been trying to at least do a few sun salutations every morning but I’ve fallen off that. I forgot about reclining butterfly! Good call.

        • Amelia Diamond

          i like this idea

        • Hannah Venerella

          Doing yoga at home is honestly the best. You should check out Yoga with Adriene on YouTube. She is a godsend for people who do not like going to classes.

          • Kiks

            Oooh! I will check her out. Thank you!

          • Catherine Bohner

            I also like/recommend Fightmaster.

    • Erin Lares

      A thousand times yes.

    • Names

      Wow. I feel like I just got free therapy by reading this comment. So true and so hard to remember.

    • Natty

      This touches on something I discuss frequently with MY therapist (lol). When I feel emotionally messy because things are going awry in my life, I work extra hard to create the physical appearance of orderliness, i.e., frantically organizing my home, trying extra hard to look REALLY good, and checking tasks off the to-do list. This does provide momentary relief, but in the end its usually just a way to procrastinate dealing with the underlying problem

      • Diana

        Compensating rather than solving, right? I have tendencies to do that as well.

      • Leslie Hitchcock

        Totally hear you! Going thru some transitions currently and let me tell you how ~spotless~ my bedroom is. I’m a work in progress! ¯_(ツ)_/¯

    • Lucy Negash

      This REALLY hit the nail on the head – thank you so much for posting this!! I’m incredibly guilty in this arena, especially in feeling anxiety when it comes to not looking/acting/feeling “perfect.” This can be from being conditioned from a young age to embody perfection in school, life etc. because it was the expectation, so it’s kind of spilled over into my adult life. Leslie (and others), once you identify what internal anxieties are driving you to feel that way, how do you then “right” them? You mentioned that you look inwards to find those things, but what do you do once you’ve found them? Do you talk yourself down? Cry? Write them down in a journal? Call your friend/therapist? I can seem to identify mine quite easily, it’s the letting go part that is a challenge.

      • Leslie Hitchcock

        Great questions. Again, I got here after a lot of work on me, but most of the effort is in staying present; keeping my head where my feet are, so to speak. In simplistic terms, anxiety (and the internal messiness I feel as a result) is looking in the future. This is why yoga and meditation help me so much — they force me to be incredibly present. To get there, I use all of the tools you indicated. Crying, journaling, getting it out to a sympathetic ear are all super useful.

  • Cat

    As someone diagnosed with ADHD in the second grade, I think the world’s obsession with put together people can be really oppressive. If I compared my morning stress levels to everyone else’s, it would jack my morning stress levels even higher. I’ve found deciding where it’s okay to be a nutcase and wheres it’s not is much more helpful than just being full of self loathing until the blessed day I “get my act together.” I force myself to be on time to conference calls, meetings with acquaintances, and professional meetings. I’m tardy to work daily and to dinners with old friends. I keep super long to do lists of work tasks but let my laundry go unfolded for a week. Coping mechanisms (coffee, chewing gum, dubstep in my headphones) help me compose emails thoughtfully. But so does realizing when it’s a day that my mind is moving too fast and I need to take an early lunch break before I reply to a new email.
    TLDR: Self compassion is really really crucial for those who aren’t naturally “put together” in a world that worships girl bosses and loathes anyone even a little “ditzy.”

    • My clean laundry is strewn about in various piles throughout the house on a regular basis. Laundry is so many exhausting steps. I feel you.

    • Modupe Oloruntoba

      Brilliant take.

  • Hannah Laub

    I feel my most put together when I actually accomplish my morning routine. Wake up early, make breakfast and coffee, enjoy eating (without rushing) while I read, shower, actually put on some makeup, wear an outfit I like, and pack my lunch. It’s a super productive morning, but I think it works mostly because it carves out quiet time before the day begins. Then I enter the day with my brain feeling organized and relaxed, as opposed to feeling like I’m running a marathon that never ends. Disclaimer: I accomplish this maybe once every two weeks.

    • Amelia Diamond

      once every two weeks is impressive

  • Megan Dollar

    To me, appearing put together signifies that you have achieved the ultimate cool-girl-who-does-everything-without-breaking-a-sweat-and-also-gives-zero-shits facade, but I think recent discourse has established that that state just doesn’t exist. Twenty four hours is not enough time to write four think pieces, meditate for two hours, make a home-cooked organic, vegan dish for every meal, do yoga for two hours, go on a three mile run, keep up with the news, enjoy a good book, prepare for the next day and get 8 hours of sleep a night. Put together is a myth. I think it’s just another way that we hold ourselves up together and try to compete in this world of never sleep never eat, always be on your A game and always fight to be on top.

    • Amelia

      THIS. This. I feel like the whole “wellness” trend has projected this as well… the idea that we need to meditate every day, do yoga, cook every meal for ourselves, be completely self confident, also have a lot of friends, and also be the cool girl who can eat a massive burger and have six beers with the guys.

      Also I have realized in recent months (thank u to my therapist) that I have no chill and I am ok with that. I give so many shits about so many things and that’s okay!

      • Kseniia Korotaieva

        I feel that I have allowed this ‘cool girl’ you are talking about to mess up my entire 20s

  • Amanda Faerber

    Re: saying no: I turned 40 last December and for me it was really true that something clicked when that “milestone” birthday hit. Saying no was almost instantly 100% easier. No, I’m 40, I’m not going to do some shit I don’t have time for/don’t want to do/is a waste of my precious time on this earth. For me, the fear of saying no is really the fear of judgment from the other person and/or need to please and to be honest, I just care so much less about those things now. It is liberating.

    • Amelia Diamond

      i cannot wait for this moment of caring less

      • I’m 36 now, and it definitely has happened for me more in the last few years. I feel I’ve gotten to know myself much better. However, I find when I am having FOMO about a party that I can’t attend because I have to work, don’t have the money, am sick, etc., I feel much better when I turn off my social media while the party is happening. I automatically turn inward more and think less about the outside world. I feel more focused, productive, and creative. Then sometimes I think, “Yeah, I’m missing that party here, and I’m missing a cool party in Ibiza right now, and New York, and everywhere else.” So it kind of puts it in perspective.

      • Oh, it’s glorious. I hit inklings of it when I turned 30, but it got even better after 35. I just turned 38 and feel more at peace with myself and how to use my time. Quitting social media was also a huuuuuuuuuuge help. But I felt your story so very hard.

        • Hannah Betts

          Wait ’til your forties: one cares about nothing – in a good way.

      • Modupe Oloruntoba

        I’m actually trying to reverse engineer the whole 40th birthday awakening thing to see if I can bring it on earlier and reap the benefits for longer.

  • Ally

    Good luck!! I wouldn’t consider myself the most put-together human, but I do think I’m pretty organized. For me, doing little things here and there really help to calm me down and make me feel like I’m more on top of things. By that I mean I do things like make my bed every morning, always always make sure my desk is organized and cleaned off, write everything down in a planner, clean out the bag that I take to work nightly. They’re all small tasks, but in the long run they really help keep everything in its place and it kind of relaxes me! All of the tips in this piece are awesome though, and I can’t wait to start implementing them. Especially the one about overestimating how long it’ll take to get somewhere and leaving earlier!

  • Maria Fernandez-Davila

    I also “second sleep” (I just didn’t have this great name for it!) AND make my bed every morning! Truly helps start every morning on the right foot with just an overall ~organized energy that I carry into my workday!

  • gracesface

    I am starting to think I am more put together than I assume I am because lately I have been ACTIVELY avoiding all the normal things I do: to-do lists, meal prepping, making phone calls. Which isn’t good! But I’m also post vacation right now so I’m just chilling. I really liked hearing from these women and their tips. I also have a small notebook where I write almost everything – lists, phone numbers, my thoughts (though it doesn’t replace my real journal), and that really helps. Also being married to a naturally not-organized, flies by the seat of his pants, just keeps random boxes of papers person has given me some perspective!

  • Alexia Cornett

    This couldn’t have been more timely! I’m approaching 29 and have been feeling as though I’m a pile of puzzle pieces, without a direction on how to begin to be ‘put together’. I certainly have found some rituals, especially at work, that have helped tremendously with staying on task and ahead of deadlines. I now just need to implement those same strategies to my personal life…which is easier said than done. I can’t wait to take to heart the tips given by everyone below in the comments and above in the article.

    I’ve largely felt like a bad friend and want to change that, especially given that some of my closet friends are scattered all around the country. I guess I should finally accept that I AM a real adult 🙂

    Here’s to figuring it out!

    • Amelia Diamond

      “I certainly have found some rituals, especially at work, that have helped tremendously with staying on task and ahead of deadlines. ” like what!

      • Alexia Cornett

        Very similar to MaryKate – I write everything down! I have two notebooks with one for jumbled meeting notes and one only for carefully written tasks. I use a highlighter/marker to cross out each task once finished. I’ve also found that I do not function well when trying to do a million things at once, so I’m segmenting out my days at work into blocks where I will completely ignore email for a couple hours so I can only focus on the project I’m working on. We have an open office and if something super urgent comes up, coworkers know where I sit and have my extension. It’s really helped make me feel more in control. Now, when I leave every day and enter back into my personal life it’s a totally different and hot-mess-express story haha.

  • Jessica S

    All about a “Second Sleep”! People always say to eat something heavy/greasy to cure a hangover but 9/10 if I eat anything I’m gonna barf up a lung within 5 minutes. My remedies include everything mentioned above…plus a hot shower, some Advil, and a huge glass of water next to my bed. Back to sleep for 2-3 hours and wake up like nothings happened 🙂

  • Julia

    I love second-sleep-ing! I’m convinced it’s the only real hangover cure.

    I think coming into my late 20s has brought realization that being/feeling “put-together” definitely relates directly to the status of my mental health. Things like responsible personal finance habits and keeping a clean, comfortable, and joy-sparking home are actually hugely important to me. And when those things are aligned, I’m just much more content with myself and I’m sure that is projected outwards!

  • coffeebee

    Something that works for me is eliminating choice on certain tasks. Like how some people eat the same thing for breakfast every day, or wear a uniform like outfit. It’s weird how it plays a trick on your mind, when you just decide that there’s no choice – this is just something you do, period. I apply this to making the bed, flossing teeth, straightening up the apartment before bed, not checking IG…all small things that help me feel put together and calmer. I would love to apply the same technique so I can get my ass out of bed in the morning and work out, but I’m not there yet.

  • Vana

    Great read. While I don’t believe we’ll always be put together all the time I do believe little steps like writing things down and setting deadlines like MaryKate suggested does help a lot. As an ENFP(personality type) and a Mom of 2 often my brain feels scattered but working out, writing things down and deadlines are repetitive habits that keep me sane.

  • LeeAnne Shaffer Osborn

    Amelia, I also suspect there’s really something to the recurring theme of regular yoga + meditation, and after several years of an unhealthily hectic schedule (which over time compounded my similarly natural tendency to rush / be late / feel generally harried) I’m currently trying to get back on that boat myself. I finally managed to fit in a twenty-minute meditation in a park during yesterday’s unseasonably balmy weather, and by the end of that twenty minutes, felt more capable and on top of my schedule than I had in weeks. I’m going to squeeze another one in right after I write this, in a quiet office that everyone else has left, because otherwise it won’t happen today and I’m determined to have a two-day streak. (Also, working late means that I’m not fitting in the yoga session I’d ambitiously scheduled tonight.) We can do this!

    • Amelia Diamond

      okay okay WE CAN DO THIS

  • Kelsey

    If there’s one thing I want in this world, it’s a full tutorial from Jasmine on how she cracked the code on casual-but-professional-but-cool dressing!!!

    • Amelia Diamond

      same, honestly. i shall ask.

  • Maggie Coats

    @oliviapalermo and @jennywalton. How do they do it?

  • SL

    Hey ehm Amelia, you sound like you might have ad(h)d… These are all things I struggle with day to day. It might be interesting to look into it. Like in theory I know how to have my act together and so do you, however, executing it is a different story. Things that work for most people and could work for you as well, in theory, are hard to implement. I mean a light form of adhd is not so bad, just knowing it has helped me understand myself a lot better and also it helped me find tools that do work for me, instead of beating myself up because I still forget things all the time/feel overwhelmed all the time, I have learned ways to cope better. Also I realized recently that a reason I am often late is because I do not like waiting/feeling bored. I rather am right on time (or a little late) than wait. Butttt I am trying to change my mindset and for example use the time I am early to respond to e-mails. Lots of these tips above I am going to remember!

    ( might be interesting)

    • Amelia Diamond

      I have honestly, often, thought that I might. I’m going to read this!

  • Emily M

    I’m glad to hear that there is someone out there (Jasmin) who is not only on time places, but early enough to grab coffee. That is me to a T and I wish more people would just get themselves moving 5 minutes earlier!!!!!

  • M Rae

    but..but..3 minutes early is on time!!

  • Julia

    But…. what I am really wondering is how do we stop losing our debit cards and keys and notebooks, Amelia? I started taking notes at work recently…and then took my nephew to a birthday lunch at Red Robin. YES, RED ROBIN IS AMAZE, shout out to all you West Coast secret dirty bird lovers, def not embarrassed of my lunching choices with an 8 year old…. actually who am I kidding I would eat there by myself.

    ANYWAY there I go on a messy tangent. Back to my notebook I recently acquired that made me feel so grownup (yes, I’m 34). I left it at Red Robin after lunching. Later that week I lost my debit card, and had to renew my passport in a rush, because I realized that mine was outdated and I would not be able to go to my upcoming Ireland trip.

    Conclusion? I try over and over again, I know I have an issue with losing stuff BUT I DON’T KNOW HOW TO CHANGE. Also how does one wake up early??? I suppose that is a whole other tangent….But I am at peace with it (or am I?), at least I know its a problem? Writing this excerpt made me feel messy. Time to go do ten deep breaths at my desk. Byeeeee

  • kay

    i was constantly late to everything for YEARS and one of my friends said the best word to describe me was “flustered”… the direct quote was something like “you seem flustered. yeah, that’s the right word for you. flustered.” such a good memory that i dont mind re-living at all :-/
    finally i realized that when i was late it forced people into a position of having to forgive me all the time, like i was forcing them into a position of being annoyed and then having to say “no it’s ok”, at the beginning of anything anyone did with me. it’s like i was creating a situation where they had to put their feelings last in order to hang out with me, which was so opposite of the person i was trying to be. once i realized that i prioritized things differently and found ways to be on time. it’s not like im never late now, but i would say im in fluster recovery.

  • ruderuthless

    Love this article + want more like this please!
    I’m constantly trying to tweek myself for the better. This month I’m dedicated to doing YOGA but I’m not doing as much as planned, where as last month I meditated everyday and now do TM. The point is I’m happy I’m keeping at it. Sometimes I’m better than one day than the next, but like said it takes PRACTICE. I started to listen to Jim Kwik’s podcasts Kwik Brain. I recommend it to anyone looking for brief but incredible life hacks – or as he calls them”brain hacks”. I’ve now started a morning routine because of him. Overall I’m grateful. Thanks for this!!! xoxo

  • Kattigans

    I loved this article and all the nuggets of advice + the comments section is on point! I know I’m losing my shit when I’ve stopped with a routine. I am a creature of habit and also can be incredibly lazy. I’m 25 and its dawned on me in the last 9 months that a lot of this stuff – the being on time, the saying no, the prioritization, the preparedness – its the ADULT stuff. Its boring stuff but it can make life so much more enjoyable. Its the house keeping maintenance that keeps balance and order for ourselves. I so agree with Leslie, and learned this from therapy too, that pausing, breathing and digesting really helps me as well.

    One thing that also really helps me to feel orderly, and have to agree with Jasmin, is I make my bed almost every day. I’ve been doing this since I was a kid so its just who I am but it really does make a world of a difference to my mental state. When I come home from a long day, pull back the covers to my made bed and climb in, it feels so warm, clean and cozy. It also tidies up the room even if the rest of its a mess or cluttered with random stuff. That’s just me. Being “put together” is a myth, but I would really like to be someone who can hold it together more in times of stress. I’m getting better but its an area of growth for sure.

    • Kattigans

      Oh also, I live and die by being on time. I really agree that it shows respect and allows you to pull yourself together if you are left waiting for someone else. I really hate lateness and flakiness. I just feel like as an adult, you gotta respect other people because relationships are extremely important. I value my network and the energy its taken to cultivate one.

  • Rosie

    I love all of these ideas, and I have a few of my own too. I wouldn’t say I always look put together but I’m getting there. I think it really depends on how busy you are though because even the most composed person cannot deal with an over-full schedule. Also definitely trying leaving my make up at the office!

    Losing stuff – my mum told me once, you just have to “Look before you Leave” (patented mum technology) so whenever you have been sitting or standing somewhere, you gather your things, turn to leave, and then look back at where you were from slightly further away. This has saved me from countless phone / wallet / scarf losses, especially on public transport where you can’t go back! But you have to get in the habit of it, and do it every time.

    Writing down everything – if your a digital person, you might like Trello, it’s an online organisation tool (and free) and you can make boards for different projects, and then create lists on the boards. I find it really useful because I’m really forgetful.

    I think looking visually put together is the same a cooking a delicious meal, you need to taste it and adjust at several points! Getting dressed in front of a full length mirror, which I learned from THIS website, has really helped me to look more put together – even up to putting my coat on and mirror checking, because sometimes the coat can throw everything off.

  • Lilli

    Love this piece Amelia! I am always on a mission to be more ‘put together’ as well.
    I have a few small habits that make a big difference to my week – always pack my breakfast and lunch the night before, check the weather and plan the next day’s outfit (and iron etc if necessary), and first thing I do every day when I get up is make my bed. It’s the little things that make me feel more in control, and more ‘ready’ for the day!

  • Mary Gray

    Just here to say, Amelia, that I’m also grappling with my own Hot Mess History (which I always found a way of excusing for the exact same “it’s part of my charm/creative persona/gives me good stuff to write about” reasons as you). Changes do not come overnight and I am sure most of my tendencies will remain innate buuutttt I’ve been making my bed every morning (ok, so it’s not always completely made up underneath but the duvet and pillows are at least kept in order)…this tiny thing has dramatically reduced my overall feelings of lunacy (baby steps…!!!)

  • Belinda

    MaryKate is my spirit animal. Great piece!

  • Elliott

    Big to-do lists can be super overwhelming so to be more efficient and productive I’ll prioritize them with this method: Everything that can be done in five minutes or less gets done first. Boom! That’s probably most of your to-do list already done. I then separate everything else into four categories: things that are both Urgent and Important, things that are Urgent but not that important, things that are Important but not urgent (maybe they have no hard deadline attached), and things that are neither urgent nor important but are still on my to-do list for one reason or another. You should first do the things that are both Urgent and Important, followed by things that are Urgent (have a deadline associated with them), and then just Important (but have no hard deadline). If you have time after that you can do the non-urgent, non-important things, hahahaha.

  • Alexandra Martins

    The best thing I to read on a Sunday! Perfect for starting a better organized life ☺️

  • Caroline Christianson

    One of the most important things to keeping my sanity is always having the products I need/use most, so there’s no such thing as an urgent errand and instead you can plan them for whenever you have the time/is convenient for you. I buy toilet paper and paper towels in bulk, and keep a back-up of every product (makeup, face wash, razors) I know I will just buy again. That way, you can pop into a Walgreens or Sephora on your own time and replace your back-up instead of having to rush around for something you need when you don’t have the time/energy. Write these things down in your schedule when you know you’ll be near the store. Also, open and answer every email the day you get it / if for some reason you don’t, you have to make a to-do to answer it when you think you’ll be able to. TLDR: write everything down in some form / best when measurable and within a schedule!!!!

    • Caroline Christianson

      Also, I LOVED Haley’s take on wellness as a long game. We can’t do it all every day–same is true for cleaning, organizing, working, etc.– small chunks add up / are impactful when you put together all the little things you do every day to keep your head on straight

  • Hannah Betts

    Although, arguably, that’s what my day is.

  • Dafne Pimentel

    To me, being put togerher is learning to listen to my inner voice. The world is always demanding a thousand things from me, and trying to please everyone made me feel out of control. So now I ignore the noise from the outside and focus on me and carrying on with my decisions. And doing that made it easyer for me to figure out my natural pace, my main necessiteis and my limitations. So being put together is a reflex of self knowlege for me.

  • Sarah

    Great article for the girl who is about to graduate undergrad & is typically a hot mess!

  • Valerie Crisp

    We’re never totally put together. But clothing can go a long way to making us and the people we meet feel like we care. I think that’s why “put together” is meaningful. It’s a symbol of effort, in subscribing to your goals. Of deliberate action. It’s not about succeeding or failing. In fact, the more you try, the
    more you’ll fail, but the more you’ll learn too. Somewhat related, I just wrote a thing about the psychology of dress with regards to ambition and how we’re perceived…

  • escapoligist

    I constantly feel like I’m going to fall apart, that I’m not doing enough and the anxiety of that sometimes sends me into spirals where I binge-watch TV shows to just avoid thinking about or acting on my own life at all.
    And then, I’ll have a day where I manage to wake up early, get a work out in (I do ballet and jazz four times a week so this usually happens anyway, but there’s a different energy from an early morning walk or swim), clean up/ do laundry and kickstart my meal prep for the day. It naturally makes me feel balanced and productive and raring to go. I work freelance so I don’t necessarily have to be somewhere every single day and it’s much easier for me to fall into bad habits like sleeping too late or drinking too much.
    I’ve noticed a lot of my anxiety that I’m not being a productive adult stems from not having my external environment sorted and this has everything to do with the boring, aforementioned chores. It’s a relatively small thing but I try to push myself to do those things even on days when it feels like I can’t even get out of bed.
    That, and putting extra care and effort into an outfit (even if it is just to go sit in a coffee shop on my laptop) always helps!

  • escapoligist

    Working out actually keeps me really sane and centered (most of the time) but I’ve always been bad at pushing myself to get into a rhythm, so the dance classes really work out great. They’re both intense challenging but I learn something new about myself from every single class.