As important as those zones and stations and kits are to staying organized, there are also actions and steps that we can take to prep for a great and successful week ahead. I am the first to acknowledge that no matter how much you plan, life will throw you a curve ball on a frequent basis, and there is only so much you can control. I don't think I have ever had an entire week go off without a hitch, but that is why spending an hour or two on the weekend (typically on Sundays), really helps our weekdays run smoother. I am all about finding ways to simplify life and routines and work a little harder up front to prevent future stress.
That said, I LOVE weekends. They are so important to me and I don't want to dedicate the entire weekend to cleaning and planning. But with a little diligence and good time management, I have figured out five different areas to invest in each Sunday.
SCHEDULING/GOAL SETTING/MEAL PLANNING
Depending on which day I run to the grocery store, I will spend about 15-20 minutes focusing on the week ahead. I write in all of the week's appointments, school activities, meetings, etc... And plan our menu accordingly. Our schedule and meals go hand-in-hand. If we have baseball three nights of the week, meals for those evenings will either have to be simple, made ahead or Crockpot based. I also try to plan our meals based on food we have left in the house first, then fill out my weekly grocery list. When I take the time to do this, I prevent over-purchasing and grocery trips are generally quick and painless.
|( diy acrylic clipboard | free goal setting printable download )|
Once our schedule is planned and set, I will then take a few extra minutes and set my goals for the week. Although a week rarely goes by where I cross off every last item, it is nice to have a reference of important tasks and reminders to keep me on track. I find the weeks I prep my brain ahead and give myself some direction, are far more productive and successful than weeks I don't.
Being someone who loves to organize, you would think I would have 30 pre-cooked freezer meals waiting for us each month. Not the case. We purchase and cook food each week and based on our schedule. Our freezer is typically stocked with meats, vegetables, fruits and breakfast items.
|( glass snapware )|
We may spend up to 30 minutes on Sunday prepping fresh snacks for the boys and ourselves, putting together jar salads and making 1-2 meals that we can keep in the fridge for busier evenings. Examples include soup, pasta sauce, taco meat or marinating items for the grill or slow cooker. Nothing fancy, just quick and simple recipes that don't take much time to prepare while putting away groceries.
The weeks that we spend a little extra time cleaning out the fridge, making snacks along with a few dinner components, are weeks that we are eating better and saving time and money. #bonus
|( orangerie pillow cover | laundry basket )|
Is there anything better than crawling into a fresh set of sheets at the end of a long weekend? I think not. I love starting the week of with fresh bedding, so I simply toss sheets into the wash in the morning, switch them out in the afternoon and make up the bed in the evening. Takes very little time, especially now that our boys are old enough to make their beds on their own. We try to focus on our main wash during the week, and our bedding and linens on Sundays.
|( lamp | upholstered office chair )|
A quick decluttering of your home's hot spots each week will ensure no long term piles take over. I have five surfaces I touch on Sundays to create a blank space for Monday morning. The best part about doing this exercise each week is that it only takes me about 15 minutes total for all five surfaces. My personal surfaces include my desk/workspace, my nightstand, our bathroom counters (x2) and our charging cabinet/school station. This means I touch and deal with any loose papers/bills, put away excess toiletries and makeup, put away the random items that land on my nightstand (seriously, this seems to be the biggest clutter catching area lately?), and give myself a blank slate to start off my work day. As long as I have previously given those specific belongings a permanent home, picking up is extremely quick and painless on Sundays.
That's it for prep chores! Our weeknights can be so incredibly busy, that we really try to utilize our weekends for family and friends. Of course, there are weekend days that we dedicate to a specific house project or home maintenance need, but it is all about balance right? And as much as I want to prep for the week ahead, I don't want to spend my entire day doing so.
|( glass jar w/spoon )|
I really appreciate weeks when I am able to take at least 30 minutes to myself on Sunday. In the past I was awful about making time for myself and my health; I would constantly remind myself of all of the items on my list that needed to be accomplished, activities that I could be attending and that I should be spending more time with my boys. Last year I learned the hard way that I just can't sustain if I don't allow myself personal, quiet, alone time on a frequent basis. Sunday is my day. At least thirty minutes of tech-free time to read, walk, take a bath, etc... has been incredibly helpful for giving myself a clear mind and for starting Monday far less frazzled. If you can only pick one thing to do on Sunday, this would be my first recommendation. If you put yourself first, you will be a better you for everyone else. #soapboxmoment
Finally, I am SO easily distracted when I work on any specific task. I could be cooking and then spot something to wipe up and suddenly I am cleaning my entire kitchen top to bottom and then oops, burnt dinner. Or organizing papers on my desk and think of something I need to search on Pinterest and suddenly my day has been consumed by the internet hole and I still have a paper pile to deal with. I could easily let these few weekly prep activities take over my entire Sunday, so I downloaded a multi-timer app that allows me to set times for each specific task (as well as color code them and even add cute little identifying icons). It's funny how something as simple as a timer app can be so helpful in making the most of my day.
|( cord clip | timer app | mouse pad )|
Finally, the entire goal behind doing a few of these tasks on Sunday is to reduce and eliminate stressors throughout the week. Don't take on too much, or create new stress in the process of trying to tackle chores on Sunday. It's a balance and a give and take. I don't always have time to do every one of these things, but these are definitely the items I personally strive for and give me the biggest return on my time investment.
Let's keep the conversation going! I would love to hear from you as well. Do you have any additional tasks to add? Where do you invest time upfront to save sanity, money and time during the week?