Friday, May 13, 2016

27 Weekend Prep for Weekday Success

Yesterday, Megan stopped by to share areas of her home that keep her organized on a daily basis.  I loved the post idea and hope to pull something similar together in terms of our own home, as we are at a different stage of life with a variety of alternative zones, tricks and kits that help us out on the regular.

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.


MEAL/SNACK PREP

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


LAUNDER LINENS


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.


CLEAR SURFACES

( 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.


RELAX!

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? 


27 comments:

  1. Hi Jen - I can totally relate to your description of getting easily distracted with multiple tasks! I'm especially guilty of this when I'm researching something on the internet. I may think of something in the middle of reading an article and sidetracked looking up something else, and before I know it I've lost a half an hour! I love your idea of the multiple timer. I'm going to give it a try!

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    1. Ha, the internet is a dangerous time sucking place! ;) I hope the timer app works for you, I find it to be so helpful!

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  2. One of the things that helps me so much is food prep n advance. I often cut up 2-3 onions at a time or an entire bag carrots and store them in a container in the fridge so I'm not washing, peeling or slicing every time I cook a meal. I wash berries as soon as I buy them and store them in glass containers - I find they stay fresh longer and they are easier to grab and eat! Also, if I'm cooking a big batch of something, like chili, I mix 2 batches of the spices used and store one in a small glass spice jar to make it super easy to make again. I cook every meal from scratch for the most part due to food allergies. If I didn't do these time-savers, I'd never get out of the kitchen. :)

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    1. Yes! I also do some veggies for salads and snacks in advance, such a time saver! We are also fans of cooking double the servings of certain meals, one for now and one for later. Thank you for sharing!

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  3. ps: Thank you so much for the multi timer app suggestion- going to try it out this week! :)
    Laura

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  4. We think alike!! I have written a similar post, it's such a great way to start the week with some prep done in advance to help the week run a wee bit smoother

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  5. Totally downloaded the timer! Thanks for the recommendation!!

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  6. LOVED this post Jen - Sundays are my most important days too! my most well spent Sundays bring the best weeks but otherwise the weeks are crazy and disorganised! x

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  7. We also have a family calendaring meeting after our Sunday dinner. We go over everyone's activities and any possible problems. It's been not just a sanity saver, but I know when my kids have tests and days that I know will be harder for them. It's so great to be able to anticipate when they will need extra attention and support instead of trying to figure out in the middle why they are struggling.

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    1. I love the idea of a Sunday calendar meeting..not only the baseball, soccer and basketball games and practices, but to include the in-school tests etc....GENIUS! We always have an unpleasant surprise or two with time management etc. I am going to start this meeting this week! Thank you for the great tip! _JennieM

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  8. This is just such a great reminder of the systems we need to put in place weekly to reap future rewards! Thank you for sharing. I teach a Weekly Productivity Routine in my upcoming e-course for women that highlights a lot of the tips you've mentioned. https://thoughtfuljourneycounseling.com/21st-century-home-ec/

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  9. My rule is dont get up without doing something. If i go to get a drink ill also wipe down the bench. Or if im waiting for the kettle to boil ill stack the dishwasher. Multi tasking is my key to success!

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  10. I made a similar planner that I print out each week and write down a few jobs under a few categories to try to get done. The planner I print out also has reoccurring things ready to go, and I can edit when things change. As well as meal planning and shopping, I also usually try to cook something easy and sweet for anacks/lunch boxes and make easy something for a few days of lunches-soup or a egg pie or a big cous cous salad.

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  11. I'm definitely going to try these things. One thing that I know will help me too is ironing the kids uniforms for the week instead of each morning.

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  12. This is awesome thanks so much !!
    Isabelle
    isabelleelli.blogspot.com

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  13. My best friend (who just had a baby, mind you) was showing me her meal planning - 15 minutes at the beginning of the week can seriously make a huge difference! I need to start doing this. Thanks for sharing the meal planning prep sheet!

    Alyssa @ Feathers and Stripes

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  14. I love all your blog posts, but this one I definitely needed right about NOW! Thank you, Jen! Would you mind posting that link again to the free goal sheet printable? I've tried it from 2 different devices and it says file not found. Thanks so much!

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    1. I am so sorry about that Susan! Here is the link to the original goal setting post: http://www.iheartorganizing.com/2016/02/iheart-free-printable-goal-setting.html

      And a direct link to the download: https://app.box.com/s/u1timsjtye5s39tzeisker2w832440t5

      Thank you!

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  15. Great post! Sundays are great prep days. I have a weird question: how do you keep your fruit fresh all week? By mid-week, the berries I buy tend to go sour. Just wondering if you have any tips for this. Thanks!

    Brigit
    MeaningfullyOrganized.com

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    1. Hi Brigit,
      I do a few things to keep the fruit fresh. I always rinse it and then spray it with a light misting of vinegar, then allow it to dry a bit before storing in the jars in the fridge. I can usually keep it fresh for 4-5 days max. Canning jars as well as the glass air-tight containers seem to work fairly well.
      xoxo!

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    2. I too, was wondering how the fruit stays fresh. If you spritz it with vinegar doesn't it give it a 'vinegary' taste? I keep fresh veggies washed and cut up in the fridge but never tried with berries.

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    3. I only spritz a small amount and it dries odorless/tasteless. :)

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  16. I plan my meals the same way you do! I feel validated now :) That multi-timer app is a total game changer! Just telling a friend today about time chunking which is essentially what that app is having us do. Multi-tasking is a myth. This will definitely help me focus on one activity at a time. Thank you!

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  17. Absolutely love the timer app. I get easily distracted too. Love it! Thanks so much for adding it to your post. It has made me more focused on the task at hand.

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  18. Yes, I love taking 20-30 minutes planning out the week with schedules and meals. This is a must to having a successful week for us. I also need to declutter papers. There are three spots that by Friday are a mess. Doing this on the weekends means we are starting out fresh. This is a great post!

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  19. I love the mention of the multi-timer app - such a great way to help stay on task. I find focusing to be more difficult when you are overwhelmed with various tasks to finish in a day. Thanks for sharing!

    http://www.thefussyfactor.com/

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