I have a hard time with weekends. Now that I no longer have a traditional job, my days are kind of whacked. Monday through Thursday, I can work on my blog and other projects while the kids are in preschool. The rest of the time, I’m a stay at home mom, with a million things on my plate. My husband, on the other hand, is a partner at a top law firm (he’s in “BigLaw” if you’re interested in the lingo), so he works anywhere from 60-80 hours/week, 50 weeks a year. He doesn’t see much of us during the week so weekends are typically family time. I tend to get antsy, though, when I feel like I need to be more productive than lazing around the house, playing board games or whatever. During the week we’ve got activities – dance class or a playdate or making cards for whatever holiday is coming up and, as exhausting as it is, I feel like we’re accomplishing something, as opposed to kind of meandering through our time together on the weekend. (Of course that’s a problem with my attitude – the simple act of spending time together is “productive”, absolutely, but I have to get my brain to believe that. That’s for another post).
(Am I the only one with this problem, by the way?)
All that being said, there are definitely some things that you can do over the weekend, and in particular on Sunday, that will make the rest of your week go much smoother. This is a great way to feel accomplished without sacrificing family time – win win! So, here are 9 things you can do Sunday for a better week ahead:
This is slightly misleading because I don’t mean actually cook and plan out a thousand meals (unless you’re motivated to do so!). I personally think that’s a little overboard. But I do mean stock your fridge, cut up fruits and vegetables, hard-boil some eggs and maybe make a couple dishes that are easily freezable, like lasagna or meatloaf. Most of my meals during the week tend to be very simple – an meat (something easy to prepare, like a ham steak, chicken breast, or, during the summer, anything I can throw on the grill), a vegetable (frozen and usually steamed in the microwave), and a carb (corn or a baked potato or pasta, etc.). So I don’t need to prepare those meals in advance, but I do want to make sure I’m ready to roll with everything on hand.
Plan Out Your Dinners.
Even though I may not prepare all my meals in advance, I do plan out what I’m going to make every night that week. To make it even easier than that, I usually do the same thing on the same days of the week. For example, on Sundays we grill out steak and on Wednesdays I fix spaghetti. I vary things up a bit sometimes, but not much. This makes me happy because I abhor making decisions about meals. You may prefer a little more variety from week to week, but you can still plan out your week of dinners every Sunday for a much easier week.
Plan Out Your Week.
Take a look at your calendar and go through all of your appointments and responsibilities over the upcoming week. Then go through and sketch out, in detail, your schedule for Monday. I do this every night and it’s a huge help in time management. The key is detail – instead of “run errands”, I will write down where I’m going and in what order. Instead of “workout” I write down exactly what kind of workout I’m doing (upper body, lower body, long run, short interval run, etc.). All of this serves to eliminate the time-wasting decision-making that happens when I try to just wing it.
Set Your Priorities.
This is different than planning out your schedule. It’s more like setting a theme for the week, or setting an intention. What is the one thing you want to accomplish? Working out everyday? Writing a blog post? Spending quality time with your kids? Packing for a trip? Whatever it is, write it down and revisit it every night.
Clean Out Your Bag and Off Your Desk.
Whether you’re heading into your home office or taking your laptop with you to a coffee shop, you want to start the week with a clean slate. Tidy up, file receipts, throw away the trash. I know my week goes a lot smoother when I’m not constantly searching for misplaced items.
Clean the Kitchen.
I mean, if you have time, clean the whole damn house. But if you don’t have that much time, at least clean the clutter off the counters, sweep the floors, wipe down the table, and load and run the dishwasher. Waking up in the morning to a clean kitchen makes such a difference in my attitude – which I need because I am not someone who naturally loves to wake up early!
Do One Load of Laundry.
I don’t have a “laundry day”. With a family, there’s just too much to keep up with to do it all in one day. My best advice for laundry is spread it out equally over the entire week. For me, that’s about 2 loads/day. No matter what, though, I do at least one load/day. I do the easy stuff, like towels or sheets, on my busiest days. Laundry is truly the act of pushing a boulder up a hill over and over again, but it is most manageable if you work on it everyday.
Plan Your Outfits.
Lay out which clothes your going to throw on in the morning (for me, that’s usually yoga pants, a layering take top and a t-shirt). Have a rough idea of what you want to wear the rest of the week. If you know you need something dry cleaned, put it in the car.
Read a Fiction Book Before Bed.
This is my hack for getting to bed early because a good book helps makes bedtime a little more appealing for those of us who treasure our “me time” after the kids go to bed. Fiction is best because it lets your mind rest a little, and it feels like a relaxing treat at the end of the day.
Have a great week and I hope these tips help you this Sunday. What do you like to do over the weekend to get ready for the week ahead?