In Sunday Self-Care I talked a bit about planning as a form of self-care. When we take the time to invest a bit in our week on the front end, the pay off is a smoother and less stressful week. Which leads to a more peaceful less stressed you…one of the main goals of these Sunday posts. Many people view self-care as something you do when you are burned out and unable to keep up with the basic requirements of life. But that is living life in reaction mode. In order to have the abundant and fruitful life that we long for we must learn to live life more in the responding mode. We know ourselves better than anyone and know what we need to be the best version possible. This is more of a preventative approach to mental and emotional health, the things we need to do to keep burnout from becoming a way of life. And I know that sometimes you feel like adding one more thing to an already overfilled schedule is impossible, I promise you if you make the time to take care of yourself, the other stuff will fall into place. It’s like the example of putting sand in the jar and then attempting to put all the rocks in, inevitably all the rocks won’t fit. But, if you place the rocks in first and then pour the sand in you can fit so much more in your jar. To me, planning is one of those rocks you should add to your jar first. Planning is a very individualistic thing, and you have to find out what works for you, Some people swear by electronic planning, however, I am an old school paper and pencil kind of girl, so that is reflected in the way I plan. I have never found one planner that met all my needs, so I combine pages from several different sources to create something that best serves me. I have always preferred ring-bound planners, they give e the ability to add sections and remove sections as seasons in my life change. I would say that is a key concept in planning, realizing that your needs change, and adapting your planning system to meet you where you are at the moment. Think of your planner as your very own administrative assistant, it’s working for you to make your life a bit less stressful and chaotic. On Sundays, I take the time to plan my week. The three things that have been consistent in my planner over the years are 1) a monthly calendar 2) a daily page and 3) a menu planner. My monthly calendar contains appointments, school holidays and important events and birthdays. Since I make it a habit of carrying my planner with me when I am out when I make an appointment I immediately write it down in my planner. No scraps of paper, no appointment cards, no trying to remember what calendar it was written on, one central location. Do you see how that could eliminate a little bit of stress from your life? And I carry a full year of monthly pages in my planner at all times, so those 6 months out dentist appointments don’t get lost in the everyday part of life. After I have checked my monthly calendar for any obligations coming up, I date a week’s worth of daily pages. Now I know daily pages aren’t for everyone, some people find a week on a two page spread to be all they need. This is where your individual needs and preferences come into play. I use my daily pages to track my spending, my water intake, a gratitude journal for the day, along with a to-do list and schedule planner. During my Sunday planning, I write appointments on the proper day, plan out work assignments, and finally place my weekly scheduled tasks on their proper day. Next, I plan our meal plan for the upcoming week. It helps me to have a basic plan I try to follow each week; Monday-crock-pot or insta-pot meal, Tuesday a beef main dish, Wednesday quick and easy meal (think grilled cheese and tomato soup) Thursday chicken main dish and, Friday fish or non-meat main dish. While these three sections remain a constant in my planning, other sections come and go. I like to have a section for each child, this is where I write down their school schedule, bus number, clothing size, wants and needs list…you get the picture. I also like to have a section for goals, so I am able to look over it periodically and see how I am progressing. Maybe you would like a section to write down books or movies or podcasts that people recommend. How about a section to write down inspirational quotes, a place to put your own wants/needs list or a place to keep notes on things you read or hear. You get the idea, the sky is the limit. This is your planner and your system, it as individual as you are. You can find plenty of free printables online or maybe, if you are creative, design your own to best fit your needs. There are also plenty of places online to buy pre-printed pages. It can be something as simple as a blank notebook that you use to keep track of things, or as complex as a personally designed system of pages and sections, the important thing is that you use it. This is why a Sunday planning day works for me. Now, does this mean that everything always goes according to the plan? Nope, but I know if it is written down it is much more likely to get done. As the saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail. This type of structure allows me to be a better steward of my time, which leads to a more productive day. So maybe as we enter into this second full week of 2019, you give this planning thing a try. What do you have to lose?? And if you have any questions about the specific pages I use, leave them in the comments below, I think I have tried every kind of planner out there at one time or another!! Have a beautiful week!
There is a saying that goes “A Sunday well spent brings a week of content,” and I am a firm believer in this philosophy! For the last few years, I have made a point of taking some time every Sunday to plan out the week to come. Does this mean that everything always flows smoothly and goes according to my plan? Absolutely not, but by taking the time to review my calendar and doing a few simple tasks, even if I am thrown a curve ball during the week, my week is much less likely to completely unravel. This planning doesn’t have to take an enormous amount of time or complicated systems to complete, but the benefits are many, so maybe give some of these suggestions a try tonight and see if it helps your week run a little smoother.
- Check your calendar for anything out of the ordinary. This could include birthdays/anniversaries, assignments that are due, projects, children’s activities, spouse/significant other’s activities…you get the picture. Now is the time to transfer these things over to your personal planner/calendar and make sure everyone is on the same page for the upcoming week.
- After transferring dates to your calendar, write any upcoming gifts/cards you need to purchase, project materials you are lacking or anything other than food that you need to pick up for the next week.
- When filling in your calendar, make sure and write in some time for self-care..something as small as 15 minutes a day will add up to almost 2 hours at the end of the week.
- Also, make sure you plan in some time for physical activity for the upcoming week.
- Make a meal plan and grocery list. After getting a general idea of your commitments for the upcoming week, you can better plan out your meals. One thing that has helped me in this regard is to have a regular plan for certain days of the week. For example, Mondays are CrockPot or InstaPot meals, Tuesdays are ground beef, Wednesdays are breakfast, Thursdays are chicken or fish, Fridays are leftovers, Saturdays they are at their dad’s, and Sundays are homemade pizza night. After coming up with a meal plan make out a grocery list and make sure you have everything needed for all meals you have planned.
- Roughly plan your wardrobe (and your younger children’s wardrobe) for the upcoming week. Make sure everything is clean, mended and pressed if needed. Many people do laundry on Sundays, this has never worked out for me. But remember, systems are personal, and you need to find what works best for your particular stage of life.
- I use Sundays to pick up around the house after a weekend of activities. De-cluttering major clutter spots (mine are the kitchen counters and my car)and making sure things are returned to their rightful home goes a long way in giving me peace of mind to face a new week.
- Get finances in order. I always balance my checkbook on Sunday nights and file away any stray receipts. I review my budget and make any adjustments, and review what bills are due during the upcoming week.
- Fill your car up with gas…not something you realize you need when you are trying to get to work or school Mondy morning!
While Sundays do mark the end of your weekend and the beginning of the new work week, by implementing a few of these suggestions you can make Sundays one of your most productive days and prepare as much as possible for the week ahead.