So I have a confession to make. Organization does not come naturally to me. It takes a lot of work and I almost always revert back to my fly by the seat of my pants type of ways. Even through college and my masters program I was most productive in the eleventh hour. Why am I sharing this? Because it’s not the best way to go about life when there are so many things to juggle. I think I finally found a system that is working for me. One week at a time. So today I am sharing 5 ways to jump-start your week.
I have found that planning out just one week keeps me from getting overwhelmed. It allows me to still be a tad last-minute which is how I operate. But overall I stay on track and don’t let things fall through the cracks. If you struggle to stay on top of it, this post is for you!
1 | UPDATE THE CALENDAR
Despite being fairly organized, keeping a calendar does not come naturally to me. Is that weird? I like this one and also have this type of calendar and adore it. I have so many friends who immediately say, “Let me check my calendar!” when we are planning an outing. I love that. Me?! It’s more like, “Hmmm. . . let me think about what is swirling around in my head!” Clearly not efficient or necessarily effective. So I am forcing myself to sit down on Sunday night and address my calendar. If nothing else, I just make sure the entire week has everything written down. Here are examples of what I schedule on the calendar:
- All sports practices and games
- My blogging schedule \ collaboration deadlines
- Dinner for each night
- Appointments or dates with friends
- Volunteer commitments
- Dinner/lunches with my parents
- Photography shoots for the blog
- Any parties or extra activities for the kids
- Workout plan (more on that later)
I have to admit that when you write it all down and see the week fill up it gives me a bit of anxiety. Deep down I like to think that I have nothing going on and nothing to do and the week is wide open. Alas, it’s not and this is helping me plan my time better so I am not racing out the door and trying to juggle dinner plans. I know most people prefer calendar apps on their phones but I am still old school. I love to write with an actual pen and I think it helps commit it to memory for me.
2 | MEAL PLAN
top | jeans | room sources
My girlfriends and I talk about this ALL. THE. TIME. When we meal plan, life is so much easier. When we don’t, dinner every night is such a struggle. So I have committed to sitting down at this table on Sunday night. I grab my favorite cookbooks and laptop ( I find many recipes online) and schedule our dinners. I also create the shopping list for Monday morning. It is astounding how much stress is lifted when you aren’t wondering about dinner. Plus our sports schedule has really managed to do a number on our dinner hour so it’s even more important to plan ahead. You can see some of my go-to recipe under my “Yummy” tab. Here are the things I plan out while I meal plan:
- Dinner plan for Monday – Friday ( we play the weekend by ear)
- Lunches for the children
- Lunch ideas for me so that I don’t run out to grab something unhealthy.
Barefoot Contessa is someone I love when it comes to cooking. I especially gravitate to her vegetable ideas. But I don’t always use recipes during the week. There is no reason to go crazy. We stick to things like tacos, grilled chicken, and baked salmon. My children are great eaters so it allows us to be pretty darn flexible. I always use leftovers in a Chipotle style bowl on Friday nights. We toss in left over protein, cauliflower rice, avocado, tomatoes, lime and hot sauce. It’s a big hit with the family and helps use up things we have in the fridge. This recipe is also a staple around here and awesome as a burrito to go the next day!
3 | STOCK THE FRIDGE
One of my favorite purchases ever are these bins. Keep an eye out for them at your local HomeGoods or TJ Maxx. They are life changing in the refrigerator. Truly. I always clean out the fridge and these bins before I grocery shop. Besides the items I need for school lunches and dinners, I grab our staples. I have six bins in total. Three get filled with fruits wish are washed and ready to go. The other three get filled with vegetables and greens. It is so helpful when it comes to eating healthy. The veggies are typically part of our dinners and when the kids need a snack, they are welcome to grab fruit. I am a huge avocado toast eating gal so those avocados never go to waste. I’ve also started drinking lemon water before my coffee each morning so we stock up on those, too. Plus it’s extremely easy to open the fridge and immediately see what staple we are low on and I can grab during the week.
4 | REACH OUT
I’ve really taken a long hard look at how I go about my week and what leaves me feeling fulfilled or unfulfilled. Working from home can be very isolating. I love everything about it but I spend a huge amount of hours on the blog. Everything from planning to styling, shooting, editing and writing. So that translates to a ton of alone time. Making a goal to reach out every week and take the focus off of what I am doing is really important to me. Whether its writing a note to a relative, picking up the phone or sending a surprise package to a friend. Any of these things help me to think about the big picture. So many of us are going through things and need support so taking a moment to reach out can be a lifeline for some.
5 | MAKE AN EXERCISE PLAN
Last but certainly not least, the exercise plan! Another thing I have discovered is that I can not make a plan to work out for the entire year or even month. My brain doesn’t work that way. So now I simply just look at the week and write down four days to get exercise. I am trying to attend Barre3 classes twice a week and kickbox in my garage the other two. I love working out and feel so much better when I do. But I can so easily let it slide so putting it down on paper makes me accountable. And I feel so accomplished when I follow through.
Taking the time to jump-start my week with these habits is really making a difference. Let me know if you give it a try to keep things on track in your life. I would love to hear.
Looking for more organization ideas, I just attacked our
junk supply drawer! Make it a great day, friends. I am off to meet a friend so look for that on stories! We are up to something fun!
Grandma Sue says
I, too, am trying to get more organized and the powers to be at Apple must have discovered that as suddenly an application called “stickies” showed up on my desktop! I took advantage of these and write down what I need to do the following day. Then when I wake up my computer in the morning – there it is – a gentle reminder! Love them!
Why is it that most of the family scheduling gets put on us moms? I tried the paper calendar route, but my husband was constantly asking me for details, dates, times, etc. I now put everything on a Google calendar that we both can share. He never has to ask me when hockey practice is or when the school play weekend is. It has really helped and allows us both to be in the know on everything. Do you include anything about the kids’ school assignments on your calendar (i.e. a big project or presentation) that you may need to remind/nudge/help them about?
Meal planning is probably my biggest nemesis. My husband is completely against it because he is worried that he won’t be interested in what’s on the calendar that day. I wish I could get him onboard. I think it would help so much with using up what we have. Also, do you keep your avocados in the fridge?
And I love your idea about connecting with someone each week. So simple, but so powerful!
Our four kids are grown and gone from home but when they were young I tried the weekly meal planning and I failed. We would have unexpected events, games etc that would pop up and frustrate me. So I changed gears and always knew what I was making for three days in advance. At the end of the day I would add a meal suggestion so the three day rotation was always in place. We lived in a rural area with a grocery store half hour away so we tended to load up on groceries in bulk. With the three day rotation I could see if something was getting close to being expired and I would incorporate it into the menu within the three days. I felt like three days mas manageable for us it worked for us. I still use the three days for me and my husband and I find I grocery shop less because I’m using up what is in my fridge and freezer first. Organization methods have to be tweaked as circumstances and life changes but it always provides peace of mind knowing you are taking charge of your circumstances.
Kerri Hansen says
Oh my goodness, I think I got dizzy from all the head-nodding in agreement as I read this post! I am also old school and prefer to write things down. We have 3 busy kids so I like to keep a family calendar on the fridge to keep track of all their extracurricular things, birthday parties, special events, holidays etc. The kids actually like to consult the calendar so I do this mostly for them, although it helps me to see the Big Picture, if you will! I also really love my day planner by Day Designer. It is set up just how I like to make lists and organize myself, so this is what I use for me personally.
My downfall is finding/making the time to sit down and plan things out in advance. Ideally I would do this on the weekend. What works the best for me is to meal plan and shop on the weekend, that way I can ficus on my business goals while the kids are at school and not worry about going to the grocery store, which always seems to suck up half my day, if you include putting everything away!
It is a work in progress for me and my goal is to be Proactive instead of Reactive, especially with meals, but also my fitness goals and for my business and blog.
Thanks for the great post, now it’s time to get back to my to-do list!
Great post! Thank you for your wonderful ideas. Wondering if you use a dvd for kickboxing or what your routine is? Thanks!
Love these tips! A family calendar is SO helpful to have. I used to be great about staying on top of my calendar, but I’ve slacked off lately and it shows in my productivity!
Great post and I love your suggestions! Also, love that sweater (ordered it!). How do you like Barre3? I am considering it to my weekly must try to exercise routine!
Thank you for sharing!
Seriously…are we sisters from another mister lol…I wrote my BEST college lab reports hours before they were due and watched the sun come up from my dorm typing away too many times than are normal. I even bought the book “Eat That Frog” but have procrastinated reading it hahaha. I am probably way worse than you think in this realm, but having a really good planner has saved my life (I love Erin Condren’s) and I have turned a corner since having kids 8 years ago. I even write down the weather for the week (because it is crazy here in PA and you really never know what to expect) and that helps me know how to dress the kids/myself. Thanks for the tips…always fun to see how others “do it all”:)
marley m. says
Courtney we are definitely cut from the same cloth! LOL! I think many “creatives” are. I too am old school with a calendar…my hubs keeps trying to get me to go “virtual” with my scheduling but it just doesn’t work for me. I was a teacher in my old life 🙂 and I wholeheartedly think the actually physical act of writing helps the (executive functioning) part of the brain remember. At least I am going with that! When I plan ahead and keep myself organized so many other aspects of my life fall into place. I marvel at and am in awe of ppl. that this comes naturally to, but we all have our gifts right? Thanks for a great post and know that you are not alone sister!
I LOVE to be organized and all of this comes naturally to me – but it is always something to work on. Planning my week on a Sunday help keep my week in check x