Imagine starting your work week relaxed and prepared for the week ahead. This used to be my wish for a long time and I have finally learned how to make it a reality over the past couple of years.
There are six basic steps that you should take to help you have a productive week. They can be done on a Sunday, over the weekend, or even spread out throughout the week. The point is create a routine for yourself that will really help you have a better week.
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BENEFITS OF PREPARING FOR A WEEK AHEAD
As a working mom, I find it very helpful to take some time on the weekend to prepare for the week ahead. It is a way to help you organize a few things on your days off so you can hit the ground running on Monday morning in full force!
Weekdays are simply filled with a lot of different responsibilities.There is work, kids have school and after school activities, there is homework, dinner prep, and daily chores. And one of the most effective ways to help manage the chaos during the week is to do a few things ahead of time.
You will definitely feel less stressed out and overwhelmed during the week. You will also make it easier on yourself to stick to your plans. For example, you might decide that you want to have home cooked meals during the week. If you spend some time on the weekend on meal planning and prepping you will set yourself up for success as far as having those home cooked meals and not resorting to fast food because you feel overwhelmed and tired
PLANNING FOR THE WEEK AHEAD
If you desire to have a great and productive week ahead, you have to spend some time actually planning what you want to accomplish in the upcoming days.
Step 1: Planning Your Priorities and Schedule
In order to prepare for the week ahead you also need to spend some time with your planner. What is important to remember is that you need to plan ahead for both work and home.
Planning for Work
In order to plan for the following work week, take a look at the upcoming meetings and deadlines. Think about and write down the tasks/actions that you need to take in order to prepare.
And put those tasks in your planner for a specific day.
This will allow you to start your work week on a positive note, as you already have a plan for what you will be doing the following week. You will also find this to be an excellent way for you to ‘unplug from work’ over the weekend.
Because once you have a plan of action for your week, your mind will be able to rest and not constantly think ‘what do I have to do this week at work?’.
Planning for Home
Planning for your home involves taking a look at your family calendar. Take note of any upcoming school activities or projects, after school activities, and birthdays. Check with your spouse to see if there are any days of the week where he has to work late or has some other commitments.
Knowing what’s coming up eliminates a lot of stress during the week.
It will also allow you to better plan your meals, chores, and plan the things you need to accomplish to be prepared for those activities.
For example, if you have a doctor’s appointment coming up with one of your kids, you can take a note in your planner or your to-do list to call school about your child being absent that day.
Step 2: Budget and Bills
One of the things that we need to think about when planning for the week ahead is finances. When we are very busy – and let’s face it, we all are – we tend to think about finances last. But when we don’t know where our money is going, we will often end up very stressed and overwhelmed.
This is why it’s important to set aside a few minutes each week to ensure our bills are paid and that our budget is updated regularly. And it makes the most sense to think about our budget before we head out the door to do grocery shopping or spend money on entertainment. It will give you a piece of mind and set your week up for success.
HOW TO SUNDAY PREP FOR A PRODUCTIVE WEEK
When we think about a productive week, we imagine ourselves feeling energized and crossing off different tasks from our to-do list. One of the biggest ways we can ensure that is the case is by setting up our environment for success.
In this case, our environment is our home!
When we have chaos surrounding us – we will likely feel disorganized and overwhelmed. But when we have some system in place to make things run smoothly, we will immediately feel more calm and productive.
Let’s talk about how to prepare our house for a productive week.
A lot of people choose Sunday to prepare for the week ahead. But don’t feel like that is the day you have to choose. It can be Saturday or a few days a week.
You need to choose what day or days will work best for you and your family.
Step 3: Meal Planning and Prepping
The first part of the weekend prep is planning the meals for the upcoming week and doing the grocery shopping. Knowing what your family will be eating during the weekend and having all the necessary groceries on hand makes my days so much less stressful!
The very first thing you need to do is write down what you will be eating during the week – that is what meal planning is all about. Think of your meal plan in terms of breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
In general, we tend to eat the same kinds of foods for breakfast and lunch, while dinners are the meals that require the most planning.
Make a list of meals for the next week and a corresponding list of groceries that you need to get in order to make those meals.
RELATED: Meal Planning Hacks for Working Moms
The next step is get your groceries.To save some time, you can do grocery pick-up or delivery. We have been using the grocery pick-up option at Walmart and it has been very convenient.
Don’t forget to go through your fridge, freezer, and pantry to do a quick inventory of what you already have and what staples need to replenish.
Once you have planned out your meals and got the groceries, it is time to get some meal prepping done. If you dedicate an hour or two on the weekend to meal prep, you will save yourself a lot of time during the week. Here are some options to consider.
You want to have some breakfast options prepared. Morning time is probably the most rushed time of the day for a lot of families and having some breakfast options on hand will go a long way to have a productive morning.
For example, I will either make some pancakes or waffles for our Sunday breakfast and store the remaining butter in the fridge to use on Monday and Tuesday. And for the reminder of the week, the kids will have either peanut butter and Nutella sandwiches or yogurt.
For myself, I like to make myself some mini egg quiche from my favorite cook book with sautéed peppers or eggs with spinach and onion. Another quick option may be veggie cakes, veggie burgers, or overnight oats.
The idea is to spend very little time to prepare breakfast each morning. I will usually pop mine in the microwave and my breakfast is ready in 2 minutes.
Having the breakfast prepared for the week is essential to me in order to have productive mornings during the week.
Lunch and Snacks
Think about some options you can have for lunch.
- Salad bar – it involves very little prep and gives you a few options for the week.
- Sandwiches – prep all the ingredients on the weekend so all you have to do is assemble the sandwich the day before
- healthy snack options – mini peppers, baby carrots, or mini cucumbers
- Yogurt parfait
- Soup or chili
- Make little extra for dinner so you can eat leftovers
And if you are packing lunches for your kids, it’s a really good idea to pre-pack any snacks on the weekend.I also make sure that my snack jars are re-filled and ready for the week ahead. This helps me out a lot during lunch prep for kids during the week or when they ask for snacks during the hectic evenings.
The best way to prepare for dinners is to pre-cut any veggies that you will be using for dinners. That is usually the most time consuming task when you are cooking your meals.So having that completed ahead of time is a really great idea.
Another thing you can consider is freezer meals.This will involve much more time commitment during the weekend but you don’t need to do it every weekend. You can batch freezer meal prep to probably once a month and prepare lots of them at once.
Grab your FREE Weekend Checklist and Meal Plan Printable to help you stay organized!
Step 4: Cleaning
Another thing I include in my preparation for the week ahead is cleaning.
Clean and organized house means clean and clutter free mind. And that leads to having a more productive week.
The best way to tackle cleaning of your house is to implement a cleaning routine. One that works well with your schedule and lifestyle.Having a cleaning routine will help you manage your house much better and save you a lot of time.
If possible, try to involve other family members in the weekend house cleaning. Assign some chores to your kids and ask your husband to help out. When you approach cleaning as a team, it will get done much faster.
The idea is to set yourself up for success and start your Monday with a clean and organized house.
Step 5: Laundry
We absolutely cannot prepare for the week ahead without talking about laundry. As we know it multiplies and there is always laundry to be done.
I make it a point to do laundry each weekend so we don’t start with an overflowing laundry basket on Monday morning. The basked won’t be empty (it never is!) but it will be much more manageable.
It would also be great if you could plan ahead and decide what other days of the week you will be doing laundry during the week. Having that plan will help you stay on top of it.
FEED YOUR SOUL TO GET READY FOR THE WEEK
Step 6: Relax and recharge
If you want to start Monday motivated and recharged, you absolutely must incorporate relaxation into your weekends. It is so important to set aside to spend quality time with your loved ones and time for yourself.
Spending time together as a family is a must! It does not have to be anything elaborate. It can be as simple as going to a local park and playing soccer or enjoying a playground. You can also plan a small get together with your extended family or a drive to a local attraction.
It can be as simple as playing board games or watching a movie as a family.
The idea is to be together and make memories. Because this is what life is all about. Having that quality time with your family will fill your heart with joy and happiness and help you start Monday with a positive mindset.
RELATED: How to Fix Monday Mindset
Last, but definitely not least, in order to prepare for the week ahead you must make time for self-care. Maybe you like to have your nails done or get a massage. Or maybe you like to go to relax with a cup of coffee or tea and read a good book.
You need to relax and recharge your batteries. Remember, even God rested on the 7th day. This was Him giving us permission to take that time to ourselves as well.
We all need it and we all deserve it.