This past month I started a new practice that has been helping me immensely. The practice that I’m incorporating into my routine is to print out a copy of my weekly schedule and sit down with it for about fifteen to thirty minutes before my week starts. This started because I was trying to put together weekly mean plans. I was getting busier and busier and had started to make meals that weren’t as healthy because I felt like I didn’t have time for all the prep work that goes into making yummy fresh food. I thought with a weekly meal plan I’d be more prepared but I quickly realized that my meal plan wasn’t in sync with my actual life. Next, I started printing out my google calendar and writing my meal plan on it. I know the days that I have a lot on my plate I’m not going have the stamina for a big production in the kitchen. What I didn’t expect was how much clarity this would give me in other areas too. By looking at my week before it starts I can see which days are going to be heavier or lighter and I make notes. For instance, I can see the days where I can fit in errands and I can see which errands are actually important. This heightened awareness of my schedule is also allowing for more free time and free mind space because I’m actually buying the gift well before the party rather than rushing around at the last minute. I’m cooking more and therefore eating out less and throwing away a lot less food. But the best thing is that I’m clear about what I have to get done that week for my business. I put all my important business activities in my calendar but I have the tendency to ignore the little alarms that go off that tell me I should be doing this or that thing because I’m busy answering an important call or email or I’ve gotten lost in cyberspace. With that extra clarity that comes from looking at the week as a whole, I’m more aware of all the things I have to get done, so I’m less likely to procrastinate and ignore that alarm because I know how that thing fits into the bigger picture, how important it really is to what I’m trying to accomplish, and that there really isn’t a better easier time to do it.
So yes, I am a little calendar crazy, but honestly I’m loving having this level of clarity around my time. I would love to hear your practices around time management.
Ive tried using Apps, like Pepperplate to help me meal plan. Its such a great idea, but it takes some upfront work and then consistency. 🙂 But you can enter in your own meals, the ingredients you need. You can enter in recipes on line as well. Then you can meal plan with a click of a button and it creates a grocery shopping list for you. I have to say I’m not in the practice of using it, but Id like to be and I do find that when I do meal plan, we spend less money on food, less time of prep, and eat healthier.
I like your approach of work, errands and meal planning as a more unified approach. I’ve always felt that meal planning was way to regimented for me…That is until I had a toddler in my life! I will give this a try too! Thanks.
Great post Ali! I think Robin Sharma says: “You have got to become a master of scheduling and time management!” and “Things that get scheduled are things that get done.”
Thank you, Gina. Definitely, I believe that. I also like what he said in his video The 4 Habits to Make 2013 Awesome (which also inspired this post) about summarizing the week and looking at what you did and didn’t get done. I’ve done it a couple of times and it actually is awesome, I just haven’t fully incorporated it yet. Baby steps.