Many times physical clutter gets out of control because we are overstuffed with “mind clutter.” Trying to keep up with all the details of life can be like trying to catch a snowball as it rolls downhill and continues to grow larger – just out of our grasp. Taking time to plan feels impossible when every moment seems too full to stop. Many times things get scattered and clean up routines fall by the wayside as we rush to move from one thing to the next. The truth is, investing in moments to plan and prepare makes it possible to command each day with confidence.
Establish a weekly routine to map out the week ahead. Write down the commitments for each day. Include other members in your household and post everything on a master calendar. Determine when and what you will have for meals and even when you will take time to prepare them. (Sometimes it is wise to cook more than one meal at a time “while you are at it” to have things ready for a busy evening with no time to cook.) As you plan the weekly schedule and menu, make a shopping list of things you will need to purchase. This planning may also produce a to do list, like having certain items ready for a meeting or project. Post the schedule and the menu. Tear off the shopping list and take it with you on your planned shopping trip. (Note: planning will lessen the number of trips to the store — saving valuable time, energy and gas.) Schedule your to do list into your calendar so those items can be tackled at the most convenient times. (No more last minute panic.)
Establish a daily routine to spend 5 minutes at the beginning of the day to refresh your memory about the tasks planned for that day. Invest in another 5 minutes at the end of each day to review your accomplishments and see if anything needs to be pushed forward to another day. No plan is ever executed perfectly and it is rare to accomplish everything on our list 100%. Making adjustments to a plan is a way to move with confidence. It is an entirely different emotion than running scattered chasing after last minute details, stressed out and in fear that something is forgotten somewhere.
You will find the format that works best for you to see all of the week at one glance. Most people make columns with the days of the week along the side and column headings across the top with titles such as “Activities”, “Meals” and “Shopping”. Everyone will find different column headings that are important things to note in order to be leading the week’s activities with plan. One example can be found here: CALENDAR PLANNING SHEET — WEEKLY.
Some have told me they spend Saturdays gearing up and preparing for the coming week so they can truly relax and refresh on Sundays. Others enjoy Sunday afternoons to “regroup and reorganize” — so they plan their week and shop for grocery items on Sunday afternoon. Some plan one day and implement on another day. I would love to hear what works best for you. I would especially like to hear from those who turn over a new leaf and begin “family planning” for the first time. How has it changed the way you move through the week?