Tips To Prep For The Week Ahead
The holiday season was wonderful, don’t get me wrong, but I was very excited to get back into a routine come January. We’re in a busy season of life with two young kids, two full-time jobs, and sporadic childcare. Every week looks a tad different and if someone is sick…our entire plan goes out the window!
But, we still do our best to keep some sort of routine around here for us and the kids. And the only way to maintain that is with lots of prep work.
My Best Tips To Prep For The Week Ahead
Today, I want to dive into the things we do to prep for the week ahead. These are tasks that we usually get done between Friday and Sunday. That way, we can wake up on Monday morning, ready to tackle the work week! These might not all work for you and your life, but hopefully, something will resonate with you and you can use it in 2023!
I wrote a similar post seven years ago and it’s wild how things have changed since then. I didn’t have kids, I was going into an office every day, and I was getting clothes organized for weekly workout classes. Ha! Now, a lot of my time is spent at home and things are very different. However, even though my day-to-day is different, taking the time to prep and get organized over the weekend hasn’t changed! Here’s what I do…
Take 30 Minutes To Plan
On Fridays, my non-negotiable task for the day is to take a look at the following week. I dive into the specifics of how I organize my work and personal to-do list in this blog post about Trello. In short, I look at both my personal and work calendars and write everything on my Trello board – doctor’s appointments, haircuts, work calls… I want to make sure I have a good sense of what’s to come before I finish my work day on Fridays.
That way, when I sit down for work on Monday, I know what to prioritize and I can dive right in!
Utilize A Family Command Center
Over the summer, I wrote about our new family command center in our kitchen and how we were trying it out. Well, I’m happy to report that it’s been a crucial component of our family life to keep us all on the same page.
During nap time on Sunday, I whip out my Trello board (that I finished on Friday afternoon) and copy any high-level information onto our whiteboard in our kitchen. We have a spot for every day of the week and I add big stuff only. That includes appointments for us or the kids, childcare plans for the week, and more.
On the bottom of the board, I write house/family tasks that need to get done but don’t necessarily correspond to a particular day. For example, “write thank you notes for holiday gifts” or “book a babysitter for date night”. Here I put things that either Finn or I can get done that week.
Review The Week Ahead
This may all sound repetitive…writing down your schedule digitally, transferring it to the whiteboard, and then discussing it out loud? Why yes, it is repetitive! But that’s for a reason. The biggest challenges in our marriage come from miscommunication. To make sure we are on the same page, we then review what’s on the whiteboard, once it’s all filled out.
This sometimes happens during Sunday nap time (if the kids are sleeping well!), or we might move it to Sunday night. Either way, it has to happen so we can divvy up tasks and responsibilities for the week.
Also, we still do our bi-monthly family meetings on Wednesday nights. This blog post has all of the details on how and why we do them. But, essentially, it’s a time to sit down and talk about more in-depth family topics and how to share the load as parents. This is different from our five to ten-minute session to review the whiteboard.
Grocery Shop & Food Prep
Now, let’s talk about food and groceries. As you know, I’m not a fan of cooking and I leave most of the meal prep to my husband. Our kids go through a lot of food and I find that we’re constantly running to the store for more bananas, milk, and fresh produce.
We use the Microsoft To-Do app to keep a running list of what we need from the store. If we run out of eggs, I immediately add them to the list, so someone can get them on our next grocery run. We usually do one big run on the weekends and then 1-2 lighter runs during the week. We have a grocery store a few blocks away, so that definitely helps!
Finn will often take one of the kids early on Saturday or Sunday morning (I mean, we’re all up anyways, so we might as well be productive!) to get the goods for the family. When he comes home, he then cuts up veggies and fruit, grills chicken, and roasts potatoes and veggies to have on hand. We like to have most of our breakfast and lunch foods prepped for the two of us, as well as the kids, on Sundays.
In terms of actual meal planning, this is still a work in progress for our family. We will peruse the fridge, freezer, and pantry during our Sunday whiteboard session, and add meal ideas to each day of the week. This helps us use up what we have and gives some direction to our dinners come 5 pm! My goal this year is to learn a few easy dinner recipes that the whole family enjoys and incorporate them into our weekly routine. I’ll keep you posted on how that pans out…
Water Your Plants
Every Sunday, I have a timer set on my phone that reminds me to water the plants. Rory usually likes to help me with this task and we both go around with our pitcher to get each one. It’s just a regular part of our routine and I like knowing that our plants are happy all week long.
Our Laundry Schedule
I wrote a similar blog post with tips to prep for the week ahead way back in 2016 and that included a tip to do your laundry on Sundays. Ha! Well, these days, we do laundry every single night. We throw in a load once the kids go to bed and then fold it in the morning before they get up. This keeps us on top of it and prevents it from getting unmanageable.
However, I do try to do towels and sheets on Sundays, so that everything is clean for the week. We have house cleaners that come every other Monday and they’ll make the beds with fresh sheets. Best feeling ever!
Prep School Bags & Clothes
On Fridays, the kids bring home all of their stuff from school so we can wash it all over the weekend. We then set it all out on the kitchen counter on Sunday night. Their backpacks, water bottles, blankets, and pillows are all ready to go for school on Monday!
Personally, I prep my clothes every night before going to bed. This prevents me from rummaging through my closet at five in the morning and gives me a chance to look at the weather forecast when making my selections. I’m trying to get Rory into the habit of choosing her clothes the night before, but she likes to change her mind in the morning. Toddler problems.
Take Some Time For Yourself
Finally, one of the most important things I do on Sunday nights is take some time for myself. For me, that often means a long shower or hot bath. I’ll shave and exfoliate. I then hop out, tweeze my eyebrows, put in a hair mask (I just got this one and love it!), and use my favorite facial steamer to hydrate my skin. I do my full evening skincare routine and take extra time to brush, floss, and whiten my teeth. Really, these are just all of the personal care tasks that I don’t have time for on a typical weekday evening.
I do my best to go to bed early on Sunday nights. That way, I can start the week with a good 8 to 9 hours of rest.
How Do You Prep For The Week Ahead?
I know every family and person is different and these organizational tactics are constantly changing, based on the season of life you’re in. What do you do to prep for the week ahead? I’d love to learn a few more things to make life run a bit more smoothly…
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.