Preparing for the week ahead


Do you ever get to Monday morning and feel massively unprepared for the week ahead? The school run on Monday morning seems to take me by surprise some weeks as I rush around trying to get forms signed, scramble together the weekly school money and write a shopping list as I forgot to order a grocery delivery for Monday morning AGAIN and now have to go to the shop. 

Want to join me in being more organised?

If we take just fifteen minutes on a Sunday evening to prepare, it can set the week up so much better. Let's get planning:

1. Run through the week

On a Sunday evening take a look through your diary for the week. I use a traditional diary for appointments as we have so many, then bullet journal my daily to-do lists so the diary doesn't get too cluttered. We only have the one car so if my husband needs the car for work or an appointment we work that out too. Taking a few minutes to do this means I'm not suddenly panicking about the logistics when I realise there are consecutive appointments one day. I asterisk something that requires an action out of the ordinary. Next week you can see I'm going on the school trip on Thursday as a parent volunteer, and on Sunday we've a dance class I've still not arranged a babysitter for...! Oops! 

Next week's diary before I've worked out logistics, and I've just noticed I'd forgotten to write in GB which is at 6.30pm on Tuesday, so looks like Colin is taking the boys to the opening of the Square by himself!

Next week's diary before I've worked out logistics, and I've just noticed I'd forgotten to write in GB which is at 6.30pm on Tuesday, so looks like Colin is taking the boys to the opening of the Square by himself!

Make sure to plan your travel time to and from things that are coming up, check logistics for children (who is doing school or day care pick ups and drop offs each day) and ensure you haven't forgotten to arrange a babysitter! This can be a useful time to also jot down a few to-do list items for the week. 

2. Meal plan for the week

This works best immediately after the diary check. By knowing what's on each day you'll know better how much time you'll have to cook or eat. For me, every other Wednesday we do donkey therapy a distance from home in the late afternoon, so dinner is something I'd batch cooked and frozen. Normally my husband gets home before we do so all he has to do is heat the dinner up and cook some rice to go with it. Other days I'm in the house first thing so I might use the slow cooker as I'm around to prep it but then out later on. I enjoy menu planning and cooking and find it's the one part of home keeping I'm good at, but even I need to be disciplined about doing this and setting up the week better. The result of not being stressed at 4pm each day about what's for tea is priceless. Especially when you've preschoolers and that's the part of the day things go crazy!

3. Set uniforms or clothes out for the first couple of days

This has actually been one of the most useful things I've got into the habit of doing. I've started setting out uniforms at the start of the week and it's normally enough to get me to Wednesday, maybe longer if they aren't too dirty too quickly! I set everything out in piles for each day down to socks and pants so there's no searching for them either. I don't always do this for Rory as well but he starts daycare on Mondays from next week so I'll be adding his Monday things into a pile too to make it smoother. This only takes a few minutes of your Sunday evening but time that you easily get back in one morning of not having to run around stressed looking for clean trousers or matching socks!

How about adding in your clothes for the Monday too? Even setting out a top and trousers eliminates that decision fatigue we face every morning when we look in our wardrobes and think there is NOTHING to wear!

4. Get cash out for the month's activities

I just don't do cash. I use my contactless debit card everywhere (hence why I lose control of what I'm spending day to day!) and if I do get notes out at the ATM for school snack / lunch money I end up having to break them to get correct change. By doing a trip once a month to the bank to get bags of pound coins just for school funds and tots groups, it makes such a difference. I don't allow myself to use the money for anything else and I've already made up Daniel's school money for the next two weeks. I've even have written in my diary to call at the bank the week after next for the next month's money. It would be much easier if schools would allow us to bank transfer the amount every half term or something but without that, this is working much better for me, after spending the first two months of the school year scrambling the money on a Wednesday morning (it's due in on Tuesdays) having to resort to my collection of five pence pieces some weeks! 

Last year we went to a lot of mums and tots groups and I used to write in my diary the entry charge (normally a pound or two) so I would have the right money with me. 

5. Relax and take some time to yourself

The tasks above shouldn't take us long. At this point, it's time for a glass of wine or cup of tea and a curl up on the sofa with a book or box set for the evening. Having a relaxing night on Sundays definitely sets us up better for the week ahead. And your mum was right, don't stay up too late doing nothing. Head to bed at a reasonable hour and get as much sleep as those toddlers allow!

What about your Sunday nights? What things are a necessity to keep the week ahead functional?