Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about time investments. Time feels so sparse. Like there’s not enough of it! And part of it is due to how over-scheduled we are, but part of it is how we manage our time. Over the past year or so, I’ve developed a very intentional practice on how to maximize my weekend hours. I started to notice that by Sunday night I would have this huge wave of panic and sadness mixed with re-entry anxiety for the week ahead. So, I decided to re-claim my time and try to make better use of it by getting super conscious about how to plan ahead.
I know, I know! You hear me talk all the time about mindfulness practices and staying in the moment. But planning ahead helps you STAY in the moment too.
Every Friday night, I take a few minutes to consider 3 things:
- What do I want to do this weekend?
- What needs to get done?
- How will I leave space for spontaneity too?
This helps me map out the precious hours of the weekend ahead! And I actually schedule things into my calendar – even household chores that I know will take more time. I find that if I don’t block off the time, I’ll keep pushing it off and won’t take action on it. Think of it like making an appointment with yourself for things on your to do list!
Every Sunday morning, I try to get up before the kids and dogs are looking for food. I get out my whiteboard weekly calendar, my laptop, my phone and a pad of paper and pen. With a cup of coffee in hand and command central open, I’m ready to map out the week ahead. This typically includes the schedule, appointments, classes, work commitments, as well as a few dinner ideas with paper handy for the grocery list.
Last week, I also decided to try making food ahead for the week. I made 3 mason jar salads, a big batch of quinoa salad with veggies, feta cheese tossed with a light vinaigrette, and a tuna pasta salad. I packaged them all up in small containers with lids so they were easy to grab in a hurry. I also cut veggies and sectioned off grapes and put them in a bunch of baggies for easy grab and go. About mid-week when things start to get hectic and everyone was feeling run down, the food that was prepped ahead took the thinking out of packing lunches or what to add to a quick dinner and things consequently felt less stressful and more relaxed.
What can you do to help your future self?
Put your coffee or tea mug out for the next morning? Do tonight’s dishes so you don’t have to deal with them tomorrow? Make food ahead for the week? Think about the weekend before it happens? Fill your water bottles? Find your yoga mat? Stuff your socks inside your gym shoes? Map out your calendar for the week? Lay out your outfit for the next day?
These seem like such simple ideas, but when we get intentional about how we move through time, it makes a huge difference on our coping, stress-load and perception of daily challenges. Do it today and help your future self!