This is Day 18 of our 31 Days of Less and More series. To read all the posts in order, start with Day 1 and check out our overview page to see the topics for the entire month.
(photo by Patty)
All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.
I have something to confess. I’m not a planner by nature. I’m a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants girl who’s always looking for a better offer. I’ve spent the better part of 20 years trying to find some sort of day planner/calendar that would work for me. I’d do it faithfully for about 3 weeks and then hurl myself off the wagon. I don’t know why, but that’s just the way I’m wired. My spontaneous, creative spirit cannot be tamed. But I have found a few strategies that seem to work, even for my right-brained, wild and free, always distracted by something shiny self. The first one I call Sunday Speed Prep.
Here’s how Sunday Speed Prep works.
On Sundays after church, we rest and relax. We watch football, read, nap, sit by the fireplace, play outside or whatever else kind of refreshment we can drum up. For the past few years, since I started homeschooling, I’ve taken an hour or two on Sunday evenings to prep for the week. If I haven’t already done it over the weekend, I look over my menu plan and make any adjustments I need to make, based on what’s going on in the evenings. Every other Monday, I’m the lunch lady at school, so I make sure and do a crock pot or slow cooking meal on those Mondays. Since I’ve initiated my meal planning guide, using my iPhone, it only takes a few minutes to make some tweaks to it. Then, I throw a load or two of laundry in and clean a bathroom or two.
I try to work really fast, with the eye of the tiger. I’m in it to win it.
I spit shine my kitchen sink using the Fly Lady’s technique and I get the coffee ready to brew the next morning. I make a list of things I need to accomplish during the week, in order of priority or by day. I make my girls do the same thing at the same time. We jump up, after a day of lounging— and prep like crazy for the week. It doesn’t take that much time, but it makes SUCH a huge difference on Monday morning and for the rest of the week.
My other favorite planning tip, that even us non-planners can do, is to write down a list of three things, either at night or first thing in the morning that you want to accomplish that day.
Get in the habit of doing the hardest thing on the list first.
I learned that from reading a book called Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time (suggested by Ruth!) because even though we all procrastinate, you don’t want to procrastinate the most important things. I highly recommend reading this little book—it will help in your goal setting and productivity. It’s made a huge difference for me!
Challenge Day 18: Starting tonight, write down three things each evening that you want to accomplish tomorrow so your brain is ready to go as soon as you wake up. Commit to waking up 15-30 minutes earlier than normal. Use that time to plan your day and to do and to ensure that the rest of your day goes a little smoother. This could include getting a head start on breakfast, putting dinner in the crockpot, eating a frog off your to do list, doing personal devotions. Then, this Sunday, give my Sunday Speed Prep a try and see if it doesn’t make for a better start to your week. Let us know what you did!
Be sure to read Ruth’s corresponding post, Less Catch-Up.