14 Jan Prep Day: One Day for a Week of Success
I schedule one day a week as a day of preparation, “Prep Day.” A day (ideally to myself), where I multitask all of the housework I know I need to complete in order to make that upcoming week as successful as possible.
Things that if I don’t do, will pile up and make me feel stressed, unhappy, and hinder that week’s progress. Tasks like cooking, cleaning, scheduling, and organizing feel hard to look brightly upon during the long hours of an unpredictable work week. Knowing this, Prep Day is an opportunity to become more self-aware and to plan for the unpredictable by recognizing what is predictable.
For example, I don’t always know how many hours I’ll end up working each day, but I can predict that I’ll have no energy to cook when I get home. Dining out is an option, but can be expensive; financially, physically (those entrées have lots of added calories), and mentally (all of those decisions… what and where would you like it eat? What’s open at this time? It’s like deciding what to watch on Netflix.)
Therefore, one of the most important things I do on my Prep Day is to cook all of my meals for the week. Having my meals prepped for the week enables me to focus what little energy I do have at the end of the day on something more fun and relaxing. It helps me maintain a healthy body weight, wallet size, and relationship with my husband. (See: Restaurant discussions similar to Netflix decisions)
[A Worthwild Tip: For ultimate Prep Day success, I plan my meals, create my grocery list and gather my groceries the day before the planned Prep Day. This is crucial. However, if time does not allow for this, benefits may still be seen if groceries are gathered as early as possible the morning of. You don’t want too much time of to be spent on running errands, you want to spend the time on accomplishing tasks.]
People get really overwhelmed when it comes to cooking for themselves. I used to have clients that would choose to eat next to nothing each day than to learn how to cook – and that I do NOT suggest. But, I hear you. I understand the idea that you have so much to do, that there just isn’t enough time. Keep the bigger picture in mind. Just because it’s not perfect, doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing at all. When it comes down to it, Prep Day is a weekly experiment of you showing yourself how much you can safely multitask, while making it fun, fruitful and fulfilling.
REMEMBER: Cooking, and multitasking for that matter, are skills that take a while to learn. Practicing them each week will help your progress for the next week. Be patient with yourself – and remember don’t be afraid to fail. (See blog: Failing into Yourself)
I look at the other things I need to do on my list that day: Laundry, cleaning, scheduling my week, etc. and start doing those duties when and where it makes sense. Here is an example:
I need to:
Do My Laundry
Cook my Lunch (Salmon & Roasted Veggies) & Dinners (Paleo Turkey Chili) for the week
Organize those meals in refrigerator for easy accessibility
Clean My House; Dishes & Vacuum
- I throw my laundry in the wash. While those clothes are washing, I place my salmon fillets in the oven. After I do that, I cut up my onions for the Paleo Turkey Chili recipe, and start sautéing them in a pan. After those are done softened enough, I add the turkey to brown it.
- As the turkey is browning, I boiling vegetables as side dishes for lunch. Boiling broccoli takes about 7 minutes. As that is boiling, I start cutting up the rest of the produce for the recipe, just a few more vegetables.
- I take the salmon out, and let it cool. I gather the tupperware I need, and organize the salmon it into the containers with the side dishes for lunch. I switch my laundry. And throw in another load.
- Afterwards, I throw the rest of my Paleo Chili together and as it’s cooking, I fold the laundry – intermittently stirring the chili when necessary.
- When the Paleo Chili is done cooking, I let it cool on the stove a bit before I place it in it’s tupperware container. While it’s cooling, I vacuum the living room.
- After I vacuum, I put the chili away and clean up the mess from cooking and do the dishes.
This once exhausting looking list of things to do is complete! A list like this, to most, may look like it takes all day to accomplish, but do you know how long this took me to complete? 90 minutes!
In 90 minutes, I have cooked all (or most of) my lunches and dinners for the week, vacuumed the living room and did one load of laundry (with another one finishing the wash cycle) and sat down to have a cup of coffee in my nice, mostly clean house. Imagine, if you start this at 10a in the morning – at 11:30a – you still have the entire day to complete whatever else your heart desires. Maybe make a few more snacks for the week, maybe more cleaning, or maybe this is how you finally have the time to read a book, to write, go for a walk, to call a friend – to relax. (Breathe in, Breathe Out) Relax.