Updated: Apr 2, 2019
"If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!" - Benjamin Franklin
Could there be a better quote than that?! I think not. No matter what you're doing in life, you must plan and be prepared! Sure there are some who can get by with just winging it, but I guarantee you that those people would do a lot better if they would have just taken the time to plan. One of the top reasons why people fail with their health and fitness goals is because they don’t set aside time to prepare for the upcoming week. This involves food prep, figuring out your workout schedule, making sure you have clean gym clothes and so on… yet many times these are the same people that you will see hanging around on social media or watching their favorite TV shows for hours a day! Well guess what, you CAN have your cake and eat it too, you just need to organize your days better and make the time to get it all in! Maybe it takes waking up an hour earlier, spending one hour less on social media, meal prepping so that all you must do when you get home is pop something that’s already prepared into the oven or microwave, and a huge one – ASKING FOR HELP! A common theme I see in many of my working moms or stay at home moms is that they feel it’s necessary to take on the world themselves and that nothing will get done unless they do it themselves. Well… unfortunately many times they are right, but this is because they have put themselves in that position by taking it all on themselves right from the beginning and pushing away help when it was once offered. If this sounds familiar, the best piece of advice I can give you is to start handing over some of the day-to-day responsibilities to others. If your kids are old enough, teach them (or your spouse) how to cook and help with meal prep. Ask your spouse to pick up groceries, the kids, or take the kids to their after-school activities. Work as a TEAM to come up with a game plan around the household! You might be surprised at what can be accomplished (and how much of your time is freed up) when take the “I” out of “TEAM”!
Here are some of my top ideas to help free up more time during your week:
1. Plan out your meals for the week. Not only will you not have to sit and think about what to make for dinner each night (which can often lead to trips through the drive-thru), but if you have the menu hung somewhere in the kitchen, the family can also take a look at it and help to get meals going that night. One thing that I have found to be really handy is a weekly meal calendar.
2. Pick one or two nights out of the week to meal prep. Most cooked items such as meat, veggies, rice, etc. are good for up to 4 days in the fridge. So if you take an hour out of your day 2x/week, you can have all your meals for the week made in just two hours. *Even better, get help with meal prep and cut that time down even more! Meals that can be made in bulk and frozen are even better!
3. Get a George Foreman grill! You can literally cook chicken in 7 or less minutes on a Foreman vs. 30 - 35 minutes in the oven.
4. Order as many of your groceries as you can online. This will save you countless trips to the grocery store! Amazon is a great place to get all your bulk items like rice, oats, oat flour, etc. There are also other great places like Door to Door Organics where you can purchase all your fruits, veggies, almond milk, meat, etc. and have it delivered to your door! Think about how much time, money AND gas that you'd save if you didn't have to run out to the grocery store several times a week!
5. If it's in your budget, look into meal prep services. There are a ton of great services out there that will make and even sometimes deliver, fresh meals for you! Many of them have several different menu options that will fit what you're looking for. When contemplating this option, something to think about is- sure, a meal service will be more expensive than if you were to cook each of those meals yourself, but think about how much time and effort that will be saved if you don't have to drive to the grocery store, the time spent in the store, driving home, putting away the groceries, washing/chopping/cooking the meals, etc. Your time is valuable and think about how much more you can accomplish (working out!) with all that time you'll save!
6. Check out local restaurants to see if they offer bulk, cooked food. For example, we have a place near by that makes the best pulled chicken and you can purchase it by the pound. On nights where we have a busy schedule, we will just pick up a pound or so of the chicken and have a couple of meals made for the week! The pulled chicken is great with eggs for breakfast, on a salad, a sprouted grain bun, tacos or by itself. An alternative- just throw a bunch of chicken breast in a crockpot and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
7. Have everything laid out the night before. This includes having all your meals, snacks, vitamins, protein powder, BCAA's, etc., your work and gym clothes. If you're one that can shower the night before, even better!
8. Track your days. For the next week, take the time to write down hour-by-hour exactly what you have done. You might find interesting things like: I spent 3 hours of my day scrolling through Facebook, or that you went to the grocery store 4 different times. Once you've gotten a good idea of where all the time wasters are in your day, create a daily schedule or routine and follow it! It can be something like:
6am. Wake Up
6:30 - 7am: Make coffee, eat breakfast
7am - 8 am: Shower and get ready for work
8:10: Leave for work
8:30: Get to work
8:45: Read and answer emails
9:30 - 11:30: Work on XYZ
12:30: Read and answer emails
1:30 - 4:30: Work on XYZ
4:30: Read through and answer emails one last time
5:00: Leave work and head to gym
... and so on. Not only will this make you more efficient at work, but in your personal life as well! There are even some great apps for your phone that can help you out with planning your days and staying on track such as Productive. If you're a stay at home parent, you can do the exact same thing with the different daily household tasks such as cleaning, laundry, picking up the kids, etc.
At the end of the day, you are the deciding factor whether or not you will fail or succeed. So do yourself a favor and take time out of your week to plan and prepare, ask for help and find things to help make your life a little bit simpler!
Stayed tuned tomorrow for some of my latest favorite meal prep items that are great for snacks and meals!