I like to get my week organised early, so on Sundays (or Saturdays) I plan my week in advance.
I start with my roster, figure out which days I have off and work around them, usually I have two consecutive days off and I make the first one catch up day. Because I’m a shift worker I like to plan my meals in advance, if I’m on mornings or nights it doesn’t matter too much what we have for dinner and I can go to the supermarket on the way home from work, but if I have afternoon shifts I have to be prepared and cook before I go. I also use my roster to plan my workouts, since we live about 20-25mins from the gym and shops, and they’re about 5mins from where I work it makes sense to go to the gym and do my shopping on the way home.
This is an example of the plan I had for this week:
First things first, meals… Plan them according to work, for afternoon shift I need something I can heat and eat. My partner is fussy with what he will eat, so I often leave the ingredients he needs to make dinner and use those days to have the things I know he doesn’t like. I may not necessarily stick to my plan but at least I know I’ve got one, and I go shopping twice a week these days, I buy enough food to get me through the next 3 days.
This week I made a big batch of vegetable soup for my partner as he really likes it and it’s something he can freeze and reheat later, I also made the sausage rolls to freeze as a quick option if I’m tired I can always through some frozen veggies in the steamer or oven while I walk away and relax or do something else. I really like the idea of having emergency options.
Now my plan for the week included satay chicken, a veggie bake, quiche, soup etc. All options I can mix up a little, and a few that will do more than one night and that can be frozen for later. For instance tonight was meant to be a vegetable bake and fish but my partner wasn’t keen so I had a look through the cupboard and found a packet for chilli con carne, so we had that tonight and I can take left overs for my afternoon shift tomorrow.
Shopping! Now once you’ve got a few ideas up your sleeve you can pick a few for the next few days and go shopping for what you think you’ll need, that way when it’s time to cook you don’t have the hassle of having to go shopping, everything’s ready to go. I usually pick up porridge, yoghurt and muesli, that gives me some options for breakfast, I can mix it up with fruit also. I like to use almond milk in the morning, keeping up the protein for each meal. I stick with fruit or something on toast for lunch, most recently avacado, mushrooms, spinach, tomato and cheese grilled. I keep some crackers and different dips around for snacks, I’ll often have celery and carrot sticks with dip as a healthy option. Then there’s just dinners as I already discussed.
To make life easier come meal times, I know of people who like to cut up all their vegetables and fruit on shopping day and store it in the fridge so that when it comes to cook, there’s much less prep time involved. I would like to do this, but I need a few more fridge smart containers to try this.
Also I use an app called “Meal Planner” to plan my meals and it allows you to edit and add recipes, and import recipes from popular websites with ease.
I like to do the majority of the household chores on my first day off, or the afternoon after work of the day before my day off to lighten the load. I would put on a load of washing before bed so I can hang it up first thing in the morning, vacuum, mop, clean the bathroom… All the “once a week” jobs I find it best to do at this time. I like to get the house all clean and tidy, all the washing packed away etc so I know I can relax. Take this time to clean out the car too.
I know somethings can’t wait all week, I find I vacuum every 2-3 days around here, we just get so much fluff, I have no idea where it comes from. I’m assuming ugg boots and socks, but I never seem to see the end of it.
I like to plan my laundry loads if I can. We probably have enough towels and clothes to get us through the week, however I don’t want to spend my whole time off doing laundry. I wash at least every 2-3 days. Since I go to the gym 2 days in a row and then have 1 day of rest and back for 2 days, I figure if I wash on my “rest day” that means I only need 2 gym outfits at least. I can wash my work uniform, my partners clothes and do a load of towels, this way I feel like I’m never truly behind. And, I’ve never had the big pile of laundry on the lounge or wherever else people seem to manage to accumulate laundry, because as I take it off the line I fold it all and make sure it all goes away immediately. There are occasions where this doesn’t happen (especially if my partner brings the washing in), then I do it in the evening while I’m cooking dinner or during a general tidy up. It’s just a little thing that if I didn’t do it would all add up and get on top of me.
I plan my workouts around work too as much as I can. I pick the days firstly, since I do 2:1 (gym:rest) I plan the times to correspond with work. For example if I’m working a morning I go to the gym on the way home, pick up groceries and come home, this works out really well, as I miss most peak hour traffic and I get home just in time to cook dinner, have a shower and relax for the evening. If I’m on an afternoon shift I plan to go to the gym just before work so I go on the way, and I can have a shower there so that’s a bonus too.
I know a lot of us have really busy lifestyles these days but it’s important to get a handle on what you have to do and plan around it. That’s why I do a weekly planner, I make sure I fit everything in and try to make sure I get at least one day of rest for the week. It is very important to plan time for yourself, your family and your friends. That’s why my partner and I have “date night”, it might sound lame, but we just have something quick for dinner, (usually take out) so there’s no dishes and relax with a movie, a game or a combination of both and some drinks. We also always sit and eat dinner together unless I’m working.