Life Matters: Why I Always Prep for the Week Ahead

Hello weekend!

Time to catch up on sleep and relax right? But oh there is so much to do! See friends & movies (or both if you like to multitask!), do the house chores, get involved in your favourite hobby and get ready for the week ahead.

Wait, by the time you get to the end of the list is there really any time left to ‘get ready for the week ahead’? And what exactly does this involve?

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For some it may be just making a to-do list for the week, for others it may be a much more complex operation. Unfortunately, I fall in the latter category.

For me getting ready for the week ahead means planning all of my meals and my outfits (for work and for the gym) . Sounds simple enough but it can take a good part of the day and leave me drained and unwilling to venture much further than the sofa (after doing all the cleaning and laundry of course).

A lot of people wonder why I do what I do and how I do it. Let me answer those questions for you.

1.Why I spend a good part of every weekend preparing for the week ahead

I work out 5 days a week. I also work, in an office, 5 days a week (ha, no surprise there!). And I am the type of person who needs a minimum of 8 hours of sleep a night, plus having sleeping problems does not help.

This means I have to be very organised and make sure that my time during the work week is optimised and used efficiently. Having everything ready on the weekend, means I only need to pull out whatever I need for the next day the evening before. I.e. it saves time and energy. And nothing beats coming home tired after a long day and knowing that you can just relax and have a nice dinner without having to do countless little chores.

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But most importantly it helps me to stay consistent on my journey to achieve my goals. Having already decided on my meal plan for the week helps me avoid temptation or simply falling off track because I was too hungry and had nothing to eat. I know what I have put on my plate and I know it is good for me. I also don’t have to faff around thinking what to eat or what to wear – I can just get on with important business. No more wasting time on minor life decisions.

Think of Steve Jobs. Ever wondered why he always wore the same black turtleneck sweater? It was because it saved him time. You see, he didn’t have to think every morning what to wear. He had more important decisions to make. It allowed him to concentrate on the big picture. And he’s not alone – Barack Obama, Mark Zuckerberg, Albert Einstein and many other successful people often have a signature ‘uniform’ which helps them pare down decisions.

Now imagine how many times a day we have to make decisions about what we eat? Let’s say the average is 3 to 6 times a day. Add to that all the other minor decisions of the day – what to wear, whether to take the lift or the stairs, when to eat, etc. Now that is a lot of time to spent on thinking about minor details and it can lead to ‘decision fatigue’ – making poor decisions.

2. How I get ready to face the coming week

Screenshot_2014-11-10-08-12-03All you need is a strong will and a bit of discipline. Yes, preparing all those things in advance can take up to half a day, but you (and your mind) are free of petty decisions and tasks for the rest of the week.

Typically, on working days I’m up by 6.30am and leave the house by 7.30am. I don’t return home until around 7.30pm and as I usually struggle to fall asleep I always aim to be in bed by 9.30 – 10pm.

This leaves me with barely a couple of hours before bedtime, and I wouldn’t want to use this precious little time for cooking, making sandwiches or ironing clothes. Oh, no. That time is sacred.

So instead, on one weekend day I plan my meals and make a grocery list, do the shopping and cooking, iron the clothes and put everything in order. That way all I have to do during the week is make a quick salad in the evening and wash my food containers, but no more. The rest of the time is spent unwinding from the day’s stress.

We all get the same 24 hours in a day, but how we choose to spend them is what makes the difference. Nobody said it’s easy, but if you have a dream and a goal you have to find ways to work towards it. Like they say – there is no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs.

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