Planning for a Successful Week

I stumbled upon Lauren's gorgeous instagram feed an_organized_life many months ago and immediately became enamored. As a devotee of home organization and the pursuit of a minimalist lifestyle, Lauren was a girl after my own heart. I am thrilled that she has graciously extended me the offer of writing a guest post for her blog.

Regardless of where we may be in our life, it's safe to say the average person's life is busier now than ever before. With all of the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, even doing routine tasks like an oil change can have us fighting for time within our week. To combat the endless frustration of trying to make it all work, I came up with 4 techniques that help me accomplish all my goals and savor the free time we all need to refresh and rejuvenate our spirits. I hope these tips will help inspire you to have a more fulfilling and  stress free week.

Write it Down

I cannot stress enough how important this is to even begin planning your week. We've all had that last minute call reminding us of an appointment we had forgotten about entirely. That alone is enough to send us into a tailspin to find the time or cancel the appointment outright. When we take the time to jot the information down on a calendar, planner, or even typing a reminder into your cell phone , we’ve taken the first step towards planning our schedule. I've tried numerous times to just remember everything instead of writing it down and without fail there was always something that had slipped by. Anytime during your day, take the time to write down the items you need to pick up from the store, the appointments that must be kept, and any routine maintenance that mustn't be overlooked.

Meal Plan for the Week Ahead

I have a family of picky eaters, myself included, so all of the make ahead crock pot freezer meals don’t work for our family. We prefer our food cooked fresh and to eat what we're in the mood for on that particular day. It is definitely too expensive and time consuming to go to the store every time we're in the mood for a particular dish so instead I've come up with our weekly meal plans. By doing a weekly meal plan our food stays fresh, we have zero to very little waste at the end of the week, and it's incredibly easy to pick 7 days worth of food options that everyone will enjoy or has suggested. I also make the more time consuming meals on days when we will have the least amount of activities. For example, I'll save a meal like chicken parmigiana that has multiple steps to prepare and dishes to clean for Sunday nights when we have very few activities planned. Whereas I'll prepare a fresh chef salad and a French baguette on a busy Monday night after choir lessons and a trip to Target. Having meals prepared for your family should be a time of togetherness and memory making, so take the time and plan ahead to enjoy these moments.

Practice Easy Night Time Routines to Make Mornings Merrier

Every evening before bed I complete a few simple tasks to make my mornings run smoother. Take the time to visualize your mornings and you should be able to see a pattern. Take the things that have you racing around and ask yourself if they can be done the night before. My daughter and I bring a packed lunch to school/work everyday because we're not big school cafeteria food fans. So one of the tasks I complete before bed is to grab all the sides from our pantry and place them in our lunch bags. I also take the cold items and drinks and group them together in the fridge, so when I wake up in the morning I can simply toss in those grouped items and lunch is done. Since we are going to eat breakfast every morning it's a given that I lay out the bowl, tea cup, or whatever we may need on the counter so when we wake up it's ready to prepare. Another big time saver is to check the weather and dress accordingly. Every night I plan what my daughter and I will be wearing for the next day based on the weather forecast. If it's going to rain, I take the time to put our umbrellas, raincoats, and boots on the mudroom hooks or winter hats and gloves in her backpack so they're easily accessible in the morning before we walk out the door. Having our clothes and accessories laid out the night before makes it easy to get ready and be out the door on time. My last, and favorite trick to an easy morning is to clean my kitchen the night before. I make sure the sink is cleared, dishes are put away, and counters are clean and free of clutter. You deserve to feel relaxed and refreshed when you wake up in the morning, and having made your morning easy and enjoyable can set the tone for your whole day.

Learn to Say No

This one is by far the hardest to adjust to utilizing but by far one of the most beneficial. Our time is precious and what little free time we have during the week should be used to relax, reward, and inspire us. It can be hard to say no to invitations from friends and family but sometimes it is necessary to maintain peace of mind. I certainly don't recommend turning down every invitation because a social life is vitally important to our well being as well, but if we truly would rather spend time doing something else or completing a task that will be beneficial to us, it is okay to say no. Not only will you free up your valuable time to complete whatever pursuits are beneficial to you, but it will also make the times you do accept an invitation a thrilling and awaited time to reconnect with those you care about.

I truly hope these tips can inspire you and help you in your goals for a simplified and successful week. If you have any questions on how to further streamline your week, please feel free to contact me at .

Best Regards,

Alexis ( Harlow and Ava)

Connect with Alexis

Alexis is the beautiful instagrammer behind harlowandava. She is truly a kindred spirit and shares my love of all things organized, planning, novels and old TV shows. Check her out on Instagram or Twitter today!