I am all about various mantras in life. One of them is “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. All of us individuals are aware that we have limited amount of time, energy and other important resources. And yet I am faced with individuals who are brave enough to invest these resources without giving it enough thought! And the consequences of this act can be harmful to themselves or others. Now, I know most of us plan well before buying a house or a car or committing to a long term relationship such as a marriage. Then why is that we take ‘every day’ decisions for granted when these decisions can have a long-term impact on our life as well? I don’t think planning comes naturally to everyone, you are either forced to learn to plan while growing up or your adult life demands that you learn to do so. For those that know me, know I am all about planning or I couldn’t function. I am a part time working mum of two with no family here to help me with everyday chores. And I take a lot of pride in the fact that my family knows what they can expect and what is expected of them because we plan. Planning is a learnt skill, like driving or cooking and requires motivation to undertake. When I talk about everyday planning, I am talking about planning family routine, activities, meals etc. Lets look at some factors impacting the process of everyday planning:
You need to find a reason to plan, or else, why would you? Make a list of areas in your everyday life that you find challenging enough to cause you some uncomfortable feelings. For e.g.-
Household Mess everywhere, no help from others
Kitchen Despise cooking, wasting food, takes up too much time
Kids Bosses of the household, run a muck
Now prioritize the list that you have made. You will not be able to make significant and long term changes to all the areas of your lives overnight. So pick one are that impacts you and your family the most. This list will be a good reminder of your struggles and will help you plan your planning process.
You cannot run a household on your own, you are a team and you need the involvement of other members to help you run things smoothly. So have a family meeting, address your concerns and ask for support from others . I find planned activity works better if the other members have a say in it as well.
It is important to be realistic about your expectations of yourself and others and hence some plans need to be flexible. The negotiation needs to happen early on so that the plans are easier to follow through with.
Following is a list of my challenges and how I overcome them:
Time – I have a set routine for myself and my family. This way I know how much time I have to undertake various activities and my children know what to expect. For school days we have a more defined routine after school consisting of snack time around 4pm, piano practice at 4:30pm, shower for the older one at 5pm and dinner at 5:15pm, 5:30pm is my quiet chai time when the two siblings run a muck on their own and from 5:45 to 6:30 is my sit down time with them to do what they want. Even though I am doing things with them once they are home from school and child care, I am not paying them individual attention – so I found it useful to allocate a time slot when I am all about them and no fire in the house can take me away from them lol. 6:30pm is bath for the younger one when the older one does his school reading and gets ready for bed. Once the baby is in bed by 6:50ish, its story time /reading time for the older one and in bed by 7 – 7:15 latest!
Food/Cooking – Its no secret, I do not like cooking! I do not enjoy the process on most days but still take pride in the fact that I cook homemade healthy meals for my children with the exception of one outside/shop bought meal a week. Therefore, I like to keep it simple! Every Friday my son (6) and I sit down and make a list of what we are eating from Monday to Sunday (breakfast is the same for us 7 days a week, snacks for school, lunches and dinners). We take into account what we have in the fridge in terms of fresh produce and stuff in the pantry – so we are not wasting any products. We also consider any social activity we have got planned for that week which means I don’t have to cook those meals!!!! Lol. I shop for groceries every Saturday and even though I may run to the shop to buy more milk or fruits, I am not buying anything for the main meals. I also make rice days close to each other and roti days close to each other. So I make bulk rice for a couple of days and enough roti dough for a couple of days too.
I am going through my own weight loss journey, and planning for meals help me make healthier choices. Plus it highlights any planned ‘cheat days’ I have coming up, such as an unavoidable social event – so I will be more mindful of my workout and diet routine the days leading up to it.
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