Make A Plan: One Week At A Time

Jen

Frugal SteppingStones.com

Make a plan, then make that plan happen.

I am starting the third of seven class sessions in my grad school program. The credit hours are increasing, as is the amount of work. I’m starting to stress out, so that means I’m going to have to plan my weeks very carefully to make sure I have uninterrupted time blocked out throughout the week.

I know our default can be eating out when thinks get busy or work/school takes longer than expected, so each week needs a good Plan B, or we will be spending more money than needed.  This past weekend was a prime example. I wish I’d had a freezer meal ready when we got sick with family visiting.

My school-week starts each Tuesday. Most weeks I will have either Research or Ethics class, but two weeks of this 10-week session I will have double-duty, with work due in each class. I know my Research class ends with a huge 20 page paper, and I am supposed to be thinking ahead to this time next year, and thinking of a quantitative research project to do for my master’s thesis. It’s important, therefore, that I really take my time with this class work.

What you see here is similar to what I keep in my To-Do Word document, an ongoing and ever changing checklist that helps me balance the dozens of plates I have to keep in the air. If you ever wondered how I can do so many things, this is it: make a plan, then make that plan happen.

Here’s my plan for this week:

School:

Six pieces of class work due by Saturday at midnight. My husband stayed home sick Tuesday thanks to recovery from the awful stomach bug from Hades, and I sequestered myself in our bedroom working on school work. I was able to finish all six, and only need to respond to classmates’ posts throughout the week. I will do this on Friday morning. My plan B would have been to spend Saturday morning doing my homework.

I have a scholarship I would like to apply to, and need to pull that together this week. I will work on this Thursday.

I have additional work too, though. I have to submit several completed assignments with an explanation of how they meet my master’s requirements to my school. I need to start with submitting my resume this week as the first assignment. I’ve slated this for Thursday.

Work:

I picked up a shift for today, and it’s my only one for this week. If our volume is high, I could end up working later. Dinner Plan A is throwing potatoes in the oven at 4. Plan B is bologna or cheese sandwiches. No takeout!

I am also trying to get reimbursed for my December internet- $50- and need to follow up with my manager about that.

Kids: 

Cub scouts Tuesday, but we skipped it to avoid spreading the virus around in case it was still contagious. Everyone was better and eating somewhat, but who wants to take a chance?

Dance for the preschooler Thursday, which means I have to get her birthday dinner on the table early, by 5 PM. I’ll need to be done with my tasks for the day by 4 pm.

We have a slumber party Friday evening for my son and his friend. I’ll need to use the bread machine twice that day to make pizza dough and cinnamon rolls. The dough takes 90 minutes, so I need to have it in by 330. I also need to make cookies, which I can do while the dough is rising.

On Saturday afternoon, I am taking our daughter E to a children’s theater. We will come back home by 6 and dinner will be needed. I plan on using up some things in the pantry to make Lentil Shepherd’s Pie, so that means it will need to be prepped and in the fridge before we go. I will probably do this around lunch time.

Home:

I know people who have spotless and well organized homes, but I am not one of them. I settle for clean enough. My kids are responsible for picking up their toys, putting their clothes away, and cleaning the bathrooms. We had illness this week, so I needed to do a once-over myself to make sure it was sanitary again. I will probably be bleaching the bathrooms on my lunch break today now that everyone is well.

Our children are spoiled by family, and we have an overwhelming amount of stuff. I am working on giving/selling the stuff we no longer need. At some point I want to finish our basement, and that means going through the Mt Everest piles in the basement. I want to post at least 3 things on Ebay/FB groups this week.

I will have to plan a menu, plan my grocery run, and hit the stores on Saturday morning. I will probably do the planning tonight.

Blog:

I pre-write and schedule posts as much as I can. I usually add to a draft of Frugal Steps and Stumbles all week, and do a final edit on Friday nights. That lets me avoid relying on a faulty memory. I will need to do a final edit Friday night, and write my grocery trip and menu plan posts. I will also need to be thinking ahead about next week’s posts. I try and do the research and writing for them on Sunday.

I have a few upkeep things I need to do as well, like add a blogroll page.

I want to go through my Elite Blog Academy coursework again to generate some ideas, but I don’t think I will have time this week. If I do, it will be on Sunday. (If you are interested in the course, registration opens next Tuesday, on February 22nd).

I have a second website I have been planning, and I need to finalize my decision on hosting by Friday.

Health/Fitness:

If I don’t schedule it in, it will never happen. I walk almost every day on my treadmill desk without fail. Yesterday, I got my walk in before I hunkered down to do my school work. Today is a preschool day, and I am working, so I start work at 9. I got my son on the bus at 8, and hopped on the treadmill until right before 9, when I had to drop my daughter off at school and get the toddler to the sitter. It takes me all of 10 minutes round trip to drop off both girls, since preschool and the sitter are in the neighborhood. This grants me precious time for other things.

On non-work days, like the rest of the week, I let my girls watch PBS Kids for an hour every morning after getting my son on the bus so I can hit the treadmill. Some may cry foul that I let them watch TV for an hour, but I figure Daniel Tiger can’t rot their brains too much, and I need to take care of myself. If I do it first thing, it is done, and we can spend the rest of the day playing and doing chores. Sometimes we go to the Y, but I know myself well; it’s freezing cold and I have no motivation to schlep two kids across an icy parking lot. I walk first thing Saturday morning while everyone else is still sleeping.

On days I lift weights, we use the You Tube Roku app on the TV, and they usually do it with me. I will probably only do weights Wednesday and Friday this week.

Downtime:

This is just as important. I like to leave Friday evenings open for family movie night. Sunday is designated for doing enjoyable things, like writing, watching a movie or outdoor time if it’s nice, and reading. I try and leave one weekday as a low-pressure home day, generally on a Tuesday or Thursday when there is no preschool. This week our “bum” day was Tuesday for the kids, while I did school work, and Thursday will be a “bum” day for me, where I will do writing work or simple cleaning chores at home and avoid errands out.

How much do you plan your week?

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