Let me tell you a story of two women.
One woman wakes up on Monday morning already frazzled. She realizes she’s woken about thirty minutes too late (not that bad, really), so she scrambles to get her kids up and ready while throwing on some clothes of her own. She leads the pack downstairs and opens the cupboards to grab the supplies for oatmeal…only to realize they’re out of milk. Bagels it is! Except one is moldy, so she has her kids split the other one and throws a banana on the table for them to share as well. She starts her coffee while yelling at the kids to EAT FASTER and gathers a variety of snacks into lunchboxes and calls it a “snack lunch”. Throwing a hat over yesterday’s ponytail, she hustles those kids into the car and pulls into drop-off just in time. Breathing a deep sigh of relief, she makes her way back home to find her kitchen in shambles, laundry half-done, and a zillion things to do before she can actually start work for the day.
She feels defeated before her week even begins.
Another woman wakes up on that same Monday morning with a few minutes to spare. She has time to read her Bible and make herself a couple of eggs. She gets the kids up and they get dressed (though not without arguments) in the clothes laid out for them the night before. Everyone heads downstairs for breakfast, which doesn’t take too long because there’s a quiche in the fridge, all ready to be served. Lunches are almost ready to go, so she just pulls two sandwiches from the freezer and pops one in each lunch box. As the kids finish eating, she tidies the kitchen, reminds those kids to SPEAK KINDLY, IT’S ONLY 7AM FOR GOODNESS SAKE, and throws on a hat over yesterday’s ponytail. They hustle out the door, she drops the kids off at school, and heads home to start her work day. She re-starts last night’s laundry, sets herself a timer, and gets to work.
She’s not perfect by any means, but she starts her week with a little more victory than defeat. And that feels good.
What’s the difference between these two women? Sunday prep, my friends. SUNDAY PREP.
Woman #1: Winging-It Wendy
Let’s call that first woman Winging-It Wendy. I’ve been her before – I think we all have, right? But she’s not my favorite person to be.
Why? Because she’s exhausted all the time, she always feels behind, and everything is an emergency.
Here’s the thing – we can be Wendy for a day or two. But if we’re Wendy every day, we’re going to lose our minds, our tempers, and spend a whole lot more money.
Winging it does not work for long. Winging it, with no plan at all, is really just survival. We’re not going anywhere with purpose or intention, we’re just praying that we’ll make it from one day to the next.
This is NOT the way we were intended to live!
Woman #2: Mostly-Prepared Penelope
Penelope, on the other hand, used her Sunday to make her Monday go as smoothly as possible. I have been Penelope too, and I LOVE the weeks I’m Penelope!!! They go so much more peacefully, I eat healthier, I’m nicer to my kids, the house is cleaner, and I get more work done.
The difference, at least in my own life, is Sunday Prep. I cannot stress the importance of this enough – taking an hour or two to prepare for your week is absolutely CRUCIAL for the woman who wants her life to be more steadfast than scattered.
How to quit winging-it and start prepping for the week ahead:
Sunday afternoons are my time to get organized and ready for the week ahead. Do I always do this? No. But do I notice a difference in my week when I DO? Absolutely, YES!!
After church, we come home and have lunch as a family. If my dad and brother come over, everyone usually plays video games on the couch after lunch, while I sit at the kitchen table and plan. If no one comes over, I give my kids a quiet time while I plan. Here’s the most important take-away: On Sundays, I PLAN.
Pssst…you don’t have to do this on a Sunday, of course. Saturdays work great, too! Or Fridays. The idea, though, is that you prep for the week before Monday hits.
4 Areas of Sunday Prep:
- Schedule: When I first sit down with my planner, I map out our week. I copy everything from our shared google calendar into my planner, and color code it so that I know exactly who is going to be at what, and when. Everything functions around the schedule, so this comes first!
- Meal Plan: Meals come next. Once I know what our evenings look like for the week, I plug in some relevant meals according to our theme days + which days we are going to be home to eat. I also jot down some loose plans for breakfasts, lunches and snacks. (I do all of this on the “look ahead” page in our planner!)
- Meal Prep: After planning is done, I use Sunday afternoons to prep any food that I can possibly prep to make the week easier. If I’m going to make a quiche for breakfast, I do that on Sunday afternoons. I’ll usually chop up fruit, bag snacks, make sandwiches to freeze, and brown meat for tacos and spaghetti sauce.
- Quick Tidy: Last, but not least, I love to a clean start on a Monday! That means that on Sunday, I’m gathering the family to do a quick pick-up of the downstairs, at the very least. I clear off all surfaces and make piles on the floor by the couch according to each member of our family. Each person then puts away everything in their own pile, while I wipe up the kitchen and organize any leftover areas.
Honestly, altogether our Sunday Prep takes about an hour, sometimes two hours at the MOST! I don’t want to give up my whole Sunday (we do try to rest on Sundays!), I just want to be faithful to prepare well, so that my family and I can have the best week possible.
And this one hour (or two) changes EVERYTHING about the week ahead for me!
When I walk into a brand new week with a basic understanding of the schedule, knowing what our meals will be, having easy access to healthy snacks + lunches in the fridge, and with a pretty-clean house, I feel so much more confident and ready to take on the week ahead.
When I neglect Sunday Prep and just try to wing-it come Monday morning, my week feels so much more stressed, and I spend a whole lot more energy (trying to constantly catch up) and money (eating out, buying new socks since we’re out of clean ones) than I ever needed to.
Winging-it does NOT work for me. Sunday Prep, on the other hand, is a total game-changer!