Meal Planning and The Busy Mother

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busy mother looks at her computer meal planning

You may have heard that planning your meal times saves time and money, but what if you don't even have the time to do the planning? Read my tips on how to add them to your busy schedule every week.

Tip 1: change your mindset

For a long time, writing a menu for me took a lot of postponement. I knew Sunday afternoon was coming and I thought, "Aghh … I have to plan my meals for the week." I kept putting it off, putting it off and doing everything I could NOT to schedule meals. However, if I did it right now, it wouldn't take more than ten minutes. I am here to show you that it is possible!

The first step in incorporating meal planning into your life is to change your mindset to the "just do it" mindset. One of the most revolutionary books I've read (and I love reading about time management) is called Eat That Frog! This is the ultimate way to get past procrastination and get more things done! Brian Tracy named the book based on a famous quote from Mark Twain: If you eat a frog first thing in the morning, it's probably the worst thing you do all day. “You have certain tasks to do, but you can't because you don't want to! It hangs over your head and paralyzes you from doing the rest of your business. I find it very relevant to home management. It's so easy to put things off. Nobody gives you deadlines, but things have to be done. I'm not saying meal planning is the WORST thing you can do all day. It is not! But if it's on your list of things to do and you keep putting it off, nothing else will be done.

There are dishes, there is laundry, there are bills to be paid. Procrastination doesn't make it go away and there are no deadlines. As a home manager, think of certain things as your frog. Stop thinking about it and just choose to eat this frog and do it!

Tip 2: make it a habit

Once you have decided to eat this frog and plan your meals out, make it a habit!

To make it a habit, choose your time and place with a trigger. Create an environment that supports this habit. If you start your week on Monday, schedule meals in the same place at the same time every Sunday. What is the trigger? Children sleep on Sunday morning or watch a specific show every Sunday morning. Make this the trigger that starts your meal plan session.

Tip 3: create your environment to be successful

A clean, organized work area doesn't just apply to an office job. You need a special place to do your chores, pay your bills, write your grocery list, and plan your meals. Whether it's the kitchen table, counter, or office that you can close the door to, it has to be clean and organized! It's amazing how a clean workspace can help you be more creative and effective in your planning. If you write on piles of paper, cookbooks, can't find your pen, etc., your process will take twice as long.

Tip 4: avoid distractions!

This can be the hardest part. However, being distracted can literally double your working hours. No multitasking. Research has shown that when we try to do multiple tasks, we are actually doing much less than when we can focus on doing one thing at a time. Don't open browsers beyond recipes. Don't reply to notifications on your phone. It's only ten minutes! Don't go into the internet rabbit hole. Of course there are children! We love these little distractions. If you want them to be part of the process, they can be! Keep them informed by letting them know what you are doing step by step. Get their feedback on the planned meals. If you're not ready to include them, make a habit of doing meal planning before you wake up or after you fall asleep at night! Remember, it only takes 10 minutes without the distraction. So if you can get up 10 minutes before you wake up, you win!

In retrospect:

1. Eat this frog! You will choose to just do it. Let your motto be: "Do it and eat that frog!"

2. You will make it a habit by having a trigger at the same time and place every week.

3. You create a work area that is clean, organized, and free of distractions.

You can do it. Make this the year you make meal planning a part of your life. You will be amazed how much it can change everything about the way you cook for your family, how it actually saves you so much time, and most importantly, how it gives you so much spiritual energy back!

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