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Failing to plan is planning to fail.

Do you feel that if you don’t get everything done in preparation for the week ahead of you, you’re just setting yourself up for a week of chaos, with kids, work, school etc? There’s nothing worse than feeling chaotic. Here’s how one productive day per week helps my family go through the week calmly and easily, without too much stress.

Start by making a list of common bugbears that could be prevented by forward-planning and then block out some time, dedicated to ensuring that these are tackled in the lead-up to a busy week.

It doesn’t have to be a Sunday… it doesn’t even have to an entire day. Just dedicated time each week to prepare for the week ahead, both practically and mentally. Once you nail a weekly routine, your time management skills in all other areas will grow exponentially.

Any of my closest friends and family know that Sunday is a ‘Do Not Disturb’ day for me.

I don’t like to make social plans unless absolutely necessary. As a full-time working mumma, I NEED at least one full day to prepare for the week ahead, both mentally and practically.

Sure, I can mentally wind down in the evening. I could also scramble each evening throughout the week to get loads of washing washed and folded, before and after work. I could add two extra chores to my weeknight evenings. I could prepare and cook each healthy dinner on the night that we intend to eat, rather than plan ahead, but then dinner wouldn’t be served until later and then we have a stroppy toddler to contend with.

All of this would leave me feeling chaotic and stressed out. I don’t like feeling chaotic stressed out. It makes me anxious which gives off a bad energy for the other members of my family. It leaves me feeling anxious for the week of work ahead, especially when my Monday-Friday job can be chaotic as situations arise at the drop of a hat.

‘Do Not Disturb’ Sundays work best for my time management.

This doesn’t mean we aren’t flexible to have visitors or make a small outing but if I can’t at least prepare one extra meal for the week, do any routine cleaning or gardening, and get the washing done, then I am not going to enjoy any other activities that we end up having lined up.

Why? Because my mind wanders to the hamper of unwashed clothes that need to be speedily washed, dried and folded before we go to bed that night.

What do I do on a Sunday that makes Sundays so important to a cohesive week?

#1 Meal preparation

I look at my meal plan for the week (that I write up on Saturdays) and find whatever I can get done on a Sunday for week time meal preparation.

Usually, Sundays result in Sunday night’s dinner, then the meat and vegetables are put in the slow cooker pot for Monday night’s dinner, and the vegetables for Tuesday’s dinner are cut and stored in the fridge so that making healthy meals after work is as easy as possible.

You can get my meal planning and preparation guide here to help you prepare healthy meals for the family as a busy mum.

#2 Washing

I NEEEED a full day to get all of the family’s washing sorted. If the washing goes undone, my time management for the rest of the week flies out of the window. I go to work so early in the morning, (I leave the house by 6am to get to work by 7am) so hanging up washing is rarely done before in morning, especially in winter, when it’s cold and dark.

So a load or two might be done during the week when I can hang it out before bed, but the majority of the washing needs to be washed and folded on the weekend so we aren’t scrambling through wash baskets throughout the week.

To make our clothes washing system efficient (because I HATE folding), we have configured our laundry room to allow us space to fold the clothes as we bring them in so that we aren’t looking for other surfaces, out of the way from the toddler tornado that has a penchant for knocking over nicely folded piles of clothing.

We have a standalone cabinet that provides ample storage underneath for additional linen, and then a wide benchtop which allows me to fold washing as soon as it comes in.

I have found that since we implemented this system, washing and folding is so much less painful, especially as I detest the washing and folding process.

#3 Additional house projects

Although our house is great in terms of liveability, there are many additions that we want to make to our living space, in addition to the general household and garden maintenance, which means Sundays are perfect for little projects.

I like to spend a bit of time each weekend pottering around the house getting little tasks checked off the list of things we want to do to our house. One weekend, we spent an hour installing a curtain rod in my daughter’s room and hanging block out curtains that my sister gave us (thrifty win!) because she didn’t want them anymore.

In the summer, we spend time sorting out our backyard and garden. I want my daughter to experience a beautiful backyard and be able to entertain herself with the beauty of nature when she is older, rather than being confined to the house because the backyard isn’t something she can enjoy.

#4 Enough time to unwind mentally

By taking it easy and doing all my preparation for the week at my own pace and not feel that it has to be cramped into evenings or a few hours on one weekend day, I get to prepare mentally for the week as well and not feel rushed and anxious. If I start the week rushed, anxious and stressed then it does not bode well for the rest of the week ahead.

By pottering around the house, with no pressure to be social or to entertain people, we can ensure that E has her routine nap and prepare herself for a week at daycare and grandma’s, both of which are fun, but tiring for a tiny toddler.

#5 Spending time as a family

As working parents, my husband and I don’t get to spend much time together with our little girl as a family, because we divide and conquer throughout the week; with him doing the morning daycare run and myself doing the afternoon.

So blocking Sunday out most weekends allow us to spend decent time together, as a family. We start the day with Pancake Sunday  (where Adam cooks breakfast) and we follow this through with a Skype call to his parents that live interstate.

Then we both help clean and play with E. We all potter around and sometimes meal preparation and house projects are an entire family affair. I often feel the ‘mum guilt’ of not spending enough quality family time with E because of work so Sundays together as a family helps assuage some of that guilt.

How do you prepare for a busy week?

Now you’ve heard about why I’m antisocial on Sundays and why I think they are the most important day to a productive week, let me know what you do on a Sunday. Do you use Sundays to set your week up? If you don’t, how do you prepare for a week of busyness? Tell me all of your tips and tricks to improve my Sunday routine.

Don’t forget to download my free meal planning guide to help you have a more productive week.

5 easy ways busy parents use sundays to maximise their productivity for the week ahead
5 easy ways busy parents use sundays to maximise their productivity for the week ahead

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