Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Planning vs. Flexibility
I am a planner by nature. I thrive in a well-planned environment. I have learned that since having a baby and going back to work that planning is what holds it all together and I feel like our household would be chaos if I did not plan. However, I have also learned in the last few months is that flexibility is what makes a well thought out plan realistic in the actual world. I have found this especially true in two specific areas: Meal Planning & Exercise Plans
There are many different systems for meal planning and I really think it depends on the family as to which way works for you. This is how I do it....
Every Thursday night I sit down and figure out what we have going on in the upcoming week (Fri-Thurs.) so I know what nights I need to make dinner. I typically don't make a homemade dinner when my husband is not home and just eat leftovers or cereal. Then I think about what I have on hand. I usually base this off of what meats we have available and try to come up with meals that are based on these meats. But usually, it is just a review of the pantry and the fridge and figure out what I can make out of items on hand. Then I think about what is on sale this week and think of meals that can utilize the deal of the week. I take this list of possibilities and fill it into my week. I put meals that are quick prep on Mondays and Wednesday since those are the days I work late. I put slow cooker meals on weekends, etc. Then I put our meal plan on a white board in our kitchen. I know it may seem cheesy but it works for us. My husband works at a college where he eats in the cafeteria each day. If he knows what we're having for dinner, then he won't eat something similar for lunch each day. I make my grocery list and pull coupons Thursday night and go grocery shopping on Fridays. It works for us. I have found that I am not stressed out about dinner, we save money and we eat out WAY less than when I didn't meal plan.
As much as I like to plan, things do come up mid-week and I have to be flexible. It's not uncommon for me to switch around what we're having one night or another if my husband has something come up and can't come home. But at least I know we have the ingredients on hand and can just swap it out another day.
Each Sunday I discuss with my husband what we have going on in the week. Just like my meal plan, I have to figure out when he's going to be home to watch Finley. I figure out what days I can utilize the treadmill at work, what days I can run around the indoor track at my husband's work, what days I can run outside at home and what days I'm stuck doing an indoor workout at home. I've started putting my exercise log on the top of the page for my intended exercises. It helps keep me accountable and to stick with the plan.
Unfortunately, not everything can always go to plan but I need to make sure I'm still get workouts - even if its not the workout I intended. Example: Monday I was going to do circuits inside after I put Finley to sleep. Well I wasn't planning on there being 2 feet of drifted snow at the bottom of our driveway. I was able to get up the driveway no problem in my 4x4 but there was no way that my husband would make it up, without 4x4. So instead of circuits, after I put Finley to sleep I bundled up, took the baby monitor with me and shoveled extremely heavy snow. I decided it was more of a back/arm workout than I would have gotten with my circuits!
How do you plan? In what ways do you have to be flexible?