A million things to do this week?
Haven’t been to the gym in months?
Surviving off cheese sandwiches and long blacks?
Read on because girl do you need this planner to sort your week out!
Full disclosure, the planner I use each week isn’t going to help you tick off all those massive goals on your vision board this week. I wanted to break it to you early. This way you aren’t going to get through the next few minutes of reading and be like woah woah woah girl how come I don’t know how to save for a house or start a business (don’t worry, there are blogs coming on how to do them).
These big goals take time, planning and a ridiculous amount of hard work. I have no doubt you aren’t prepared to work hard, but while you are hustling along you need to keep your normal day to day in check. It can be easy to get pre-occupied (okay maybe obsessed is a better word for some of us) with your big goals and forget about the vital things that keep us healthy and sane.
There is zero chance you are going to be able to get that score you want in your final exam or complete that big project your working your ass off on if you are consistently treating your mind and body as if it’s a robot.
This realisation came to me after completely burning myself out by working full time, studying before and after work and then working a job on the weekends. Oh yeah don’t forget I was also attempting to have a social life and spend time with my family on top of all that. Looking back, I can see all my mistakes so clearly. I ate horribly, never exercised and spent zero time on my mental health. Where was I going to fit all that in on top of everything else?
Well I certainty found time to fit it in after I had to take a week off both jobs and study to lay in bed and recover from not only exhaustion but a serious case of the blues. I was so down on myself for not being able to go to work and study and the worst part was I knew it was all self-inflicted. Eating pasta and toasted sandwiches for weeks on end wasn’t fuelling my body like I must have hoped.
Everything I wasn’t doing, I knew I should have been. I was just so busy that I wasn’t keeping track of my every day life. We all know the feeling when you get home from a massive day or your running from one job to another and you just want to eat something fast and easy. If you haven’t planned and prepared for this situation then you’re most likely going to grab a take away or something really easy like the toasted sandwiches I use to inhale every day (sometimes twice a day). The problem with getting in to this bad eating routine is that the longer you do it the harder it is to start or come back to a healthy life style.
Oh, and don’t forget the other problem with eating crap, it doesn’t fuel your body. I am no health expert, but I know our bodies need greens and protein to keep running. Personally, my body needs a lot of greens to stay healthy. When I say healthy I don’t mean being able to do a marathon or something, I mean not catching a cold every time I take public transport.
Now that I have prioritised my health into my busy schedule I haven’t had a cold or caught the flu and I am currently in the middle of a Melbourne winter. Who even knew this was possible! For those who are yet to visit Melbourne you may be under the impression its always sunny down under in Australia but let me tell you it can get very very chilly and that’s coming from a girl who has braved two London winters.
So how did I manage to fit in healthy eating, exercise, self-care, friends, family, work and study? I made a weekly planner of course. Nothing makes me complete a goal like being able to visually see what I have ahead of me and being able to highlight it or tick it off. Initially I was just planning my meals but as the weeks went by I realised I needed more than just to eat healthy. My mind needed attention too and so did my body. Eventually my week ahead template was born. I have been using it for months now and it lives on my fridge to keep me accountable.
You can purchase my little life saver here. It literally costs less than your morning latte and instead of giving you anxiety it helps you get rid of it.
Here are my 6 Steps to having a successful week and not burning out:
Step One: Print out the planner
When I created the planner I literally printed out enough copies to get me through the rest of the year and I have them in a folder waiting to use each week. This way I have no excuse not to have my week organised. It sounds crazy but if I don’t have my week planned before I go to work on Monday it seems to be a mess for the rest of the week. I know it’s a mindset thing, so I always make sure my planner is filled in over the weekend.
Step Two: Start writing
Normally on a Saturday or Sunday morning depending on when I plan to go grocery shopping I sit down and go through my calendar and enter in any meals I know I am eating out. This could be dinner with girls on Friday night, work lunch on Wednesday or family dinner on Sunday. I always try to make sure I have one meal with friends or family each week. Doing this is something that makes me really happy and when your flat out with work, study or your side hustle you really need to make sure you step back and make sure you do something that makes you smile each day. This is why I added in the something for me section in the planner.
At this point while I have my calendar open I note down any appointments or important things I need to do in the “make sure I do this section’’ of the planner. All of the stuff above that I have on during the week can affect how I tackle steps 3 and 4 so it’s important you get everything you have on or need to do in the planner before you move on to step 3.
Step Three: Physical health
It’s now time to plan out my exercise for the week. This changes for me each week depending on how busy I am and where I am working that week (I work inter-state part of the month). Everyone is completely different with their exercise routines. I try to plan mine out around when I know I will have a bit of time and I try and commit to do some form of exercise 5 times a week. 3 of those sessions may be walking to and from work and the other 2 are normally yoga or a HIT session.
When I am not studying I try to do more intense workouts but when I am working 9 hours a day and coming home to study for another 3 hours, I need to be realistic about what is the most efficient exercise that will make my body and head feel amazing but also not consume more of my precious time. Don’t try and fit too much in. If a 15-minute walk I all you can do sometimes than that’s still amazing.
You will be surprised to see the difference just a small amount of physical exercise will have on your physical and mental health especially when your stress levels are a 9/10. By putting it into your weekly planner there is more chance you are going to actually do it.
Step Four: Meal planning
Now for the fun part, meal planning! I plan my food around the exercise I will be doing and meals that I will be eating out. Never will I go grocery shopping before putting my meals into the planner. Otherwise I always end up going psycho and buying half the supermarket (the majority of which is made up of treats that I don’t need).
If I know I am going out for a dinner that’s not very healthy, I make sure my lunch will have lots of healthy greens and nutrients in it to balance it out a little. If I am doing a 6am HIT session I make sure I plan for a big bowl of oats after to keep me full. It’s all about looking at your planner and working out how you can make sure you are having enough nutritious meals.
We also don’t want to be spending hours in the kitchen making these meals because don’t forget why we need this planner, WE ARE TIME POOR. I save time by prepping my first 3 day’s worth of meals on Sunday night and then next 3 day’s worth of food on the Wednesday night. This might not work for everyone or you may have someone cooking your meals for you (can they cook mine too?) but it’s been the only way I have been able to eat healthy and not take up my precious study time each night.
Once I have all my meals on the planner I write down everything I need on my shopping list and head to the shops. All going well I don’t return home with of Cadbury, 12 cans of diet coke and 3 packets of Tim Tams
Step Five: Mental health
Planning to do something for me each day is something my psychologist suggested I do when I was struggling with the pressures of study and life. Ever since I started this little self-love practice I have seen a real change in my mindset. I like to complete this step on Sunday night as I find it gives me something to look forward to in the coming week. It can feel like a never-ending battle when you are trying to fit so much into your day and you can’t see the finish line but having something to look forward to each day that brings you happiness can make all the difference.
My ‘something for me’s’ aren’t normally extravagant especially around exam time. They are normally things like have a latte with my best-friend, read my book for 30 minutes, meditate, have a bath with my favourite lush bath bomb or watch an episode of whatever I am currently addicted to on Netflix. They don’t have to be big extravagant plans just keep it simple and think of all the things that make you happy.
Step Six: Gratitude
This is the only step you can’t do before the week starts since it has to occur at the end of each day. Before I go to bed, I go through and highlight all the things I have achieved. If I ate my oats like I planned to then out comes the pink highlighter and the oats gets highlighted on the planner. If went to yoga like I said I would, out comes the pink highlighter again and so on down the list. If you are more of a ticker then a highlighter then you do you, you may even like crossing it out.I know eating what you planned to and going for a walk sound like really tiny wins, but a win is a win and its helping you pave the way to your big wins in the future.
I have recently been trying to practice gratitude because once again working and studying night after night, week after week can eventually get you little down in the dumps. I have found taking note of what you are grateful for really helps to put life in perspective when you’re not feeling 100%.
The ‘’something good that happened today’’ section in the planner is my way of practicing gratitude and once again they don’t have to be extravagant things. Maybe I got more questions correct on a quiz then I anticipated, or I got to spend some time with my mum, or my housemate cooked me the most amazing homemade pasta. They can be really simple things, but it is so important to reflect on the day and find at least one positive.
One last reminder before you get your planner out and start getting on top of your week…
You have all the steps you need to put your planner to good use l but I wanted to remind you that everything isn’t always going to go to plan and this planner isn’t written in stone.
During the week if something pops up and I can’t get home to eat my salmon and vegetables like I had planned I don’t need to get upset and think my entire week is ruined, I just need to adjust it. Move things around and make sure you are still getting all the nutrients and love your body needs. Don’t be too hard on yourself, nothing is ever going to go 100% how we want it to. We just need to do the best we can.
Now start getting your day to day life under control, even just a little bit under control so you can start slaying those big goals!
Let me know in the comments any tips you have for avoiding burning out and keeping your daily life on track when you are at your busiest