“This is as true in everyday life as it is in battle: we are given one life and the decision is ours whether to wait for circumstances to make up our mind, or whether to act, and in acting, to live.” —Omar N. Bradley
When the week begins I find myself regularly signing my emails “Have a great week!” but I began to ponder what this actually meant and how can we indeed insure we will have a great week. The more I ponder this idea, the more I realized many of us, including myself sometimes, are passively moving through our weeks hoping that they go well. Whether we’re hoping that we don’t receive too much to do from our boss, hoping we don’t receive a phone call we don’t want, hoping an unexpected bill doesn’t arrive in the mail, when we do this we’re placing the outcome of our week into the hands of the world around us.
Instead why not design a greater possibility that a great week will occur? Why not plan a week that is full of activities, approaches, rituals and routines that enliven us, make us smile and foster more of what we love?
The reality is sometimes a week is going to throw something our way that we don’t want to deal with, that we didn’t expect to have to deal with, but these unwanted events don’t have to define the entire week. Maybe they will affect that moment or that one particular afternoon, but if we’ve designed our week to be great, the negative won’t outweigh the positive.
Here’s a few ideas for designing a great week each week:
1. Sit down and take a look
Before your week begins, maybe it’s Sunday or Friday, whichever day of the week works for you, sit down and take a look at your planner. What appointments have you scheduled, what to-dos must get done, etc.? Then take a look at each day and plan out the day. Observe closely how much time you actually have in your days. Have you overbooked yourself? Do you have unscheduled time on Wednesday afternoon and evening that you want to protect? Make a change now or vow to protect windows of seemingly “free” time so that you have time to do whatever you want without an appointment accidentally filling that space. When we know what is ahead of us, we can prepare ourselves and not be surprised or forget things that we have to do.
2. Plan a weekly capsule menu
We have to eat, so why not eat well? Take a moment after looking over your week’s schedule to plan your menu for the week. You can use TSLL weekly Capsule Menu notepad, or simply sketch it out in your planner. Knowing you have planned healthy, but delicious meals will give you something to look forward to, as well as keep you healthy and well-fed.
3. Grocery shop
Now go grocery shopping for the items that you will need for your weekly capsule menu. Make this a weekly ritual that is enjoyable. Pick an ideal time of day, visit your favorite markets and savor the luxury of all of the options we have to eat on a daily basis.
4. Take a day off
Plan one day a week, or at least an afternoon or morning, to be absolutely yours to do with what you want. Not only will this give you something to look forward to the entire week, but it will also give you time to become comfortable with your own company, figure out what you truly love to do and listen to what is piquing your curiosity.
5. Incorporate physical exercise
With anything that isn’t necessarily beloved, it can be easy to forget or let it slide. And even if we do love the form of exercise we’ve chosen to incorporate into our lives, sometimes we forget to make it a priority. Each week before it begins, sit down and plan when you will get your exercise class, walk, swim or session into your schedule. Lock it in. Write it in ink and welcome a feeling of calm knowing you are taking care of your health, as well as helping your mind and your body sleep better at night.
6. Schedule something to look forward to
Perhaps #4 is what you will be scheduling to look forward to, but no matter what you do or how you define “something to look forward to”, make sure you include one experience a week. It will put a skip in your step, it will enliven your being and it may just speed up the week.
7. Make sleep a priority and a luxurious experience
Block out at least 7-8 hours for sleep each night, and guard it fiercely. To make going to bed even more enticing, adorn your bed with luxurious sheets, your favorite pillows, a candle, the proper lighting and reading material beside the bed. One of my favorite things to do each day is go to bed. I love the moments before I fall asleep as I feel the softness of my sheets, the comfort of my mattress and pillows and the reading material I get to enjoy each night as it is a pure pleasure helping me to fall asleep more easily.
8. Set a work goal
Consider each week what you would like to complete by the time the week wraps up. Write it down in your planner. And set it in your mind that you will complete this task no matter what happens. Even if you simply make significant progress, when the end of the week arrives, you will feel as though you have accomplished what you had set out to do, and that is a wonderful way to bring tranquility into your weekend.
9. Choose to nurture your cherished relationships
Whether it is with your friends, partner, children, etc., consider how you can nurture the relationships that mean the most to you this week. Think small. It doesn’t have to be anything grand. A thoughtful text, a rendezvous at a fun new restaurant, helping them out with a project. You get the idea. Once you’ve planned your week and how you can feel successful and happy about what you’ve done, think about how you can make the week go wonderfully for your loved ones.
10. Plan something that commemorates the end of your work week
Perhaps it is a comfort meal, or maybe heading out to the theater, but plan a regular ritual that occurs when the work week ends and the weekend begins. It will be something to look forward to and it will be a signal to the mind to transition into a different mode: relaxing.
11. Get outside
Mother Nature is a powerful force and whether you can get outside each day or maybe just once a week, figure out a way or a day to do it.
12. Incorporate activities that bring calm back into your life
Earlier in this week’s episode of the podcast I shared a list of 14 habits that can bring the calm back into your life. Take a look at the list here and consider what you could do to bring or at least ensure a more tranquil week?
13. Make one day a week tech free
When I first started doing this, it felt amazing to not have my phone within arm’s reach. Simply knowing that I didn’t have to jump or text or type or send something felt truly liberating. Granted, I love what I do as a blogger, but when we set technology down for a moment, we recognize how we might become too attached and not present enough in our real, everyday lives. Experiment with this one, perhaps start out with an afternoon or an evening, but try to make one full day a week completely tech free and see what a difference it makes in the quality of your life.
14. Check your closet
Are all of the clothes you want to wear cleaned, picked up from the dry-cleaner, ironed? Simply knowing the clothes we want to wear are available in our closets and don’t need to be tended to will save us time and unnecessary to-dos.
15. Beauty routine
Whether it’s your weekly manicure or time for your bi-weekly pedicure, even if you do them yourself, make sure you have put them on your schedule. As well, what about your at-home spa morning to give yourself the weekly moisturizing masque (or whichever masque your skin needs)? Make sure your daily beauty necessities are stocked: lotions, make-up, etc. Because you know when we feel our best, we relax. And when we relax, we welcome the improved likelihood that things will go well.
16. Check in with yourself regularly
So far you’ve planned a great week. A week full of moments and events to look forward to, but what if other events occur? What if meetings run long and time becomes squashed? Take a moment or moments throughout the week to assess how you are feeling. Are you tense? Do you need to talk it out, do you need to exercise? Do you need to journal and work out your feelings? Checking in with yourself is the quickest and easier remedy we can give ourselves to help our week get back on track. Often we just need to remind ourselves to be present, to slow down and to relax before we make any more decisions that may clog the quality of our week. The more we get into the habit of protecting our time and our energy, the less we will have to check in and correct ourselves.
Interestingly enough, one of my favorite things to do each Sunday is sit down, take a look at my week and see what I get to look forward to. Yes, you read that correctly: “get to look forward to”. I want to live a life in which I am excited to live it every day. And even if every day doesn’t offer excitement, I want to give myself the opportunities to grow, be challenged and appreciate the life I have the opportunity to live. I hope you feel the same way too because the ordinary life can truly be extraordinary if we choose to be present, live consciously by not passively living our lives and regularly take time to look around and express our gratitude.
Have a wonderful week!
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