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I could start this post with a full paragraph full of “busy mom” clichés focused on how my house is a disaster and my kids are loud and messy and how by the time I’m done with my work day and taking care of them I can barely stand up, but I’ll just stop right there. I mean, many of you are parents and you live this (and even if you’re not, you’re probably no stranger to the turbulent, exhausting nature of day to day life as an adult). So, instead of going into detail on how things are nuts around here, I’ll just get right to the point: there are small, easy ways to make our chaotic weeks simpler and more enjoyable. This is something I’ve been working toward a lot this year. I used to get incredibly stressed on Sunday evenings, because I’d suddenly feel overwhelmed by the coming week and how much I knew I’d have on my plate. So I started doing a few tiny things differently – some on Sundays and some throughout the week – to ease my load. And you know what? As easy as they are, they’ve added up. Today I’m going to share what I’ve been doing.
1. Straighten up your space. I grew up in a very neat, clean, organized home, but my sister and I always joke that we just didn’t get that gene. I am a slob by nature. I have two children under four who enjoy ripping through the house and basically destroying everything in sight. My space is always messy. And I despise cleaning. But every Sunday, I declutter the big stuff and straighten up the best I can. If I have the time and energy, I’ll do a real clean too, but a decluttering can be enough. You don’t even have to do it all at once – you can break it up throughout the day. The rest of the week is busy and it will make the day to day cleaning much less daunting if you start the week with less clutter and mess.
2. Meal plan – loosely. Let me start out by saying that I am not a traditional meal planner. I’m not one of those organized people (though I have mad respect for those who are) with a calendar full of dinners for the week who grocery shops for all the right staples based on this, and then preps everything into neat containers on Sunday afternoons. My meal planning is much more, um, wild and free than this, but it works for me. What I do is go to the grocery store on the weekends and buy food that my family likes and is (hopefully) reasonably healthy, then together we come up with some dinners we’d like to make and eat throughout the week. We don’t set them to certain days or prep in advance (because who knows what we’re going to want on any specific day, man?), but in comparison to what we used to do – wait until 5 PM each night to figure out dinner then frantically run to the store or order carry-out – it makes the week feel much simpler and less stressful.
3. Prepare coffee for the week in 3 simple steps with Dunkin’ Donuts Cold Brew. As you can probably tell by the photos throughout this post, this is my favorite “tip” for how to make your week simpler. My friends have a long standing joke about me and how I would live on coffee alone if I could, and honestly, it’s sort of true. I love my coffee with a passion, but the process of making a pot of it every morning and either stopping work and/or loading the kids into the car mid-afternoon to go to the coffee shop adds up to a lot of time and money that could be spent on other things. I’ve become smitten with cold brew over the last year, so when I heard Dunkin’ Donuts had come out with cold brew you could make and enjoy right at home, I headed straight to Walmart to grab a box! I was admittedly a little skeptical at first, because even though I know Dunkin’ Donuts makes some of the best coffee around, cold brew made at home with just water and a pitcher sounded too good to be true. But you guys – I was so wrong. It is so delicious. My husband, who is a cold brew connoisseur, agrees. It’s so rich, smooth, and flavorful; but best of all, with one box, you can make your coffee for an entire week in just three easy steps: drop, steep, and love. Now there is no early morning coffee making or mid-day coffee shop runs, because every Sunday I make myself some Dunkin’ Donuts Cold Brew and keep it in the fridge for the week (Cold Brew packets make two full pitchers!) And it’s easy to experience a new taste everyday if I want to change things up. Sometimes I drink it black with some ice, some days I add a squeeze or orange or a splash of milk, and sometimes when I want a treat I heat it up and top it with whip cream, sprinkles, and chocolate chips. It’s pretty awesome.
4. Skim your calendar/to do list on Sunday. I keep a to do list (for both my work and my personal life) on my computer that I update everyday. I also keep appointments, work meetings, etc. in my phone’s calendar. I really make an effort not to work during the weekend, and for the same reason, I don’t look at my list or calendar during most of the weekend. The problem with this is that on Monday morning, I was feeling overwhelmed and scatterbrained seeing all of the things I needed to accomplish in the coming week. Now, every Sunday night, I skim through both my to do list (and make any changes, if necessary) and my calendar for the week. That way I have a more organized train of thought regarding what’s coming up, yet I don’t have to be constantly checking in during the two days a week I try to focus on just my family. It’s a very small thing that genuinely makes my entire week feel smoother. (Side note: If you don’t keep a running to do list, start now!)
5. Take a little me time. I know, I know, I’m always referencing self care and “a few minutes of me time,” but for real, take some down time for yourself on Sunday. It will make the entire rest of your week simpler and more enjoyable. If you have little kids, I know this can be challenging (trust me, I can’t even go to the bathroom without hearing “mommy where on you?” on repeat the entire time I’m in there). But even if it means just taking 20 minutes to sit alone and read or listen to music after they go to bed Sunday night, this small step can be incredibly powerful. We all need to recharge in order to be at our best.
And that, my friends, is how I make my weeks simpler and more enjoyable. If you have any tips I might have missed, I’d love to hear them. Also, have you tried Dunkin’ Donuts Cold Brew packets yet?