Monday, March 26, 2012

Scheduling - How I make it work

Schedule is such an intimidating word for a lot of people. What I have is not really a schedule because I don't do the same thing at the same time on the same day. That would be too rigid a plan for me ... and probably for most of you as well.

What I have instead is a very easy basic plan that can be changed from week to week depending on what else I need or want to do.

The way I see it, each week has seven days. One of those days needs to be a rest day, and one of those days needs to be for catching up. Rest day is usually Sunday when I cook dinner, but do whatever I want the rest of the day. Saturday is usually my catch-up day when I either eat out of my freezer or go out for dinner.

That leaves five days which are my normal work days. Each week I plan :
  • one day when I do my planning and make an easy egg dish for supper, like an omelette.
  • one day when I do my shopping and make a double slow cooker meal - one for that day, one for the freezer
  • one day when I cook a double batch of something and put a meal into my freezer
  • one day when I make some basics - salad dressing, mayonnaise, etc.
  • and one day when I eat out of my freezer and don't think about cooking at all

I do my planning and shopping the first two days because the food I buy is what I cook the rest of the week.  The rest of the days can be scheduled whenever. When I know I'm going to have an especially busy day, that's when I plan to eat out of my freezer - and if that happens a couple of times one week I don't freak out.  I just catch up the next.
On my planning day this is what I do :
  • Check my freezer and see how many meals I have available and what I need to stock up on -  If I have lots of meat dishes I don't need to cook any more meat.
  • I check my calendar and schedule my days for that week.
  • I decide on a menu plan (I'll show you how to make your own in a later post) or follow one I've already made.
  • Then I check the weekly specials at my favourite stores ( using online flyers) and note what is on special and I want to stock up on.
  • Finally, I make my grocery list. I check my recipes for the week, make sure I have all the ingredients on hand, and add any grooming, cleaning and paper products I need - and I'm done.

On my shopping day this is what I do :
  • Start a double portion of something cooking in my slow cooker
  • Buy my groceries and put them away
  • Update my freezer list

One other day I'll cook a double meal and put one in the freezer. One day I'll make some basics  .... and that is it.

I end up cooking four maybe five times a week, depending upon whether I have lots of meals in my freezer or I need to stock up again.  Because I have ready made (by me) meals in my freezer my cooking is kept to a minimum, and I do it when it fits in with the rest of my schedule, not vice versa.

If you want some more examples on how this plan can fit into anyone's life read this post
plan your week post

Even though eating well is a priority in my life, cooking is not. Think you could follow a plan like this? You will always have a day off, and you will always have a day to catch up.

I find this kind of plan very easy to keep to because it's flexible ... and I think for most people that's the key. Even though I like to be organized because life is just easier that way, I do NOT like rigid schedules.

When I get the opportunity to do something fun or just discover a book I want to read right this minute I want to be able to drop everything and do exactly what I want. .... and know that my world won't fall apart if I do.

 “Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.”   - George Bernard Shaw

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