by Anthiya Adams, staff writer

Have you ever wished for more hours in the day or that you could clone yourself to get more done? In a constantly changing, fast-paced world, it can feel impossible to get everything done, let alone done well.

Preparing yourself for the week ahead can get you far and improve your life in many ways. While we cannot make more time, we can be intentional about how it is spent. Using your time wisely or intentionally is the key. Whether you are a multi-tasker or a task-at-hand type of person, there are practical tips to prepare and organize your week to your advantage.

The word 'prioritize' in Scrabble letters.

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1. Figure out your Priorities

Make a list of your non-negotiables. Think about the things that must be done and done well. Who are the most important people and what are the important things and tasks in your life?

Make the list and then highlight the real priorities.

It might sound simple, but people often get stuck in ruts and forget to prioritize their loved ones or themselves. Tip: Start with yourself. You cannot do anything if your needs are not met first. This can lead to less fulfillment and burn out.

Be realistic about what you prioritize. Do the things you prioritized represent your goals and responsibilities?

2. Review your Calendar for the Week

Image of a calendar

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How many times have you forgotten an event, a birthday, a class, or a meeting? Waiting until the day, or morning of, can send you spiraling. Looking ahead not only ensures you stay on track but also ensures that you are prepared to attend a meeting or an event, with your report, paper, or gift in hand.

Do not spiral, look over your calendar and make sure that your priorities take center stage on your calendar. Again, be realistic or overestimate how much time you need to complete tasks. What are the tasks that take the most time?

Tip: Remember to plug in time to prepare for the following week.


3. Plan a Chore Day or Do a Chore-a-day

Honestly, no one wants to do chores, but letting chores go can add stress to your day. If you have the time and focus to spend a day doing chores, then do it, but if you want to keep your weekends or days off sacred, here is a tip: do one or two chores a day during the week. Breaking up tasks works well for some. So, consider starting a load of laundry when you wake up and switch it to the dryer before you leave for work.

Vacuum or sweep the floor while you listen to a podcast or an audiobook/textbook on your headphones. Clean your bathroom or kitchen in stages with sinks one day and floors another.

4. Organize your Closet

Color coded closet

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The time you spend organizing your closet will pay off. Before I started preparing my clothes for the week, my mindset was that I never had anything to wear. Organizing my closet helped me to see what I had for various occasions or what was needed.

Take your clothes out of your closet and try them on. Do they fit, are they in good condition, are they out of style? If not, give them away, mend, store or discard them.

Tip: When putting your clothes back in your closet, group items (e.g., pants, tops, jackets, etc.) If you want to take it a step further, group by color and save yourself the hassle of looking for that one black shirt and wasting valuable time.

5. Plan and Prepare your Clothes

Pick out and iron your clothes for the week. This not only helps you look better, but you will also feel better, and people may even treat you better. Invest in a steamer if you are not a fan of ironing clothes or iron your clothes while bingeing your favorite show.

Look ahead at your week, what does the weather forecast say, do you have events, meetings, or social engagements? Doing this will ensure you are dressed appropriately for any occasion.

Tip: If you need inspiration, Google images of your favorite fashion icon or try apps like Pinterest. Bonus points for hanging your outfits together with the shoes and accessories.

6. Make a Menu and Grocery List


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Make a menu and build your grocery list around it. This will save you time, money, and headaches. Knowing what you will eat ahead of time makes it easier to eat well and on time.

Writing down what you are planning to eat allows you to see the big picture and whether you are eating a balanced diet and allows one to be more intentional about what they are putting into their body.

If cooking is not your forte, or you have trouble deciding what to eat, try a recipe app or a meal service.

Tip: If you have a craving for something during the week, add that to the following week’s menu. A challenge could be finding a healthier version to satisfy that craving.

7. Clean out your Purse/Bookbag

Cleaning out your bag can further help you to stay organized. Purses or bookbags can become blackholes where everything important disappears. Cleaning out your bag ensures that you have what you need for the week and if you need to restock or return items to your bag that were scattered during the week. Doing this can also remind you of something you missed by tossing it in your bag (e.g., that homework assignment or a bill that needs to be paid.)

Tip: If your bag does not have compartments/pockets, use pencil- or make-up bags to keep things organized inside your bag.

8. Review your Budget

Counting Money

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Looking at your budget for the week is essential. Knowing what is in your budget will help you avoid the coffee shop, if needed, or keep you from spending out of control. This will also help you stay on track for the month and year. Knowing where you are with your finances keeps you realistic and moving towards your goals.

If you stuck to your grocery list and prepped your meals, great! You are already saving some money.

Tip: Use a mobile banking app or do it the old-fashioned way, by keeping a ledger or checkbook, just do it the way that makes sense for you.

9. Plan movement / self-care

Whether you exercise or not, make sure you plan time for self-care. Hopefully, you are one of the important people that you prioritized in your week.

If you exercise, do not forget to prepare your workout gear. This could be the motivation to get you into the gym. Seeing your workout gear waiting can be a powerful reminder.

Not a gym person, no sweat! If you are not inclined to exercise, do something for yourself. For example, take a bubble bath, read a book, journal, draw, paint, light some candles/incense, or meditate). Tip: Choose something that brings YOU peace and/or joy.

10. Give yourself Grace

We can be our own worst critics. Know that you will not always do things right or do everything on your list, and that is okay. Learn from these moments and remind yourself you are human.

Ask yourself why something did not go as planned. Did you allow yourself enough time? Did you forget to review your calendar? Build a safety net wherever you can.

Tip: Prep some extra freezer meals or a few added outfits in case you have a busy couple of weeks ahead of you or spill coffee on yourself on your way out the door.

Whichever self-care strategies you choose to incorporate into your routine, it is important to “start small to make your behavior sustainable over the long-term” says Katie Shumake in a Be Well Stanford article.

In brief, be kind to yourself.

A sign that says "Be Kind"

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