Scheduling an hour or two each week to plan the week ahead has long been a part of my weekly rhythm. These hours have helped me to prepare for our meal-making and learning at home, of course, but they have also helped me to make quick decisions about spontaneous opportunities, teach our children about time management, and create important margin for myself, too. The reality is there are only 24 hours in a day, and many of us aspire to do much with them. We want so much for ourselves, our homes, and the people within them. Planning ahead has helped me work diligently toward what matters most and, often times, let go of the rest.
For years, I’ve scheduled these planning hours on Sunday afternoons, a time that always delivered cheerful clarity for me. As a younger homeschooling parent, it was a natural time during the week when I could rely on my husband to care for our children while I slipped away to focus. But in the last year or so, I have noticed these Sunday hours becoming more of a chore than a refreshment. Many times, even with the kids and Mark’s help, I have ended Sunday feeling more depleted than prepared for Monday. Naturally, I began brainstorming ways to create more margin in the weekend for rest and playful connection. As a result, I have shifted my rhythm to plan the week ahead on Fridays. Thus far, it has been a tremendous gift.
This of course means that Fridays are wildly full for our family, wrapping up school work, cleaning the house, preparing for our family Shabbat meal that evening, and now my own weekly planning. But somehow knowing the weekend will be lighter fuels my focus and attention to get it done. Here is what our current Friday rhythm looks like to create space for all of it.
Friday morning. At the start of Friday, before we get going with school/work, I meet with Mark to briefly review our budget and discuss any upcoming expenses for our home and businesses. Since we do this weekly, it doesn’t take a lot of time and helps keep us on the same page in our financial goals and needs. Our school day is lighter on Friday, so we aim for all work to be finished for the week by lunchtime.
Friday afternoon. After lunch, my children begin their end-of-week cleaning, and I sit down to plan the following week. I currently block two hours to plan meals, order groceries, write up our school plans, and jot down ideas for my work hours. I do not always get everything done that I hope, but having a finite time-block helps me stay motivated and focused. Anything that I do not finish moves to Sunday or early Monday morning. After plans are written, I tuck everything away, answer my last emails or messages for the week, and transition to my portion of weekly cleaning and preparing for our Shabbat meal.
Friday evening. I do my best to turn my phone to airplane mode or turn it off altogether until Sunday morning. Anything that is not finished for our home, school, or work is shelved until Sunday afternoon, and I enjoy Shabbat dinner and enter Sabbath. This has been a long-time rhythm in our home, and I’ve written about it HERE and HERE for any who are curious to learn more.
I realize this Friday rhythm may not suit you for one reason or another, but maybe there’s a nugget here that might help move you forward in the way you need to go. For families with younger children, be patient with yourself and whatever you can manage, as it may not be feasible to squeeze all of this into one day right now. Planning has looked so different for me over the years, but the time creating this rhythm has been well-spent, no matter how small or humble the starting point it is.