Being a busy mom and homemaker has it’s challenges. Planning ahead is one of the best things you can do if you want to feel less stress during the week. As a young mom I had no idea what I was doing and I pretty much went with the flow, but as my youngest kids got older… I found I really need to plan ahead if I was going to do all the things I wanted to do each week. That’s why today I’m sharing some practical tips to about how to plan for the week ahead so you feel less stressed and more productive.
Be sure to download my free printable weekly planning pages at the bottom of the post!
Have you ever looked back on your week and realized you were constantly busy, but never seemed to achieve anything you wanted to accomplish? Maybe you wanted to cook more at home so your family could connect with one another over healthy meals, but instead, you grabbed supper on-the-go more times than you want to admit.
Or perhaps you knew friends were coming over Saturday night and you wanted to be relaxed and enjoy the time together, but instead, you were tired from the marathon cleaning session you had to do that day.
Planning for the week ahead will help you to be intentional about creating the home you desire to love your family and others well.
Planning for the Week Ahead: 6 Steps to Plan Effectively
Set aside some time each week so you’ll be able to make a doable plan for your week. These six steps will show you how to plan for the week ahead, but you also have to commit to making it happen—to actually work the plan.
1. Start in Prayer
It’s tempting to just plow ahead and try to make things happen ourselves. Often, we do it unintentionally even. We’re ready to sit down and get things done. But when we try to do it in our own strength and through our own “wisdom”, we are ultimately setting ourselves and our families up for failure. Instead, let’s seek Him first.
Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established. (Proverbs 16:3, ESV)
2. Gather Your Planning Resources
Create an easy system for planning by keeping everything you need to plan in one place. This might include a notebook of your favorite recipes, your master calendar, your favorite Christian planner, colored pens, etc. You don’t want to have to run around to find what you need after you sit down to do the planning!
3. Get Started by Looking Back
Evaluate your previous week. Were there some things that needed to be moved off your schedule that now need to be taken care of? Did you buy groceries for a meal that you never made? Before you plan for the coming week you’ll want to make note of these things so you can make a plan for them this week.
4. Think Through What Needs to Go On Your Schedule
Talk to your spouse about what will go on your weekly schedule. Ask for input from the whole family, especially when you are getting started with planning for the week. Consider the following areas:
- Personal time for Bible study and prayer
- Outside commitments and appointments
- Chores/cleaning routine
- Family time
- Family worship
- Service and ministry to others
- Time to refresh and relax
Tip: Be sure to make a list of priorities for the week and schedule those first. It’s easy to let the urgent crowd out the most important things!
5. Write it Down
Once you’ve decided on your priorities and what needs to be done, write each of them in your planner. Yes, you can use a digital one, but there’s something about a physical paper planner where you have to write things down that helps you remember.
You can even color code to help you organize your plans. Assign a color to each child and write their individual commitments in that color, or divide tasks by color. Anything that will help you easily see your plans at a glance during the week.
6. Communicate Plans with Your Family
This becomes more and more important as your kids get older. As schedules get busier, and teens take on more responsibilities, communication is key to creating a plan that works for everyone.
Planning for the Week Ahead: Tips to Help You Succeed
Spread Chores Throughout Your Week
If you want to keep from feeling overwhelmed, do some chores each day and a few weekly chores each day instead of saving them all for the weekend. The Purpose 31 Weekly Checklist has both a daily checklist with chores—like making the bed—as well as a few specific ones for each particular day.
For example, besides your daily chores, on Monday you would also water plants; scrub toilets, sinks and bathtubs; launder pillows; and declutter your desk or kitchen command center.
Leave Margin for Opportunities
Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. (Colossians 4:5, ESV)
There are a couple of different words for time in the New Testament. One is chonos which is a fixed and definite time. This is the one we use when we say, “What time are we leaving?” The other is kairos—which is used in this verse. Kairos is about opportunities.
You may remember being admonished in your language arts classes to stay in the margins when you were young. Margins are the white space around all the words. It keeps you from feeling overwhelmed by the information.
Creating margin in your schedule keeps you from feeling overwhelmed with life. And when we have margin, we can take advantage of the opportunities God gives us.
When you don’t overfill your weeks with things to do, you’ve created white space in your life. You’ve planned for the chance to take advantage of the opportunities to minister to others in your sphere of influence.
These opportunities don’t have to take a lot of time. They may be as simple as hearing a friend is sick and providing a meal. It may be asking an elderly neighbor to join your family for supper.
The ministry of homemaking is about loving your families and others well through your home. But we have to leave space to do that.
Give Yourself and Your Family Grace
You won’t do this perfectly, and neither will your family. But like any skill, you will learn and grow the more that you do it. You’ll create routines and habits over time.
When people create a budget, it often takes several months of changing and tweaking it to find the right fit. The same is true for planning for your weeks. But I want to encourage you to give yourself grace. Grace for when you’ve planned too much and it’s just not possible to do it all. Grace for when something takes longer than you expect it will. Grace when you simply fail.
Creating weekly plans are worth it, so don’t give up if it seems a bit difficult at first or things don’t go the way you want them to.
Planning for the Week Ahead with Open Hands (and Plans!)
There will be weeks when everything seems to go wrong and your plans fall through. There will be times when it seems you face one interruption after another. That’s okay.
Planning helps us be intentional, but God is often working in the interruptions to grow and teach us. When we see all of what God sends our way as an opportunity, we can adjust our plans to fit His.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9, ESV)
So don’t worry when things don’t turn out exactly as you envisioned. The best part of planning for the week ahead is you get fifty-two fresh starts a year! When you have a plan, you’ll be able to pivot while still living intentionally.
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