Staying Sane by Planning Ahead

January is always a good time to set better routines, and for me personally, that involves being prepared and organising my life in a clear method. I've always loved organising but this year it feels more crucial than ever. With the pandemic putting everything into chaos, I feel I need to have something I can actually control. 

Some people love using technology and whilst I do love technology, there's something special about having plans written down on paper and being able to truly visualise everything. For Christmas, I had a detailed calendar on my wish list and my sweet boyfriend purchased it for me, in the week-by-week view. Whilst, it's a little more detailed than I'd originally anticipated, it is really useful to keep things clear and planned. Of course, there aren't many social plans going in it at the moment, but sadly that's out of our control. At some point in the not so near future, I'm sure some sense of normality can return and I can't wait to travel and visit family once again. 

I love this calendar because it has a plastic sheet, with a marker pen that allows me to put repeated items on for each week, without repeating it each time by hand. I have mine divided into the following headings: Meals, Shifts, Plans, Hannah, Luke and Other. I think it's really nice to have separate columns for both myself and Luke, but also a column for when we have plans together, whether than be a date night, or eventually holidays and parties. 

It also has two tear off lists on the side which has become something I have really loved. One is a to-do list with a checklist along the side and there I can write jobs for the week and also jobs for Luke. I've always found myself wanting to do jobs more if I can tick them off at the end! Underneath that, there is a shopping list section. I keep the calendar hanging up next to the fridge in the kitchen and it's genuinely the perfect place. When foods are running low, items can quickly be added to the shopping list, which can then be torn off and taken with to the shops. 

Meal planning and prepping is something that's really important to me now that I've started a full-time job with shift work. I found myself as a student, eating up to 5 snacking meals a day because I would eat before work, on both my breaks, and after work. I've decided I'm now going to be taking meals to work to have on my break so that I'm not eating late at night, when I get back from work which is usually just a couple hours before bed. I try to write everything in for the next week on Sunday afternoon, or Monday morning if I am working. I also transfer any ingredients that are needed to the shopping list so that it can be purchased. 

In the few weeks I've been doing this system, I've also found that I'm not only saving money because I'm only getting food in that is then getting eaten, but I'm wasting less food, which is important in my goal to lead a more sustainable life, and also getting more variety in meals and nutrients, as I can visualise what we have eaten recently. All of these are massive benefits in my eyes! 

What are some of your planning ahead tips? I hope this helps some of you, who like me, feel very much out of control at the moment.