Organized Year // Do All Things With Love
[Part 3 of An Organized Year]

I have found that planning is really the key to making any new routines work. You can have every good intention of doing things but if you don’t plan out the time or have clear goals these good intentions fall apart. I started the year by planning out our regular weekly activities and tasks, knowing that week to week things will change. This plan is just meant to outline the really regular things we do like work, studying, going to the gym, and laundry. Even this really rough outline of a typical week allows me to set aside time needed for the different activities. Organized Year // Do All Things With Love Some of the new things I added to my weeks to make this year more organized are:

    1. Meal prep once per week to make all of our lunches and at least a couple of dinners


  • Use of a crock pot for our dinner at least one day per week



  • A weekly financial check-in



  • Meal planning before our weekly food shopping



  • Picking out clothes for the week



An Organized Year // Do All Things With Love 1. I don’t know about you all, but I have trouble finding the time to pack a lunch every day. I have found the way to do this is to set aside time on the weekend to just make everything and pack it up into containers. I’ve made kale salads, soups, chicken and mashed sweet potatoes. A helpful trick is to freeze hearty items in portion-sized Tupperware so the food stays if you aren’t going to eat it right away. An Organized Year // Do All Things With Love 2. By using a crock pot (or slow cooker) you can save tons of cooking time and you can come home from work to dinner that’s ready. Onur isn’t a huge fan of crock pot meals so I cook using it infrequently. However, if you find some really delicious recipes, please let me know. There are zillions of crock pot recipes on Pinterest, and some of them are better than others. It takes some trial and error to find ones that your family likes. One of the few that I’ve made over and over is the roasted chicken which is pretty simple. Financial Tracking // Do All Things With Love 3. One of my goals for the year is to be more mindful week to week about putting money into savings, paying our car loan off quicker, etc. The way I keep myself accountable is every Sunday I spend 20 minutes checking account balances, paying bills and updating our running budget spreadsheet. If you are like me and want to have a better understanding of your money I highly recommend both Mint (free) and Credit Sesame (basic level is free) for tracking your money and credit score. I used to use Mint a lot more a few years ago when I was just starting to manage my money, but in the last few years I haven’t needed it so much because our spending is pretty much the same month to month on the same living expenses. This year I started using a notebook to keep track of income, account balances and upcoming bills and I realized that I could actually project our account balances for the next few months and even for the year, I have since built a simple excel spreadsheet for this purpose. I know I could use a financial website for this but I actually like doing these manually. At the beginning of the year we also set some financial goals in terms of things we were saving for and a timeline for paying off our car loan, and even brainstorming about other income sources. This goal setting at the beginning of the year has helped shape our decision-making and already we are on track to pay off our five-year car loan in less than three years, to put aside the largest amount possible into retirement savings for the year while at the same time building up a good safety net in our savings account. Organized Year // Do All Things With Love 4. One of the best ways to save time (and money) is to plan out your meals for the week before you head to the food store and only go to the food store ONE time per week. This forces you to use up what you already have and hopefully keeps you from spending too much money and time going to the store over and over. We live very close to a wonderful open-air market that sometimes it’s hard to resist going every few days. But let me say again: meal planning is your friend. Organized Year // Do All Things With Love 5. Picking out clothes for the week is a game-changer. This year is the first time I’ve tried it, and I can’t say enough about how much this helps make my getting ready for work in the mornings faster and easier. There are many ways to do this, I’m sure you could use Excel or an app of some kind, but I just use some index cards with a whole punched in them for a binder ring. I started out by listing one outfit (including shoes and accessories) on each card and each week I would make a few new combinations and add to my outfit cards. Each week I set aside those from the week before (to prevent too much repetition) and set up my next week of outfit cards and put them on the hangers with each set of clothes. Organized Year // Do All Things With Love


Want to read the rest of the series?

  1. An Organized Year
  2. An Organized Year: Multi-Tasking
  3. An Organized Year: Planning (you are here!)