As part of my Self-Care Sunday series, I wanted to introduce the idea of using a small amount of time each Sunday to set up the week ahead. Doing so will help you craft a more productive and hopefully less stressful week. So, let’s get into: How to set intentions for a stress-free week.
What does setting goals and intentions have to do with self-care?
Do you ever feel like the days and weeks are slipping away? As I write this it’s already April first! I feel like February was just last week.
Many of us, myself included tend to spend our days putting out fires. Rushing from one task, meeting or project to another… only to leave a path of mess and destruction in our wake, all the while wondering where did the day go?
My hope is that together we can course correct and start living a well-designed life where actions are made with intention and forethought.
After all, it’s better to act with intention than react with abandon.
I’ve been journaling and planning my week off and on for about 6 months now and I find when I plan ahead my weeks are far more efficient and effective.
Journaling and goal setting are skills that need practice and honing. By doing it regularly you will begin to see patterns in your life and as a result, begin to create systems that either enhance or eliminate these patterns and habits.
For example, you might begin to notice that when you stay up late to watch your favourite show on tv, you have a hard time getting up to workout the next morning. In order to course correct, you might PVR or stream your show at an earlier time so you can get to bed and have the energy to workout the next morning.
Ok so let’s get started and set some intentions for a stress-free week!
Setting intentions: I find it helpful to divide my intentions into 3 categories, Essential Task Intentions, Healthy Habit Intentions and Fun & Happiness Intentions. I’ll explain them more below.
Essential Task Intentions are the things that need doing this week, tasks that you can’t compromise on like going to work or paying bills. Sadly, these take priority over the more enjoyable intentions below.
Healthy Habit Intentions are routines or lifestyle changes you would like to create. These can take time to develop but if you schedule them into your daily routine you can make lasting change in your life. These are things like exercise, reading daily or eating healthier.
Fun & Happiness Intentions are the things you would like to do more often like spend time with family, get out in nature or take up a new hobby.
Take a few minutes to think about each of these intentions and how they translate to your life, what you are doing now and what you would like more of in your life. Now let’s get started and put pen to paper.
What your need:
Scrap paper for making notes
A journal/planner or notebook – you don’t need anything fancy just a place to keep your schedule for the week.
Pencils or pens (single or multi colour whatever is easiest to get you started)
What to do:
1: List your Intentions
On your scrap paper: in three columns list or mind map all of the Essential Task Intentions, that need doing this week, Healthy Habits Intentions you would like to create and Fun & Happiness Intentions you would like to do. Leave some room around each of your list items to explore them further.
Essential Task Intentions: work, write, get the kids to school, feed the family
Healthy Habit Intentions: keep the kitchen clean, eat healthier, exercise, family time
Fun & Happiness Intentions: birthday lunch with Tara, get outside more
2: Layout your Week
Create a grid of 8 cells and assign them each a day of the week (Monday through Sunday and a cell for notes). I downloaded this free weekly planner here. Assign all of the essential tasks to the applicable day eg: Monday work 9-5, Wednesday, Thursday night write 7-10pm, etc.
3: Evaluate and edit your week
Now look at your week, and identify times where you can make the rest of the week flow easier. Can you create a healthy meal plan for the week? Cook a big pot of soup for lunches the week or get all the laundry done?
Keep an eye out for any areas where you are overbooked or pressed for time, can you edit or simplify those days? can any appointments be rescheduled or tasks be streamlined? Streamlining the week will help you begin to get those Healthy Habits in place and help reduce the stress of not knowing what to cook for dinner or having to dig through a laundry pile to find something to wear.
Maybe you have a regular meeting or community service club that you have been a part of or years, but you dread attending each month. Perhaps, it’s time to politely excuse yourself from the group, it’s ok to do this; self-care is also about letting go when necessary.
4: Make it fun and save time by combining tasks and intentions
Take another look and see if even more efficiencies can be had? Can family time and meal planning be combined into something you all do together? Instead of lunch with a friend, maybe you can go for a walk together? If you can’t help it and you have to stay up late to watch your show… can you workout while you watch? Stacking tasks can create more time in your day and help support your healthy habit intentions.
Ok, now you can transfer your week into your planner or journal, making sure to schedule in some time for Self-Care Sunday next week.
5: Check back in – what worked what didn’t
This system isn’t a one-shot silver bullet for all your troubles, but it can help you design a week that works for you and your family. Revisit your week next Sunday, decide what worked and what didn’t and make a note of it. Then plan for the week coming up, rinse and repeat 😉
It’s hard to share your goals with others, for fear of failing, sometimes our goals are personal, financial or health related, that’s why it’s important to write them down. Sure you can share them with others if you’d like but most importantly it makes you accountable to yourself. Writing things down makes them real and doing so hold you accountable to the intentions you set for yourself.
Ok so to recap: How to set intentions for a stress-free week
1: List your Essential Task Intentions, Healthy Habit Intentions, Fun & Happiness Intentions
2: Lay out your week
3: Really evaluate and edit your week
4: Make it fun and save time by combining tasks and intentions
5: Check back, what worked what didn’t?
That’s it! If you try this or have another planning or intentions setting system that you use love to hear about it. Comment below, or find me on my socials.
I’ll have more in this Self-Care Sunday series next Sunday so check back in next week.
thanks for hanging out!