Healthy Time Saver: Plan & Pack Ahead

For any new readers to F&F, about two months ago I went through a few significant life changes all at once.  I turned 27, I moved into a new apartment with my boyfriend, I transferred to a new full-time job within the same company, and I got promoted to a higher position in my part-time job at the Y.

Although all positive things, the amount of change has been a lot to handle at once.

One of the biggest challenges for me is just adjusting to a new schedule.  It’s obvious that I’m comfortable on a schedule, that I always am go-go-go, and I’m always making a to do list.  Not being in a SET schedule yet is unsettling.  While it may not seem like a big deal to others, it actually causes me a lot of anxiety.

My last position I was able to work from home a set one or two days a week.  Think about how much time you spend getting ready for work and then getting to work, plus getting home and unwinding each day.  Double that and it’s a lot of extra time!  That extra getting ready and driving time on both days added up to a LOT of extra time that could be spent cleaning, doing laundry, going through emails, doing Y work, writing a blog post, catching up on sleep, etc.  While my new position is VERY flexible about hours and working from home if need be, and I’m very happy where I am now career-wise, all those things on my after work to do list are now ALWAYS there.

It’s very hard for me to feel like I have enough time to do everything I want to do without sacrificing sleep.  When I workout at night, I don’t get home from the gym until anywhere between 7:30 and 9.  Then I’d have to make my lunch and get my outfit and bags ready for the next day.  That may not seem like a lot, but I bring EVERYTHING I eat at work from home.  I hate buying it.  So when I say I have to “make my lunch,” I really mean that I prepare a small breakfast, a mid morning snack, a main lunch + side for lunch, and two to three afternoon snacks depending on what time I’ll get home from the gym that night.  I eat a lot!  I need to with the amount I exercise.

Aside from getting my food together, I also need to make sure my laptop and work bag are all set, my purse is laid out, my gym bag and gym clothes for the next day are ready to go, and I have to iron my outfit for the next day.  And if I’m teaching a morning class, I need to make sure to also pack shower things, etc.

All in all I was finding that JUST getting ready for the next day was taking me about an hour!  And when I don’t get home until say 8:30… and unwind/eat dinner by 9… then go straight into lunch making/bag packing… it’s about 10pm and then I start muttering that I still have to shower, how the HECK am I going to write a blog post for the morning, not feel like looking through emails and then get grumpy that I didn’t get to spend any time relaxing with Tim.

No wonder why I’ve been such a GRUMP lately.

So my friends, I decided it was time to stop complaining and come up with some positive solutions.  It REALLY grinds my gears when people tell me they have no time.  I couldn’t be guilty of this myself… if something means that much to you, you make time for it.  Simple as that.

First of all, I went on an ironing spree and ironed pretty much everything in my closet two weeks ago.  That has helped so I can just pull an outfit out of my closet and have it ready to go for the next day.  It was annoying of course to iron so many things at once, but it helped and was worth it.

Also, I went on a huge food chopping/packing spree last Monday when I had Columbus Day off.  Tim and I went grocery shopping on Sunday, so I decided to pack everything up in our Tupperware containers and plastic baggies.  This way I could spend 5 minutes just grabbing my food for the next day instead of taking all that extra time to prepare it.

Grapes, chopped celery, sliced red peppers, cottage cheese with blueberries and cinnamon, strawberries, and quinoa salad.  All ready to go for the week, along with bananas and apples and plums which didn’t need any prepping.  Tim brings his lunch too, so this would be enough for the both of us for the week, and Tim made a huge chicken salad on Sunday night that we packed up for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday lunch (we ate the quinoa on Tuesday).

This probably seems insane.

Honestly, taking the time to do this made me feel SO MUCH BETTER about my week and more importantly, DURING my week.  I didn’t feel overwhelmed and I actually had some time to sit and watch tv with Tim and get to bed at a decent hour.

So if you are someone who always says they have no time, or are just looking for a way to get yourself to bring lunch from home, I suggest also doing this before your work week even starts.  It really does help.

Does anyone else pack their lunches or chop/prepare their food ahead of time?  Any other time-saving tips out there that might help me during the work week?

Hope your weekends all wind down nicely today.

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7 thoughts on “Healthy Time Saver: Plan & Pack Ahead

  1. Oh I completely relate… How do people with kids do it? My former roommate would plan outfits 2 months in advance and iron for the week every Sunday. I prep snacks, have leftovers and eat simple lunches as well. I also try to work out in the AM but that means diligently packing a bag and going to bed super early…. I think the solution is to have 2 more hours in the day.

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  2. Pingback: Weekend + Weekly Workouts | Fitness & Feta

  3. I can relate! It really takes dedication to plan out a weeks worth of meals. I do similar to what you do and find yes, it’s time consuming, but it’s also another step towards a healthier week! Thanks for your tips!

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  4. This made me feel better as I am about to take on the same major life changes…just signed on with a new company out of state, and going to be moving in with my boyfriend. Glad to hear about your experience and I love a schedule too. This made me feel better that a little arranging and a few changes and I can still do the things I enjoy. Thanks!

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  5. I can totally relate! Moved in with the boyfriend, commute increased etc. My friends laugh when they see our fridge but taking a few hours on Sunday to make some meals and prepare everything is SO worth it! We even make smoothies ahead and keep them in mason jars..try it! Loved seeing this post and that photo because we do the same exact thing!

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  6. I am exactly the same way! I need lots of snacks throughout the day and my lunch and that would take forever each night to do! lately I have been making salads on sunday for the week and it is SUCH a time saver!! before i even put away my groceries I make my salads… love it!

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