“I hate Mondays!” proclaims the lasagna loving, orange, fat, mischievous, sarcastic tabby cat we all know as Garfield.
And you know what? I’m not too fond of Mondays either. I COULD sit here and type a list of reasons why and get all of you riled up, and listen to your rants and complaints about Mondays, but that’s not my style, nor is it the purpose of this blog.
I am more interested in coming up with solutions to problems. I hope that you are too! As a renewed teacher, I realize I don’t have time in my daily schedule to complain about things that are beyond my control. (Even though I occasionally find myself expressing my many annoyances. Hey, being a renewed teacher is process. I am not perfect.) But as I grow professionally and personally, I am learning that time is precious. Each minute and what you choose to do with those minutes can be beneficial or detrimental to your life. I choose to make the minutes of my life beneficial, and that means letting go of many of the things that are beyond my control.
Monday coming around each week is a problem beyond our control. How we plan for Monday is all up to us!
To make Mondays less traumatizing and the week ahead a little easier to look forward to, planning ahead for tedious things is important.
Let’s start planning!
1. Meal Prep
I often cook meals for days at a time. On Saturday or Sunday, I wake up early, throw about 4-6 chicken breasts in the oven, brown some ground turkey for spaghetti or chili, cook some turkey burgers, cut up vegetables, and pack my husband’s, my son’s, and my lunch for Monday. This past Sunday, I baked egg muffins with spinach, onion, green and red peppers. We eat these for breakfast with oatmeal, turkey bacon or turkey kielbasa, and a piece of fruit. I also made a big pot of chili, a fresh vegetable salad, and chicken salad. Although I spend about 2 hours doing this on the weekend, it saves me at least 3-4 hours during the week. It saves time because I do not have to cook a whole meal when I come home from a long day at work. All I have to do is cook a side or two and heat up the meat, and were good to go in 15 minutes or less. Additionally, I am into eating clean, so meal prepping allows me to manage what goes into my body. I also do not have to worry about spending money on something quick from a fast-food restaurant or corner store if I happen to be running late to work. For more on meal prep, please click here.
2. Clothing Prep
I learned this from my husband. When we dating, and I would visit with him, I noticed him ironing 5 shirts and 5 pairs of pants. I was curious about what he was doing. He told me that he likes to have his clothes out and ready for the week so that he doesn’t have to scramble for clothing during the week in the mornings. I thought it was a genius idea, and I still do. I have been getting 5-6 outfits ready for the workweek for almost 10 years now. I even do the same thing for our son now! It saves me so much time in the mornings and makes me not dread waking up because I am already prepared to get dressed.
3. Plan Work-Outs
This one may not be for everyone, but what ever you do with your spare time…whatever that thing is that you do that keeps your mind and body clear, insert here. But if you’re like me, and you enjoy looking fit and being healthy or are trying to lose or gain weight, you need to workout (and meal prep). Working out can take up a tremendous amount of your time if you let. I unfortunately let it. But I don’t say that to complain. I do have personal fitness/physical goals that I am working towards, but working out also clears my mind. I enjoy being healthy. This is a picture of me at the gym. I am currently finishing up Jamie Eason’s Live Fit Trainer, and you can see a screenshot of one of the workouts below. I plan to do REMIX RIPPED next. I am very intimidated, but I enjoy challenges.
In order to workout 4-5 times a week for at least 45 minutes to 1.5 hours, I have to plan. I need to plan which days I will go and at what times I will go and schedule the dates. In addition to this, I also plan what body parts I will work on and on which days I will do them. I break it down to days in which I will lift weights only, cardio only, lift weights and do cardio, and plyo-metrics. On weekdays, sometimes I am at the gym at 5:00 am. Other times I am there at 5:00 pm. On the weekends, I like to be there as soon as the gym opens which is 8:00 am or 9:00 am. I enjoy starting my day off with a good workout. My mental state is 10 times better when I do. Working out on Sunday helps to prepare my mental state for Monday.
4. Create Lesson Plans and Make Copies by Friday
Don’t you hate when you go to the copy machine and all it does is play for least favorite jam? And it usually plays when you really need your copies the most. Planning my lessons and copies the week before I need them, usually works for me. Our lesson plans are due on Fridays. I am sad to say that this week beat me to the punch. Because I create my plans based on what my students need and where they are, I usually plan a little each day starting on the Wednesday before. When I begin planning at this time, I am usually able to have my plans done by Friday. If I wait until Friday to begin planning (which is the case this week), I usually am not done with my plans until Sunday (which means I’m working on them at home) or Monday morning. When my plans are done by Friday, I am able to make my copies on Friday and have them ready and organized for the following week. I try to make copies all at one time to prevent having to go to the copy machine multiple times throughout the week. However, there are so many amazing teachers out there in the Pinterest world! They share a wealth of awesome ideas I think will work to help my students learn content and concepts better. Because of this, I am always copying something new. However, I still feel good because my necessities are taken care of.
5. Last But Not Least: Sometimes You Have to “Just Say No!”
I remember when every time someone asked me to do something, I did it. I went out to breakfast, lunch, and dinner, parties, clubs, home events, and could not figure out where my weekends went. I finally had to stop, and put myself and my family first. This is no easy feat as I do not always want to stay home to cook, clean, grade papers, or even workout. I’d much rather catch up with my friends and family over a nice meal or go shopping. But in the past, the closer Monday came, the more apprehensive and stressed out I felt. These were not normal feelings for me. Something had to give. I had to start saying no to somethings and be very particular about what I said yes to. But I still think the government, or whomever is in charge of things of this nature, should add one more day to our week, and I prefer it be between Saturday and Sunday. One more day to sleep in!
I don’t do each of these ideas perfectly all the time. But when I am able to at least commit to getting two of these items checked off of my list on Saturday or Sunday, Mondays are much easier to
As we continue to grow and renew our passion for teaching, finding practical ways to plan our lives and make the most of the minutes we have in our days is of the utmost importance. When we are prepared personally and professionally, we are able to be prepared for our students.
I enjoy sharing tips and ideas with other educators, but I do not blog because I have all of the answers or even any of the answers. As I share what works for me, I’d like to hear what works for you! So post your comments, tips, and ideas on how you prepare for Mondays and the week ahead.
Thank you for reading, commenting, following, posting to other social media outlets, and being a supporter of the RenewED Teacher!
Until next time…Happy Teaching!
Krystal L. Smith, The RenewED Teacher