How to Create Weekly Rhythms that Matter
Weekly rhythms are the backbone of our lives. Even if you aren’t completely engaged in your weekly rhythms, I bet that you have some that either set your weeks up for success, or failure. This week, as we work through our time inventory I want you to pay attention to your weekly rhythms. What are the things that you are doing each week that don’t take any thought at all? Are there areas of your life that move more smoothly because of those set rhythms that you may not even realize you have?
Creating a weekly rhythm is an important aspect of living a life we love. Why? Because if we do not look at our weeks as what we can accomplish, or how we can live our lives, they easily slip away. I can’t tell you how many weeks end and I don’t know what the heck happened. Obviously this is something that can happen a lot during busy seasons. But, before I had good rhythms set in place, there were weeks where I would just go through the motions. And nobody wants that!
Today I am going to share some of my own weekly rhythms in the hope that it will give you some ideas on what will work for you. It doesn’t mean that you copy what I do. But, I know it is helpful to me to have examples to start with, so that is what you can do. Look at what I am doing, and try what you want, leave the rest. These are just ideas!
Weekly Rhythms: Sunday Planning
The most important part of my weekly rhythms is really my Sunday planning and prep. Sunday planning is something that allows me to move through my week and accomplish all the things that I need to. Is it always perfect? No. And I hope that you don’t read any of the posts from this series and think it is perfect. It will never be that way. However, you can move in that direction. And once your rhythm is in place, it will be much easier.
What does Sunday planning look like? It is going through all the outside commitments for the week first. How many things are on the agenda? Is there anything that needs to change? Did I make too many commitments? If you feel comfortable with what you have written down in front of you, great! If you feel like there are too many things in front of you, is there something you can cut? Or will it just be a busy week, which is also OK! As long as it isn’t always a busy week.
If you are looking for more help as you start to understand your weekly rhythms, make sure to pre-register for my workshop on Creating Margin HERE! On sale until 10/28. We start Monday October 31st.
Once I have all of my outside commitments written down, it is time to focus on homeschool planning. I have an entire series on homeschool planning, and talk about it frequently over on YouTube. I do have an overall idea of where I want to go throughout our homeschool year, as well as curriculum we are going to be using. But, the actual lesson planning and figuring out what we are going to do is a weekly thing for me.
Why? Because every week is different. If I try to plan out our entire homeschool year at the beginning of the year, I will inevitably fall behind. Not because we are having bad days, but because I haven’t planned with all the other activities in mind. Some weeks are super busy outside the house, some weeks are when we are at home all the time. It is definitely seasonal, and so that is why I continue to write out our plans weekly.
Weekly Rhythms – Food Prep
Another area that I focus on weekly is food prep. Now, I need you to read that again – food prep, NOT meal planning. Over the years, I have come to realize that I do not follow a meal plan. Remember when we talked briefly about personality types? I am firmly in the rebel section when I talk about meal planning. I know how to create a meal plan just fine, but then actually following it is something else entirely.
I used to believe it was because I was bad at meal planning. But, then when I really drilled down to it, it wasn’t that I was bad at meal planning, it was that I enjoyed cooking. I didn’t want to be placed in a box as to what we had to eat on a certain day. So, I changed my thinking from meal planning to food prep.
What is food prep?
Food prep is very similar to meal planning. I am still thinking about meals we will eat in the week ahead, but instead of writing a list of Monday we eat soup, Tuesday we eat tacos, I prep ingredients so I can make what I want to make, while also cutting back on some of the stress of actually making the food. Does that make sense? So, instead of working off a list of meals, I have a list of prepped ingredients in my fridge that I can select from. When I open my fridge and pantry to decide what I want to make for dinner, I can come up with ideas on the fly because I see what is available and the ingredients are all ready for me to grab and use.
It helps that I have a list of meals that I created years and years ago that I can easily make from ingredients I typically have on hand. I would encourage you to grab your notebook and write out your own list of easy-to-make meals so it decreases the stress.
My food prep (baking bread, cooking beans and rice, chopping veggies) is mainly done on Mondays. I would like to say that I will do it on Sundays, but that is where another of our weekly rhythms take place.
Weekly Rhythms – Sabbath
Another part of my weekly rhythm is our Sabbath day, or our day of rest. As a Christian, I want to make sure that I am taking the day of rest that God has given to us. He doesn’t want us to work constantly. But, it is super easy to fall into that busyness trap.
I believe that a day of rest is going to look different to everyone, depending on your priorities, and your family. That is OK. My priorities for our Sabbath:
- No outside commitments besides church/fellowship
- No screens
- No chores
It may seem pretty easy to follow, but it actually isn’t. The no outside commitments is one that we talked about when we were making out yes and no list. It took me a long time to be able to say no to activities that took place on Sunday mornings. It was a really hard decision for my husband and I to make because it automatically removed some opportunities for my kids, and that was hard.
No screens can be a bit of a challenge as well. Honestly, that one has been really bad over the past couple of years for me personally. I had been good for years about not turning on the computer or looking at my phone on Sundays. But, then, when the world shut down, it became a lifeline. I haven’t gotten back to a place that I feel good about yet.
A caveat about Screens
When I say no screens, what I really mean is no work for me, and no individual screens for the kids. We do watch football in the fall/winter. Family movies are another screen thing that we allow. But, I try to stay off of social media, I don’t want to be working on Sundays – and that can be incredibly challenging as someone who works completely online.
No chores, well that is a little bit easier to follow. I want to have our week set up well, but I do all of my busywork and chores on Saturday so that I don’t have to do those things on Sunday. The only chore that I am working on is Sunday planning. That is actually something that I do later in the afternoon, after I feel like our “Sabbath” is complete.
Weekly Rhythms – Monday Meetings
The next rhythm that we have is our Monday meetings. This is a time where I sit down with the kids and go over the week ahead. I make out lists for each of my kids each week as far as what they are expected to do for homeschool and chores, and then we go over it on Monday morning. I also go over any outside commitments and activities that we have going on.
My kids like to have all the information. This is partly why I keep a large family calendar out in the kitchen for everyone to see. I want them to know what is going on and for them to practice time management.
They work off their lists each day. My older two know that I expect the list to be completed by the end of the week. It doesn’t mean that I am completely hands off with them, but as they get older, they know what my expectations are. It is up to them, with my help, to learn to manage their time wisely and complete what is required of them.
Fridays are usually a lighter day in our homeschool. This is the day that I catch up on all of the grading and correcting I need to do. The grading and correcting is mainly for my high schooler so that I am keeping track of everything she needs for her transcript. I look and see where I may have planned too much, or if there was something that came up that was unexpected and why it was unexpected.
I spend my time considering these things so that I can make small adjustments the next week. If we had a lot of stress about a particular subject, I will come up with a new strategy on how to present that subject, or work on that concept. If a book isn’t working for one of my kids, I will look and see if we can cut that book. When you give yourself the time to consider smaller blocks of time (a week, or a month), you are able to make the small adjustments necessary to move forward successfully.
Weekly Rhythms – Saturday Chore Day
The last weekly rhythm is our Saturday chore day. I don’t want you to think we are constantly working. We aren’t. But Saturdays do tend to be a work day in our home. We have to take care of our property and animals. We have to take care of our home.
During the week, my focus is primarily on homeschooling and my own work. I don’t have a ton of time leftover for big house projects or a ton of cleaning. Yes, we do what needs to be done throughout the week – laundry, dishes, vacuuming etc. But, our spaces tend to get cluttered up, and need to be cleaned up each week. Saturday just happens to be the day that I focus on that. It means that I may live with a little more clutter during the week, but it is all cleaned up and ready for a new week come Sunday!
The Bottom Line
Having these weekly rhythms set in our home means that we all know what we are doing each week. There is a good amount of consistency in our weeks, and that helps keep everyone on track. These weekly rhythms are important to me. I want our days to run smoothly, but they are also important to my kids. Having an expectation of what is ahead, and knowing what is expected of them – through homeschooling, through family traditions, through their responsibilities around the house, and in our community, helps to create a life we love.
These rhythms are built into our lives so that we have margin and space to do the things that we love. If I didn’t plan on Sundays, our weeks wouldn’t go smoothly. Not that they are always 100% smooth (that never happens!), but they are as smooth as something imperfect can be. The weeks I don’t prep food are weeks we don’t eat as well as we should. If I don’t do my Saturday chores, I feel completely off kilter during the week, and my temper is shorter than it ought to be.
Your weekly rhythms help to set the tone for your life. You want to live a life you love. The rhythms will help give you space and margin for those parts of your life that you love.