The Biggest Ways I Save Time During the Week

We are all busy. We all have a lot of things happening on any specific day or week. Whether it’s work, hobbies, kids, family, social events, getting to the gym, etc., many of us do not have the luxury of having a lot of free time to do things every day such as cook fancy meals, do laundry, clean the house, relax and read, take a bath… you get the idea. But, just because we are busy doesn’t mean that all of our health and wellness goals have to go out the window. All it means is that we have to put a little more planning into these things- sometimes, even when we don’t want to.

For me, planning or prepping for the week includes:

  • grocery shopping
  • planning out my teaching schedule
  • plan out my workout schedule and any classes I want to take
  • meal prep- whether specific meals or just veggies and protein so that I can mix and match throughout the week
  • laundry

Even though I may not WANT to do any of these things throughout the weekend, especially on busy weekends, I know that even if I can just do one of them, or some of a few of them, I will ultimately feel less stressed throughout the week because I don’t have to worry about figuring out how to get it all done. I thought it might be helpful if I share my “pep talk” or “if/then” scenarios with you in case you’re in the need for some motivation to get sh*t done.

  • When I’m feeling sheer dread about doing something (ex: “I realllly don’t want to prep food right now” or “Ugh. I just wish someone would go to the store for me” or “Can we hire someone to clean our apartment please?!”), I try to think about how I’ll feel AFTER I do it. (Side note: this is also something I do when I don’t feel like working out!) I know that later on in the week I will be SO HAPPY to not have to go food shopping or prep food or do laundry or clean the house. And the great thing is, usually once I think about the feeling of finishing something, I’m more likely to dread the activity a little less.
  • Give myself a timeframe. Let’s say I really don’t want to prep food. If I say that I will just do it for 30 minutes or 1 hour, it seems so much less daunting! And while I may not completely finish the process, whatever I can get done in that amount of time helps so much on the back end. Another perk of this? I usually keep going for a little longer because once I get started, it’s not so bad and the feeling of being done is motivation to keep going! (another side note: this is another technique I use when I don’t want to workout!)
  • Asking for help is another thing that works well- team work is dream work, baby! If I’m exhausted on Sunday but know I have a busy week ahead and don’t want the stress of not being prepared to burden me, I ask for help. Often times it will look something like this: I will prep the veggies and RM will cook them the next day while I’m at work or teaching. Or, I will put the laundry in and RM will fold it. Or, we will food prep together. Every little bit counts!
  • Figure out what’s most critical- For me, food shopping and meal prepping is the most important thing as it saves me the most time throughout the week AND is a necessity since I don’t want to have to worry about buying breakfast and lunch and dinner out (#expensiveAF). Even if I just hard boil eggs, roast some veggies or do a stirfry using frozen veggies, this will help me out so much during the week. However, cleaning? I’m not going to kill myself to get that done if I’m tired or if I’d rather spend my time watching tv with RM, meeting up with friends, going for a walk, etc. Blogging can also wait. Laundry can be done easily during the week. It’s all about prioritizing, which likely differs from person to person.

I realize that some of you, perhaps those of you who are not Type A ( 😉 ), may not feel stressed if you don’t get your life “in order”before the week starts. In fact, it may very well cause you a lot MORE stress or anxiety to have a weight hanging over you regarding meal prep, food shopping, cleaning, laundry, etc. However, for those of you who tend to relate to the Type A personality (#raiseshand), you may relate in that you find it MORE stressful to try and be easy going, go with the flow, do things as necessary & as they come up, etc. Trust me, I have tried to forget about everything mentioned in this post and while it may be nice on Sunday, it feels 10 times worse for me on Monday when I realize I have a lot of things on my schedule and nothing prepped to help make the week a little easier on me on a day to day basis.

But, I think the biggest thing I want to mention- as well as the biggest area of growth for myself over the years- is that prep work shouldn’t make you more stressed, no matter whether you’re a planner or not. I used to get so worked up if I didn’t prep all my blog posts, do all my laundry, clean, and spend hours doing meal prep (and coming up with new recipes to blog) on Sundays. Thankfully, over the past few years that’s a distant memory. I do what I can, when I can, knowing that any little bit extra that I can do over the weekend will come in handy as the week progresses.

At the end of the day, it’s all about figuring out what works for you, which is likely different than what works for the bloggers you may follow, your friends or even co-workers. And that is totally OK. I hope you realize that I don’t share these things to make you feel as though you should do exactly what I do, but rather, I like to share in case people are looking for ways to simplify tasks and to make healthy living a little easier for busy schedules. That, and I love hearing your own tips/advice/thoughts/preferences/etc. because I’m always looking for ways to change things up and save time.

With that said, I’d love to hear from you- do you prefer to plan and prep ahead of time so that you week days/nights are easier or do you just go with the flow? What’s one thing you do to motivate yourself to get sh*t done when you really don’t want to? What’s your best time saving tip for meal prep or something else?

 

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How I Maximize Food Prep In Minimal Time

If you follow any health/food/fitness bloggers, I’m SURE you’ve seen endless meal or food prep posts, right? Salads, muffins, quinoa bakes, veggies, hard boiled eggs, etc. While it all looks and sounds amazing, I’d be lying if it didn’t seem overwhelming- and time consuming! How do these people have time to do all of this? How long does all of it take? Where do they find all the recipes?

We are all busy and have lots of different things on our calendars that may not allow us to spend as much time in the kitchen as we would like. Or, maybe you don’t want to spend a lot of the time in the kitchen even if your schedule does allow for it. So, my goal today is to show you that there are simple ways to maximize your food prep in minimal time. As much as I’d love to have 3-4 hours a week or weekend to dedicate to meal prep (I love cooking, baking and preparing for the week), it’s generally not possible these days.

  • Start small- Rather than comparing yourself to what you’re seeing others prepare and post about, focus on where you can start. Maybe that’s putting together yogurt bowls or hard boiling some eggs or maybe you pack up your veggies for your daily snack. All of these things are “meal prep” in my mind because they are things that make your life a little easier during the week!
  • Keep it simple- You don’t need to make lots of different recipes in order to do “meal prep”. What we find the easiest and most successful in our house is to just prep a ton of veggies: sweet potatoes, kale, broccoli, green beans, brussels sprouts, etc. From there, we can eat them throughout the week in different ways: for breakfast, on a salad, in a wrap, etc.
  • Versatility- As I’ve mentioned, try and prep items that have multiple uses or could be used for multiple meals. Example: hard boiled eggs- these can be taken for breakfast or added to a salad for lunch. Healthy muffins or no bake balls can be used for breakfast or a snack. Chicken can be used on a salad, in a wrap, in a quinoa bowl, etc.
  • Do it on the day that works for you- Just because others do meal prep on Sundays, it doesn’t mean you need to! If Mondays or Tuesdays work better, then do it then. When I worked from home on Mondays I would often do a “meal prep Monday”, but now that I work from home on Tuesdays and teach after work I try to get the meal prep done on Sundays.
  • Do what you can when you can/split it up- “Splitting” up my meal prep was something I discovered over the summer. Sunday’s were usually spent doing summer things like getting drinks, coming back from the Cape or going for long bike rides, which left little time for a big meal prep. I taught on Monday’s so I didn’t have a lot of time then, either. What did I do? Sunday nights I would peel, cut & prep the veggies I wanted to cook (sweet potatoes, broccoli, kale, etc.). On Monday’s while I was teaching, RM would cook the veggies (and usually grill some chicken). This worked out well because we were able to tag-team the meal prep and neither one of us had to spend hours in the kitchen.
  • Splurge on partially prepped items- If you shop at Whole Foods, I’m sure you’re familiar with their “chop” area, which is basically an area in the store where they’ve pre-chopped & packaged various veggies. Think: peppers and onions, brococli and cauliflower, spiralized sweet potatoes, carrots and zucchini, etc. While these items are definitely more expensive than buying them un-prepped, they save you lots of time! Another cheaper option is buying frozen veggies. Making a stir-fry? Consider grabbing a bag of frozen veggies as that speeds up the meal prep/cooking by quite a bit! Bottom line, if you’re looking looking for a way to speed up your meal prep, this is a great option – and it’s still cheaper than ordering out!

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Although I could go on, I think I’ll stop here as this should provide you with a look into how you can make meal prep a little easier on you. I used to stress if I didn’t prep a bajillion different things on Sunday, so I am very happy that I’ve learned some of these ‘tricks’ over the years because not only does it take the stress out of meal prepping, it makes it more fun AND allows me to do other fun things – win, win!

Questions for you: Do you like to meal prep or do you prefer to cook each night or order out? Do you have any time-saving tips for meal prep?

Overcoming “Sunday Scaries”

I don’t know about you, but Sunday’s used to bring me lots of anxiety. I “had” to do laundry, food shop, meal prep, pack lunches, pack my gym bag, clean, blog…. the list went on and on and unless I got all of those things done, I felt so stressed that I wouldn’t be prepared for the week. <– crazy, I know, but can any of you relate? It’s such a shame that I let so many weekends go by where my “Sunday tasks” would take over my entire day, leaving no room for anything fun.

It wasn’t until I started getting serious with RM that things changed. I realized that spending time with him- doing whatever that might be- was more important that making sure I had everything properly prepped and ready for the week. This wasn’t an entirely easy change to make and I can’t say I didn’t spend many Sunday nights stressed because I hadn’t gotten everything done and felt unprepared for the week, but over time those negative feelings went away and I was able to fully enjoy my Sunday’s all while not stressing about the start of the week.

I think part of this is because I realized that whatever I didn’t get done on Sundays could be done during the week or skipped all together. Didn’t have time to food shop or meal prep? That’s ok- I can always get lunch at work and RM and I can tag-team the meal prep later in the week. Wasn’t able to clean the house? The house will not be a horrible place to live if I don’t get the cleaning done. Laundry didn’t get done? There’s always time at night during the week- not ideal, but it can be done. No blog post written? Since this isn’t really a source of income for me, I’ve learned that I need to remove the stress associated with getting posts up- I know you guys will be around for whenever I am able to publish something so it’s not worth stressing about choosing to live my life rather than write about it 😉

Life will still go on if I don’t get my Sunday things in line, and realizing and accepting this has made a world of a difference in how I approach my Sunday’s. These days I just go with the flow- if we are on the Cape, I don’t feel the need to rush back because I’d rather spend it at the beach. If it’s a nice weekend here and we want to go into the city and hang out, I do what I can to make the week a little easier and fill in the gaps for the rest during the week so that we can enjoy our day. Realizing that I could “do what I can” was the best feeling in the world because even if I only have time to food shop, that’s enough to help take a little edge off the week’s to-do’s.

As I sat writing this post last night, I reflected on the weekend and felt so blessed. Friday night RM and I stayed in and made burgers, Saturday we bought bikes and then my family came down and we had a delicious dinner at the Social in Newton Corner, Sunday morning I went to church with my parents and after saying goodbye to them, spent the day with RM. We took our bikes for a ride to do some errands, we went to the pool, we went to Chestnut Hill to return some stuff, we went to The Cottage for an afternoon cocktail and snack, we food shopped and then I did a small meal prep. I was able to fit in all of my favorite things: family, sun, exercise, relaxation, etc. into my Sunday and not once did I feel the “omg it’s Sunday and I have so much to get ready for the week”. I don’t have a packed lunch, but that’s ok- I’ll just buy something today! I didn’t cleaning done, but it’s no big deal because soaking up these summer Sunday’s is just more important to me!

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I feel like I’ve rambled on, but I guess the point of this post that I’m trying to make is that life is too short to waste time and energy on “Sunday Scaries”. There will always be things on your to-do list that you will have wished you’d gotten to, but I’m willing to bet that living in the now and soaking up the moments that come about far outweighs your to-do’s that didn’t get done. So, rather than letting Sunday Scaries get the best of you, face them head on and live your day to the fullest! And do what you can throughout the week to chip away at your to-do’s- they’ll all get done eventually, but I promise that spending time with friends and family is going to create far better memories for you than a clean house and a fridge full of prepped food 😉

Five on Friday {8.5.16}

Hi friends! Happy Fridayyyy. Did you have a good week? Mine was filled with lots of different forms of fitness, time with friends and early nights with RM, so I can’t really complain 😉 I’m really looking forward to this weekend because I am heading home to Maine later in the weekend- I haven’t been home in so long so I’m excited to go home and relax and hang with my parents. With that, let’s recap some things of possible interest:

  • Seaport Sweat The first night of the Seaport Sweat series was a sucess! I had a blast teaching outside to a group of mostly new faces- I was craving this exact sort of challenge in my teaching so this series worked out really well 🙂 If you didn’t make it last week, no worries! I’ll be there every Monday night at 6:30pm until the end of October (minus the 3 weeks I won’t be there because we will be on our honeymoon). You can sign up here if you’re interested in checking it out. Remember- it’s FREE… and they’ll have swag to giveaway soon, too!

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  • New Boxing schedule– GymIt in Watertown has made some significant changes to their schedule for the month of August. Instead of being there at 5:30 and 6:30pm for Bags & Beats on Tuesday nights, I’ll be there for just ONE class at 6pm. This actually works out well because August is a crazy month filled with lots of teaching so  it’s nice to drop my schedule down a bit.
  • FIT on the Garden On Wednesday I had the chance to head over to the Prudential Center for a free yoga class on the Prudential greens. I was so happy someone from the Prudential marketing team reached out to me because otherwise I would’nt have known about this amazing outdoor free fitness series. There were SO MANY other yogis participating in the class and it was really freaking awesome getting to do yoga outside and look up and see a bright blue sky and the Prudential center. On top of that, they gave me a really sweet swag bag full of goodies like a gift card to Lulu, sweetgreens, Sephora and Flywheel- I felt so spoiled! If you’re looking for a new way to workout this summer, they’ve got classes every wednesday for the rest of the month.

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  • Kitchen/Food Storage Tip- If you’ve been reading B2B for a while, you know that RM and I love to prep food for the week. It’s something that saves us time throughout the week and ensures that we have good food at our fingertips. This week we attacked it a little differently- on Sunday I prepped everything (chopped veggies and put them in the dish they’d be cooked in and marinated the chicken) and then while I was in the city teaching on Monday, RM seasoned everything and cooked it. We were both big fans of this new proecss- it saved us time on Sunday and made Monday’s cooking so easy! And even better? we combined all of the veggies into 1 dish so that we didn’t have to have multiple different containers clogging up the fridge… and it’s less to take out when we are reheating them. Highly suggest doing this 🙂

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  • One Month! I can’t believe it’s been one month since we got married. Time flies when you’re having fun, right?! Even though planning a wedding was a stressful thing, I wouldn’t trade in any of it because the end result was so freaking amazing! Everything far exceeded our hopes and expectations and we would do it all over again in a heartbeat if we could 🙂

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And with that, here’s to the weekend! I’ll chat with you next week, hopefully with another wedding recap 🙂

Weekending: It was all about the food

Hi there! It’s nice to see that the “big” snow storm has already come and gone- don’t get me wrong, I love snow, but at this point I am ready for sunny, warm, spring days!

Did you guys have a good weekend? Ours was great… and included ALL THE FOOD. No, seriously- it was filled with the most delicious eats. Let’s recap- I hope you’re not hungry 😉

Friday night, Liz had some of the gym girls over for a “bar” party. Now, I know what you’re thinking (or at least what I was thinking), it wasn’t an alcohol party, it was a food bar party! There was a taco bar, pizza bar, grilled cheese bar, fruit bar and an ice cream bar. And yes, everything was as amazing as it sounds! It was so great getting to catch up with the girls, especially since a few are also engaged so we did lots of wedding talk. Wedding talk and working out talk pretty much equals my life these days.

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On Saturday, it was an extra early weekend wakeup call so that I could get to the gym before we hit the road to go to NH. I was telling Athena that I was really craving a heavy lift sesh. I hadn’t been able to get under the bar all week, so you can imagine my surprise when my Saturday lift felt- dare I say- easy? I felt so strong with my back squats and pushups- it was awesome! And, I didn’t feel the tiniest bit sore the day after so I think I could’ve gone heavier- looking forward to the next time.

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After showers and breakfast (RM had pancakes made and waiting for me when I got back from the gym- he’s a keeper!), we swung through Starbucks and hit the road. Since I never finish my drink (Chai Tea Latte with 1/2 the syrup pump), I ordered a kiddie size. it was perfect!

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The trip north went smooth and we arrived at the Wentworth before we knew it.

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