Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Block Scheduling + Weekly Eats

^^Our tomato surplus is finally here. What should I make!?

Now that Mazen is settled in school during the day, I have about 6 weeks to get my life together until the baby comes. Because I know life with a newborn needs to be go-with-the-flow and unpredictable (two things I do not do well!), I think this need to hyper control my days now is in preparation for that.

Efficient post-bus stop breakfast of yogurt with fruit and almond butter + frothy Nespresso

I’ve been trying to implement a block schedule for my daytime to compartmentalize my tasks and focus on one thing at a time. One of the pleasant surprises of having such an early bus stop is that my day now starts with a bang at 7:15. I suddenly have two hours that I didn’t use to have, and I need to make the most of that time.

Lately my days have been going something like this:

7:15 / Kiss Mazen goodbye on bus

7:15 – 8 / Morning chores, tidy up, laundry load in, kitchen clean, dishwasher empty, prep dinner if necessary

8-10:30ish / Morning work time at desk (writing, editing, emails, paperwork, etc.)

10:30ish-12 / Workout (this is flexible, could also be more work!), shower

12 / Lunch

12:30-2:30 / Work time either at desk or creating/photographing/doing

2:45 / Meet the bus

2:45 – 5:30 / Playtime with Mazen (or keep working if he’s with Matt or schedule out-of-home appointments like doctor’s appointments)

5:30-6 / Finish/warm up/complete dinner and pack Mazen’s lunch (this is our only screen time block for Mazen too, if he’s not playing with the neighbors or otherwise content)

6 / Dinner as a family (on days when Mazen isn’t here, T and I usually eat closer to 7)

7 / Bedtime routine

8 / Relax

Lunch: Tuna salad, chips and crackers, apples

[Side note: I’m sure there are some of you reading this who can’t leave your office or work really long hours and would really love the choice of “saving fluffy things for the afternoon.” That used to be me. For the first 2.5 years of my working life I despised having to be in an office from 8:30 to 5:30 and sought a career change. A flexible workday was the number-one reason I went back to school in 2008, so that was and always will be a high priority for me. No matter where my career heads in the future, flexibility is a must. When I wrote this post earlier this year, a few people wrote “must be nice” comments, so I feel the need to remind you all that this post is about my life.]

The above block schedule has been working well because I start the day getting my home organized. I can’t work in chaos (like if the kitchen counters are messy) unless I have something really urgent.

After the house is in order, I like sitting down for a while and feeling productive before breaking for a workout. While I could do my workout before Mazen wakes up, I’m just not much of a morning exerciser at this time (especially pregnant!). I think when I have a toddler at home and less daytime flexibility, early morning workouts make more sense for me. But for now, just before lunch/midday is my favorite.

I like saving my creative work for the afternoon when I’ve gotten my digital life organized that morning. If I’m going to make a recipe or take photos of something, right after lunch is my favorite time. And errands are always easier for me to tackle in the afternoons, because I mentally feel like I’ve gotten something accomplished until going out to do “fluffier” things.

Lastly, I’m trying to really focus on time with Mazen in the afternoons and giving him my full attention. We’ve been playing Legos or games together or occasionally doing something active outside. During busier seasons I did a little too much multitasking. Especially with the baby on the way and Mazen in school for long hours, 3-5 is our golden hour (if he’s not running around with our neighbors!)

Lastly, meal planning has been going much better since I decided I needed to put some effort into it! I’ve been gathering a lot of recipe inspiration and we’ve had some really good and also really easy dinners of late.

Like this baked ziti with homemade salad!

The end.

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