How to make weekly meal planning easy

How to make weekly meal planning easy

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I spend way too much time planning my weekly meals. It currently takes me two days to plan and buy groceries.

This is before adding the time it takes to cook meals. As I cook from recipes, I often find that a recipe I’ve chosen takes longer to cook than planned, and has way too many ingredients.

I need to become more time efficient with this task. I love cooking, but the time it takes to plan meals, and then cook them is taking way too long, and turning my love into a dreaded chore.

So in order to streamline this entire process, this is how I will be making my weekly meal planning and cooking less time consuming.

Planning
To make my recipe search quicker, each day of the week will be dedicated to the following meal types:

Monday – Leftovers
Tuesday – Meat
Wednesday – Fish
Thursday – Chicken
Friday – Takeaway
Saturday – Pasta
Sunday – Stir fry

Planning will take place on a Tuesday night, and will consist of finding a recipe on my dinner Pinterest board and adding its link to a Google Sheet. This sheet lists every day of the week, and the food type that needs to be cooked that night.

So for example, on a Sunday I will add a link to a beef, mushroom, and greens stir fry as it’s a stir fry recipe, and only stirfries will be cooked on a Sunday.

I’m also going to make sure that the majority of recipes I add to Pinterest take less than 30 minutes to cook, and don’t have many ingredients so I’m not spending forever cooking.

Purchasing
Immediately after I finish planning I will order the ingredients for each meal online. All I’ll have to do is click on the link in my Google Sheet and I’ll be taken straight to the recipe.

Cooking
To carry on with my effort to become more time efficient, I’m going to start batch cooking!

On Tuesdays I will cook Tuesday night’s meal as well as chop and pre cook what I can for Wednesday’s meal.

On Thursdays I will cook Thursday night’s meal and also chop and pre cook what I can for the weekend’s meals.

Future planning
Each Sunday night I will stocktake all the ingredients I have in my freezer, fridge, and cupboard, and will ensure the recipes I choose for the next week use as many of these ingredients as possible.

Here’s what my meal planning week will now look like:

Monday
Groceries delivered

Tuesday
Cook night’s meal
Prep Wednesday night’s meal
Plan and order groceries for next week

Wednesday
Rest night

Thursday
Cook night’s meal
Prep weekends meals

Friday
Takeaway night

Saturday
Rest night

Sunday
Rest night

I really hope that these activities make my weekly meal planning tasks easier and more time efficient

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Filofax weekly pages May

Love from Lisa Filofax decoration

Planning is a big part of my life. It not only makes me more focused, but it ensures that I allocate enough time for the things in life that truly matter to me.

My planning tool of choice is an A5 Filofax, and here’s what it looked like in May.

Monthly view – week 1

Love from Lisa Filofax weekly pages May

Monthly view
April was about Autumn, May’s about dots. There’s no particular reason for this, the dots just felt happy and matched perfectly with my dot magnetic bookmark. However, like April, the decorations for this month’s monthly view were scrap paper attached with double sided tape.

Here you can see scheduled blog posts in orange washi tape. The reason you can see these for this month, and no other month, is that part of my April action plan was to write a three month post schedule. This means you’ll see these over the next couple of months as well.

Week 1
Over Easter I bought the cutest scrap booking accessories from Lincraft. One of them was a birthday pack and had some really cute little animals with birthday hats and presents. This page uses some of these.

This was a quiet week dedicated to cooking and trialling the gym, which is part of my May goals of needing to establish some routines.

Week 2 – Week 3

Love from Lisa Filofax weekly pages May

Week 2
This week was all about getting things done, hence my little list decoration in the middle.

This week included baking Macadamia, Chia, and Raspberry Muesli Bars, and a Chewy Chunky Chocolate Slice, writing my monthly Head and Heart post, and going out for dinner with friends.

Week 3
These gorgeous flags are part of the packs I got at Lincraft, which are attached with double sided tape. I really love this week’s decorations as they’re simple, and the colour is really pretty.

This was also a quiet week where I was able to take some time out to do the things that really matter to me, which include setting goals, checking out cool things on the internet, and hanging out with my sister at Camberwell Market.

Week 4 – Week 5

Love from Lisa Filofax weekly pages May

Week 4
By this week I was really behind on my decorations, so I feel like this one was slapped together without much though. Here you’ll notice a little message that I wrote to myself, reminding me to eat fresh. I’ve done a lot of restaurant eating before this point so it was a reminder to eat better.

This week was very uneventful. All I did was write some posts and catch up on Grey’s Anatomy, which I’m totally addicted to at the moment!

Week 5
This weeks decoration was inspired by using some washi tape that I haven’t used before, combined with using some Autumn / Spring related stickers as Winter’s coming up, so these can’t be used for much longer.

Again, this was a super quiet week, with nothing really scheduled, which is always great to have once in awhile.

For planner updates as they occur please visit my Instagram account.

For inspiration on how to use and decorate a Filofax please visit my Filofax Planner Love Pinterest board.

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Filofax weekly pages April

Love from Lisa Filofax decoration

Planning is a big part of my life. It not only makes me more focused, but it ensures that I allocate enough time for the things in life that truly matter to me.

My planning tool of choice is an A5 Filofax, and here’s what it looked like for April.

Monthly view – week 1

Love from Lisa Filofax weekly pages April

Monthly view

Like March, April continues with an Autumn theme, using scrap paper and stickers.

Week 1

Bunny page flags were used to celebrate Easter, which was a week for catch ups with work colleagues and friends that I haven’t seen in ages.

Week 2 – Week 3

Love from Lisa Filofax weekly pages April

Week 2

As this was my last week of freedom before starting a new job, I tried to do as many things that make me happy as I could. This included shopping, writing Edible Experiments and Head and Heart posts, making garden plans, and eating a lot of food.

Week 3

This week was about being motivated, hence the reason for the quotes.

Week 4 – Week 5

Love from Lisa Filofax weekly pages April

Week 4

I love these decorations, they’re from a make your own birthday card pack. This week was about getting back into a schedule, and thinking a lot about how to stay on top of blogging, which is a massive priority for me.

Week 5

I love this week’s decoration, it’s basic but cute.

Socially this week was very quiet, which all weeks from now on will be now that I’m working full time again. I’m resolving to dedicate the majority of my free time this week onwards to improving my time management skills so my blogging life stays a priority whilst working full time hours.

For planner updates as they occur please visit my Instagram account.

For inspiration on Filofax usage please visit my Filofax Planner Love Pinterest board.

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Filofax A5 planner decoration March

Love from Lisa Filofax A5 planner decoration March

I am totally obsessed with everything Filofax, in fact this year I bought my very first A5 Filofax planner.

In my obsessive research on anything to do with Filofaxes, I stumbled upon the world of Filofax decoration.

Whilst I am nowhere near level of decorative skill that many other Filofaxers are at, I’m still enjoying decorating my Filofax as a means to stay motivated to use it.

So here are my decorations for March. If you’d like to see my February decorations please click here. I also upload each week’s decorations on my Instagram account.

If you’d like to learn more about Filofaxes and how to use them, please visit my Filofax Planner Love Pinterest board.

The Creative Canvass Filofax A5 planner decoration March

March monthly overview

March signifies the start of Autumn here in Australia, so what better way to get into the Autumn spirit than to jazz up my Filofax up in leaves, twigs, and flowers.

The leaf patterns used to border these pages are scrap paper, which is attached with double sided tape.

Week 1

This week I went with a minimalist feel and decorated in squares and bows.

This week centred on doing neglected household chores and making grocery lists for food items that have been in the fridge for some time. So it was quite a productive week.

Week 2

This week I was determined to have a cake day, so the choice of using cupcake washi and cake stickers was perfect. My cake day happened on Thursday when my sister and I went to San Churros, and stuffed ourselves silly.

This was also the week where I decided to change my one little word from focus to action, which you can read about here.

Week 3

I love this camera washi tape, and this week is the perfect week to use it as it’s the final week of a Photoshop course that I’m doing.

Week 4

This week’s going to be a busy one as Nick’s parents are visiting from interstate and we’re seeing a few shows at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, hence my decorations being comedic in nature.

If you’re ever in Melbourne this time of year I definitely recommend you see a show as there are some terrific comedies to support.

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Filofax A5 planner decoration February

Love from Lisa Filofax A5 planner decoration February

In January I wrote about my obsession for everything Filofax planner related, and detailed the setup of my A5 Filofax planner.

When I was researching on how to best set up my planner, I came across the wonderful world of Filofax decoration.

Whilst I am nowhere near the standard of gorgeousness that a lot of people are with their decorations, I’ve decided to give it a go anyway and see how my skills develop.

So with this in mind, here are my decorations for February. If you’d like to see my January decorations please click here.

I also upload each week’s decorations as soon as I’ve done them to my Instagram account.

I also have a Filofax Planner Love Pinterest board full of planner inspiration.

Filofax A5 planner decoration February

February month view

Being the month of Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to get all pink and love hearty with my decorations. And that’s exactly what I did. I can’t think of any other time where I will be able to use so much of my love heart washi tape.

Week 1

This was the week I named movie week. I really wanted to watch some good old fashioned corny / rom com / girly movies. On my mini list I had Clueless, Mean Girls, and 10 Things I Hate About You. I was able to watch Clueless and Mean Girls and loved every corny minute of them.

Week 2

The week where Valentine’s Day finally came was again the perfect reason to get all love heart washi and pink again, and boy did I.

This week a week of love for me, love for eating my Chocolate Hedgehog Slice. I couldn’t get enough of it, so I made a second batch!

Week 3

I purposely decorated this week with garden stickers as I was intending to make it the week I focussed on my garden. However, this didn’t happen as much as I wanted it to.

I managed to get my gutters clean, which is something I’ve been meaning to organise for ages.

I also started to research plants that I could plant in my front and back yards, but didn’t do as much of this as I would have liked. This means that I will have to do another garden theme sometime soon.

Week 4

This is a super plain decorated week, which has since had a much needed boost of colour due to all the to do washis I’ve used for this week. However, even though it was very plain I love the lace washi, it’s probably my favourite so far.

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Filofax A5 planner decoration January

Love from Lisa Filofax decoration

Last month I wrote about my obsession for everything Filofax planner related, and detailed the setup of my A5 Filofax planner.

I thought it was about time that I now shared with you the decoration of each week for the month of January.

I didn’t even know that planner decoration was even a thing. I only learnt about this once I started researching ways that I could plan my life better.

I am in awe of how beautifully people decorate their planners. As you will soon see from my pages, decorating is not yet something that I’m great at, but it will be interesting to see how my decorating skills develop over the course of this year.

So here goes, here’s my Filofax A5 planner decorated pages for January:

I also upload each week’s decorations as soon as I’ve done them to my Instagram account.

I also have a Filofax Planner Love Pinterest board full of planner inspiration.

The Creative Canvass Filofax decoration January weekly pages

January month view

To start the year I went with a green and owl theme. There was no particular reason why I chose green, but it must have been my colour of the moment, as it’s the colour I chose to give this blog a mini facelift this month.

Week 1

The decorations for this week were all about starting the year off on a positive note. I want to remember to stay happy this year, smile, and live a little more adventurously.

Week 2

This week I was trying to prolong the holiday feeling by using red, white, and gold to decorate. This colour combination made this week bright and cheerful.

This week was about doing some cooking for my Lazy Sunday Eatery series.

It was also the first week where I inserted my one little word goals. This insert will be moved to the start of every new week.

Week 3

Ahh butterflies, they are so beautiful and were a great way to add some colour to this week, which was turning into a week of chores and Osteo appointments.

Week 4

I don’t love this week’s decoration. It’s boring, but its purpose was to encourage me to stay home and relax. It was about trying not to stress about things that I can’t control.

Week 5

The last week of January already! This week’s decoration was again about staying happy and positive and about being grateful for what I have.

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My Filofax A5 planner setup

Love from Lisa My Filofax A5 planner setup

This post has been a looooooong time coming.

First up, I don’t know exactly how I got lost in my obsession for planners, and everything planner related.

However, I do know that it started in October when I was in Japan. I guess being overseas gives you time to think about things, and I was thinking about things I needed to do when I got home. This led to thinking about how to plan said things, which lead to thinking how I don’t like using my iPhone calendar anymore as I am sick of reminders constantly going off and I never do what they reminding me of.

I was at the point where I was ready to start planning my life properly. I was already in the process of moving away from using my iPhone calendar and going back to an old school paper and pen diary to plan my personal life and blog posts. However, it was heavy to carry around, and I still wasn’t using it properly.

So all this thinking led to research, which led to learning about how people plan, which led to the wide, wide world of Filofax love and decoration, which led to writing a post about planning to plan. So now it’s finally time to move forward from the planning to the actual doing.

After frantically looking for a planner in Japan to no avail, I ordered a Filofax A5 Calipso organiser in purple on Amazon.

After watching many YouTube videos, reading blog posts, and looking at Filofax communities, I’ve finally started to set my planner up.

Here’s how I’ve set it up

Planner pockets

My Filofax has six card sleeves and a pouch at the front, and a zipped pouch at the back.

The only section I use is the pouch at the front, which holds my calendar legend (shown in the image below and discussed in detail later) and bills. I don’t think I’ll use the other sections as I don’t want to add too much bulk to my planner.

Dashboard

This is the first thing you see when you open my planner.

It’s something that I saw a lot of when I was doing research on how to set my planner up.

I don’t intend on using any of the items on my dashboard, they’re basically there to pretty my planner up.

Filofax planner setup category legend and dashboard

Categories

At this stage I have five categories or areas that I’ll be using my planner for. Each category is identified by decorative scrapbook paper, which I cut to size and have inserted into an A5 plastic sleeve.

Below are the categories that I have. I already have the feeling that some will be replaced with something else, which I’ll work out once I start using my planner properly.

  • Calendar
  • Blog
  • OLW
  • Lists
  • Expenses

Filofax setup categories

Calendar

The inserts are from Kikki K and are a month to a page and a week to two pages.

I use the month page to plot out blog posts, and the weekly pages to show what’s happening each day.

I colour code each area that needs to be put on my weekly pages, the legend detailing the colours is stored in the pouch at the front of my planner, and can be seen on the image of the dashboard.

My area’s colour codes are:

  • Peach – blog
  • Blue – personal
  • Green – garden
  • Yellow – meals planned for dinner
  • Orange – grocery shopping
  • Birthday washi – birthdays
  • Purple – health and work

When I put something on my weekly pages I use washi tape in the corresponding colour instead of writing them in pen. As I’m always rescheduling things it’s much neater to move things around when they’re on washi tape, as opposed to crossing it out if they’re written in pen. There is the occasional thing that I may write in pen, but this doesn’t happen often.

Blog

I will use this section to write down any blog post ideas that I have, or to store any magazine inspiration that I find.

OLW

OLW stands for one little word, which is how I set goals for my year. If you’d like to learn more about this please click here.

This year my one little word is focus. I intend to use this section to write down my focus goals, and write down anything focus orientated that will keep me inspired.

I have already made an insert with my focus goals on it, which will always be in my current weekly page.  You can view this in the image below.

Lists

I’m crazy for lists, so this section will definitely stay.

At the moment I have the following lists:

  • Garden
  • House
  • To buy
  • Sunday
  • Day trips
  • Favourite restaurants
  • Restaurants to try

Each list has items on it that need doing. For example, some of the things on my garden list include plant herbs, work on shed path, and mulch side of house.

Eventually everything on each of list will be transferred to my weekly calendar and ticked off the list. New things will be added to each list as they come up.

Filofax planner setup lists

Expenses

This year one of my one little word goals is to focus on being financially responsible. I’m hoping to track my expenses in this section to allow me to do this.

Decoration

A big part of the Filofax community is planner decoration, which is not only fun, but also keeps you motivated to actually use your planner.

I’m hoping to get better at this, and will be posting monthly updates on my decoration attempts as well as showing these each week on my Instagram account.

If you’d like to learn more about how to use a planner please visit my Filofax Planner Love Pinterest page.

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Planning to plan

Planning to planImage Unsplash

This year I thought I had my planning system sorted. I decided to go old school and ditch my phone calendar and instead plan my days and blog posts in a good old fashioned paper calendar.

Turns out that I’m not loving the paper calendar system after all. I’m finding that I’m just not using it.  I don’t know if it’s because it’s too bulky to carry in my bag, if I’m just used to using my phone, or if it’s just not right for me.

I’ve been doing some research and have stumbled across planners.  I’ve always known planners have existed, but I’m really interested in them.

I love the fact that they’re totally customisable to your needs. You can have any section in there that you want, for example you can have sections for to dos, calendars, notes, meetings, ideas, anything! The best things about planners are that all these sections are housed in the one place.

I’m thinking this may be the go and am excited to give it a try.

Since writing this post I purchased a Filofax! You can read about my Filofax A5 setup here and how I decorate it to stay motivated here.

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