For over a year, my husband and I have practiced a weekly ritual: The Sunday Meeting.
I’ve written about it before, but now that it’s been 15 months of doing this with my husband I wanted to share the 5 reasons you should try this with your household.
What is the weekly planning meeting?
As we were adjusting to a new place and new routines, my partner and I got sick of spending so much time taking trips to the grocery store, being too drained by the time we got home to make healthy food which meant eating out for lunch, and little tasks falling between the cracks. It seemed like on a whim, I asked him if he wanted to try a weekly Sunday meeting. So each Sunday, we sit down and review the coming week. All said, it takes around an hour, and suddenly it became strange when we would miss one. That was January 2015. Now I can’t imagine life without one!
Our situation may be unique in that we are a dual income household with no children, but based on our experience, here are 5 reasons why you should have a weekly planning meeting.
1. You both know where you’re at
One of the first things we do during our meetings is compare our schedules for the week – we identify the events and evening commitments we’ve each made, our shared weekend events coming up, or when we plan on working out. I often have later days at work given evening events for students, so it’s helpful for Mr. PPP to know if he wants to be strategic with planning a happy hour. Knowing what we each have going on helps each of us understand the flow of the week and where the other person may be – not in a creepy way, but in a peaceful way. Since doing this we are able to strategically plan evenings with friends on the same days to maximize our shared time together.
2. You all know what you have to do (mostly)
By reviewing the week’s events, we are on the same page about major to-do items – for example if we know it’s my brother’s birthday dinner this weekend, we are both aware we need to
go buy write the card, go buy wrap the gift, and so on.
Since doing this my husband is more aware of what he can do to help me when it gets hectic, and things are taken care of more equitably. (Plus he knows that I would rather that he pack up the car than give me a reassuring hug anyway)
3. You know what you’re eating
After looking through our schedules we can identify when we each have meals covered at work or out – so we know how many lunches and dinners we need to cook for the week. There is a certain hellish feeling of knowing you still have to use imagination at the end of the work day to create a meal idea, only to find out you have to go to the grocery store. So, we take the 15 minutes to take stock of what’s in the fridge and choose a few recipes to semi-map out for the week. From there, we make our grocery list on the Grocery IQ app, and go to the store that afternoon.
I can’t even express how much agony this has saved for us during the week in terms of needing to drive to the store, dredge up ideas, as well as save us money by cutting down on food waste and eating out for lunch since we more often than not have lunches packed.
4. You maximize and minimize your errand time
After our grocery list we identify what other errands we have to run while we are out getting groceries – if we need more paper towels, cat food, or gas, we can pick the best route to hit as many of those things as possible that afternoon. There are several benefits to this. I spend less time after work stopping by various stores to pick up things – because you KNOW you spend a ton more money the more times you go to Target. It must be a researchable phenomenon. So if I minimize the number of times I go to the Dollar Spot, the more money I save, right?
5. You feel more like a team
Women everywhere know the feeling of being The Keeper for the family – the one who remembers to prep for this appointment, rearrange driving logistics, to grab the birthday card. This weekly meeting helps make BOTH of us aware, and share the mental burden – which I always appreciate. Since we co-create this plan, we both are buying into what the work is for the week, and into how we’re splitting it up. It’s definitely not perfect, and I definitely hold more of the planning pieces in my head (sorry hun, can’t argue that!), but it sure relieves some of that pressure.
The next thing I want to try (today, actually!) is a Monthly Review and Forecast. I want the opportunity for both of us to look back on the month and how we spent our time, what went well, what is not, and then use that in our Forecast where we review what’s coming up and what our intentions will be. Hoping he is willing to play (I’ll keep you updated!)
Now, this sounds a lot more intense than it actually is! It’s not for policing or anything, but simply an FYI and helps us feel more aware of what’s going on in this crazy life so we can continue shaping the lives we want to live.
Try It Out
Ready to give it a shot? Laughing because “there’s no way she or he would be up for that?” Obviously the biggest barrier is convincing your partner and family to be on board! I won’t pretend like I know what that’s like, but I can imagine the potential benefits. So here are a few strategies to try to implement versions of a Sunday review:
- Start small! You don’t have to dive completely in – just pick one thing and get on the same page. Perhaps it’s a meal plan or an errands plan – ideally they will spend some energy sharing their piece of things so they can buy-in. Then, ideally, they can see some benefits to doing it, and you can build on it over time.
- Find your angle: for some of your partners, the key is talking about saving time, about being equal partners in errands, saving money, or last-minute nagging throughout the week, and for teens it may be about sharing cars – whatever will be the most meaningful argument for them, use that as your entry point
- My style is not your style: we love the Google Calendar because we essentially grew up on it, but I know many people who swear by a paper wall-calendar, shared apps, or who knows, maybe a ton of post-its?? All that to say – you have to figure out what fits into your rhythm and life, or else you won’t use it! And that is the point.
There are so many beautiful layouts and spreads you see in people’s planners and bullet journals, but it’s pointless to be doing the work and checking to-do’s if you aren’t doing the RIGHT work and to-do’s. This ritual has really helped us enter into each week in the right mindset, and on the same page.
Think you’ll try it out? Let me know in the comments down below!