In late summer as I was thinking through our fall schedule, there’s this phrase from Kendra Adachi (aka The Lazy Genius) that kept running through my mind: decide once. Since I knew my homeschool load was about to hit hard, I wanted to streamline weekly decisions and upfront planning as much as possible.
Everybody eats. You’re like, “I’m so tired of deciding what’s for dinner every single day.” Well then decide. . . . It’s just deciding what’s for dinner one time instead of seven. Then you don’t have to think about it again. Then you have the margin in your life to actually put your energy into things that matter to you, and that’s the whole thing.wisdom from Kendra via a podcast
One area that tends to become overwhelming for me is the kitchen. Menu planning. Grocery shopping. Cooking meals. Five children eat a lot, ya’ll! My five especially. And they’re only 8, 8, 6, 6, and 5! Yikes for future me. Anyway. I digress. For the fall, I wanted to streamline decisions for the kitchen in order to help me only decide once. So, I pre-decided our weekly menu.
I typically cook a main dish (tripled!) three times a week: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On the off days, we eat leftovers plus sometimes a different side or two. So this fall, I am making soup on Mondays, since that works best with our Monday/Tuesday schedule. On Wednesdays, we will eat a tray meal (meat + potato + veggie) or Mexican something (tacos, burritos, etc.). And then on Fridays I will cook a whole chicken (freezer fresh from our farm–I cook one each week), which we usually eat with a carb of some sort + a frozen veggie.
The schedule looks something like this:
- Monday: soup in the instant pot (prep on Sunday night)
- Wednesday: tray meal or Mexican
- Friday: whole chicken + starch + frozen veggie
It’s simple. It’s pre-decided. Has it radically de-stressed my weekly menu planning? Yes! Goal accomplished.
The other simple idea we’ve been doing for a few months now is pre-decided snacks. It’s nothing fancy . . . literally, just a list on a sticky note on the fridge. I was tired of thinking of a healthy snack for the kids every afternoon, so now we have a Monday to Friday snack sheet. The kids don’t have to ask. I don’t have to decide. Snacks are already set.
- Monday: celery with peanut butter and raisins
- Tuesday: boiled eggs
- Wednesday: almonds
- Thursday: pretzels with honey mustard
- Friday: olives
And bonus? When I make the weekly grocery list, I only need to make sure these five snacks are available. De-stressed snack time plus easier grocery-list-making? Yes! Goal accomplished.
Listen to this podcast where Emily P. Freeman & Kendra Adachi (who are real life friends) talk about deciding once. This principle works for all sorts of decisions! Hate deciding what to wear in the morning? Decide once! Abhor deciding what to eat for breakfast? Decide once! Dislike deciding what to give as teacher gifts every year? Decide once!
Take a quiet moment. Listen to your own heart to feel out your personal decision pain points. Then figure out if you can decide once and eliminate the decision fatigue. It just might be the exact gift you didn’t know you needed.
PS: I haven’t read it yet but Kendra just released a book about The Lazy Genius Way, and I bet it’s excellently helpful. “Decide once” is one of thirteen principles she shares in the book. Kendra is also a fun follow on Instagram.
PPS: Here’s another similar post I wrote about our simple rhythms–decisions to help keep life going in a calm way.