How Meal Planning Helps My Business

I’m not a chef, nor am I a food blogger or food critic (a professional one anyway… I’m just a very picky eater), so what would a weekly meal plan have to do with podcast editing or website design? Nothing directly, but it really helps my mindset. Let me explain.

Some call it the “spoon” theory.

Really, “The Spoon Theory” was written in 2010 by Christine Miserandino describing how chronic illness makes daily activities difficult and how she explained to others the way she has to budget her energy to get through each day. In a nutshell, she explained by handing her best friend a handful of spoons. She explained that healthy people expect to have a never-ending supply of “spoons.” People living with chronic illness like MS or Lupus only get a certain number of “spoons” to get through the day. Tasks like getting out of bed, getting dressed, making a phone call, getting to work, deciding whether to cook a meal, really any average task, costs a “spoon.” A healthy person doesn’t have to think about all of that. A person with a chronic illness or disability has to decide what they have the energy for and plan their day in detail in order to have enough energy to get through the day. Some days are worse than others, and any given day might bring a cold, infection, or emergency that costs “spoons.”

I’m not disabled or sick, but I do understand the concept. Instead of appropriating the term, I’ve heard others refer to tasks as “spell slots” that take time to recharge before you can use them again. Another similar theory is the concept of decision fatigue, which is the idea that the ability to make good decisions degrades after an extended period of decision-making. It’s much easier to make bad decisions after a long day of making lots of decisions.

What all these theories boil down to is budgeting energy.

Even without having the variables that a chronic illness throws into the mix, I do have to budget my energy. If I don’t, when it gets to the end of the day I get snippy with my family after work, make bad meal choices, and collapse into bed without getting much done with my business.

I’m not okay with those habits.

I’ve allowed them to happen, out of exhaustion… but I don’t like it. Now, I won’t call this a New Year’s resolution because those always set myself up for disappointment, but I have decided to organize my life better.

My first step is planning meals weekly.

I go to my favorite cookbooks (like this one), take inventory of what meat is already in the freezer, and find 3 recipes to use throughout the week. A crock pot recipe is good for a work day, something that’s a little fussier should be on the weekend, and another quick-prep one for a weekday, plus a leftovers night, a burgers night, and a taco night. I make my shopping list, which costs something like half of what my grocery runs used to be when I wasn’t really planning, and we’re set for the week.

This saves me time and energy – and money!

I don’t have to think about what meat to thaw when I come home for lunch. I don’t have to have the “what do you want?” “I don’t know, whatever,” discussion when I get home, I don’t have to make any decisions besides maybe what to have on the side, and it’s a lot healthier. I even managed to lose 2 pounds in 2 weeks, according to my doctor’s scale, with no other changes in my lifestyle. That was a pleasant surprise this week!

My family can help pick out recipes and help with prep. My daughter is much more willing to try new foods if she helped pick out and prepare the meal and my husband can get the recipe started and pans out. My brain gets a minute to relax after work instead of having to intensely problem-solve the kitchen as soon as I get home. It’s been a sanity saver, TBH.

So, what does this have to do with podcast editing?

Nothing directly… but if I save myself the “spoons” I used to need to prepare dinner after work, then I have more for when I get down to my client work after my daughter goes to bed. The food is better, so dinnertime is more fulfilling and fun, and because I saved myself some “spoons,” I’m able to be more present at home. It’s absolutely worth it.

Today, I didn’t have anything planned, and I have no idea what to do with myself! I need to get on this week’s plan right now!