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3 Steps To Easy Meal Planning For Busy People (With A Quick Recipe!)

3 Steps To Easy Meal Planning For Busy People (With A Quick Recipe!)

When you’re ready for a meal, there’s a lot of “other stuff” in the way – like hunger, temptation, and being tired, which leads you to eat fast and unhealthy.

If you set up your week before you’re in the moment, it doesn’t matter if you’re tired or hungry – you will still make a good decision because the easiest option is already prepared and ready.

Meal planning can sound like it takes a lot of time and maintenance. Some meal planning strategies have so many steps that you could spend hours just planning your meal planning! And most likely, you’ll just never do it.

Here’s an easy 3-step guide to meal planning that you’ll actually be able to do!

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1. Make two sides during the weekend

Make easy sides like bean, lentil, healthy carb or vegetable dishes. They can be refrigerated for most of the week. You can pull them out every evening for dinner and pack for lunch the next day.

Choosing sides with flavors and spices (does not have to be spicy) will make you want to eat it. Spices and flavors really work themselves into the dish more over time, so they taste even better each day! A spice blend that works for almost anything is 1 teaspoon each of cumin, turmeric, sea salt and black pepper.

I share a recipe below for an easy side that is quick to make and you can easily take on the go below, my “No-Cook 3-bean Salad.”

2. Store food in glass containers

Glass helps food keep its freshness for longer (I tested this myself) and they’re safer for your food. Each side can be stored for at least 4 days in a glass container.

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Buy different sizes to store at home and take to work. You can also buy plastic containers to transport to work because they’re lighter. However, plastic containers do not keep food as long and are not safe for longer-term storage due to the material of the plastic. It’s better to use plastic just to take to work and discard after a few uses.

Here are my favorite glass containers: Kinetic Go Green Glasslock Series (I have the 64, 37 and 17 oz. sizes for my family of four).

3. During the week make an easy protein

Preferably use white meat or eggs, such as grilled chicken, fish, or an omelet. You can also have a whey protein shake or tofu, which are both great sources of vegetarian protein.

Pair this protein with the sides you already prepared, and it will be delicious and easy! Make extra so you can take it to work the next day. To further save time during the week, you could also marinate and/or prepare your protein portion on the weekends.

Imagine if you came home from work to Cumin Coriander Fish and No-Cook 3- Bean Salad already prepared! How much easier would it be for you to lose weight or just eat better? Do you see how you would be setting yourself up for more energy + weight-loss?

Your mouth will be watering at lunch time and you won’t even be tempted to go get a sloppy burrito from that taco truck around the corner.

If there’s one thing you can do to get the most bang to buck ratio – it’s to think ahead for the week. Check out my easy side dish below which you can make ahead of time – it’s packed with protein, healthy carbs and it’s super fast to make! Plus, it’s easy to transport to work and when you’re on the go.

No-Cook 3-Bean Salad

Prep Time 15 Minutes

Makes 4 – 6 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed
  • 1 can kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 1 whole tomato, coarsely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder (optional, only if you prefer heat)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves

Dressing

  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper, or to taste

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together all ingredients except spinach and dressing ingredients.
  2. Add dressing ingredients to a separate small bowl and whisk together.
  3. Pour over beans and mix. Add baby spinach and enjoy!

Check out my website for my free “Weight-loss Recipes Handbook for Ambitious Women” which includes the Cumin Coriander Fish recipe that goes so well with this 3-Bean Salad!

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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