Consider yourself warned. I hope you’re not stressed out. If you read this blog, you might come to hate my wife and me.

It is Christmas time, and many people feel overwhelmed at this time of year, but not us. It isn’t because we aren’t busy. We had an event every night last week. Six days straight. Our daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter are living with us this week. Next week our youngest daughter and Sue’s parents are coming to live with us. We both work full-time jobs.

We went to an out-of-town wedding a week ago and have another wedding out of town this weekend.

How do we do it? Simple, it is the same way our company stays organized.

We adjust. It is the adjusting I want to focus on here. Because it is where we spend most of our time.

At our house, the one thing everybody dreads hearing from my wife, Sue, is “what do you want to eat this week?” That’s right, every week toward the end of the week, she plans out what we will eat the following week. She likes to ask us our opinion.

We dread being asked, and she knows we dread being asked because most of our ideas get rejected. It’s nice to be asked, and we aren’t going to be making the food, so we go along with and let her have her way.

Then day by day, Sue lines up what we will eat for meals. She writes out a list and goes to the store to buy what we need for the week. It results in fewer trips to the store, and we end up buying less and saving more money because of fewer trips. It also cuts down on snack purchases.

This week’s plan has changed every day because life changes every day. So, Thursday’s stir fry was eaten on Monday because of who would be at dinner on Monday night. Leftovers got bumped to Tuesday when work made me home late for dinner. Wednesday night became the son-in-law’s birthday dinner and dessert because his dad got sick, and they decided to switch nights and eat with our family instead of his. That meant Thursday’s meal was changing for a second time because they would no longer be with us for dinner.


Yes, if you are trying to follow along with this blog. But it’s not if you’re at our house because we adjust the dry erase board in the back hall. And you don’t need to follow along because you’re not coming to dinner. But if you were, we would adjust again.

Sue was never stumped, and we didn’t have to scramble. Why? Because we had a plan and the supplies on hand to carry out the plan. (We have a different system for tracking essential items like flour, sugar, milk, and other ingredients for pies and cookies and other food “staples” like cereal and bread. I won’t get into how we run that system, but please trust those purchases get done on the same weekly trips to the store).

During holiday time, Sue adjusts and makes a 3-week meal plan!

Why a blog about my family’s meal planning?

Because it is more fun than reading about the task planning of an electrical contractor. But it happens the same way.

At Willmar Electric, we have all the “staples” on hand in our clamshells. And then, toward the end of each week, we make out a 3-week plan. Once we have a 3-week plan, we line up the resources needed to carry out the plan. We implement the plan, eliminate any waste we find, and adjust to the conditions as we move along. Because on our projects the conditions are constantly changing.

Like my personal life, things on projects are constantly changing. Often the reasons for the change in both places are out of our hands. But we still need to be ready to adjust and move on. It lowers stress.