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Have you ever tried out meal prepping?
I’m super excited to share this interview with Talia Koren from Workweek Lunch, a blog and digital meal plan subscription that helps thousands of people all over the world master meal prep. Talia is a meal prep queen and regularly shares her tips and tricks and her refreshing perspective on intuitive eating on Instagram, where she has over 360k followers.
Talia has developed a great way of breaking things down into a system that can be used week after week. This is true for both her approach to meal prep and for planning and acting on her goals in her life. Read the interview below to learn the details of Talia’s planning process and how to get started with meal prep today.
How often and when do you set goals for yourself?
I have a very specific goal-setting process that I use. Each year, I set one or two macro goals for each section of my life, for example, travel, personal, Instagram, and my business. I set these macro goals at the beginning of the year, and then I set quarterly, monthly, and weekly goals from there. Basically, I reverse engineer the whole thing.
Each quarter, I look at a Google Doc where I keep all of my goals. I review if anything needs to shift at this point. Sometimes things change and I need to move something up and I give myself permission to change in response to this. This is also when I set my monthly goals for that quarter, which typically takes me about an hour or two.
Then, each Sunday, I review my monthly goals and set up my weekly goals for that upcoming week.
Talk me through your weekly planning process.
First, I look back at my goals (which are written in a Google Doc) from the prior week and write what actually happened that week. If there was something that did not happen, I ask myself “why did I skip this?” This is a good chance to reflect and determine if that item is still a priority for me.
Then I set my goals for the week and put them on the calendar, using my Google Calendar. In this part of the process, it is helpful to know myself and plan accordingly- for example, I know that sometimes if I block off too much time for a task, it just doesn’t get done. So I block off time strategically for the upcoming week.
What tools do you find indispensable for staying organized?
Google Calendar. I use Evernote for brain dumping. If I am having a busy day, I will sit down at my computer and write out all of my thoughts there. I have also used Asana for keeping track of tasks. Overall, I do pretty much everything electronically expect for big vision thinking, which I’ll do on paper.
How do you structure your work days?
I typically start my day at
I use my mornings for creative writing and bigger tasks. I then usually use my afternoons for more tedious tasks or for cooking.
What do you do when you feel stuck or overwhelmed?
When I feel stuck or overwhelmed about something, I give myself three options:
- Take it off the to-do list
- If I’m stuck, I’ll ask myself if I really need to do this thing. Sometimes the answer is no, and I’ll take it off the list.
- Break it into smaller pieces
- Delegating has been huge for me. It can be scary but has so many benefits.
What is your favorite productivity book or who is your favorite productivity teacher?
Tim Ferris had a big impact on me and my mindset around productivity.
I recently read and really liked Atomic Habits by James Clear. The book talks about using a reward system to be more productive and I have already done some small things to incorporate that idea into my life.
How has your approach to productivity changed over time?
I have definitely started including more intentional rest. I am a go, go, go, person and want to work, but burnout is real. I block off time in my calendar where I pick a night that I am not going to do anything. I also manage my schedule to give myself a whole weekend off as much as possible.
Intentional rest is something I’m still working on. Even when I’m taking time off, I tend to think about work a lot, so it can be hard to be fully present. So it’s a work in progress.
What would you say to someone who is intimated by meal prep?
The mistake that many people make when they are first starting out, is that they look at me as an example of meal prepping. You don’t have to be like me yet! Start by picking one meal you want to work on, for example, breakfast or lunch. Prepping three breakfasts for the week is a great taste at what meal prep can be. Or you can start by making two extra servings of something you are making already, so you have two additional meals ready that week.
What have you found most helpful about meal prep in your life?
If I didn’t have meal prep, I wouldn’t have been able to build and launch Workweek Lunch. It just wouldn’t have happened. Meal prep helped me save time and money so I could focus on and grow my business.
What is the best way to get started with meal prep?
If you are someone who grocery shops regularly, look at your schedule for the upcoming week before you go to the grocery store. Identify a couple of meals that you don’t want to have to cook. Look at what you have in your pantry and build a meal around that. So often I overhear people planning their meals for the week when they are in the grocery store. By that point, it is too late. Meal prep is about the prework that happens before you get to the grocery store.
Meal prep is about the prework that happens before you get to the grocery store.
Bonus Questions! What is your favorite kind of pen to write with?
I have two loves! The first is the black inky pen that you can write fast and smoothly with. The second is the pen that you find in the bottom of your bag!
More about Talia!
Talia Koren is the founder of Workweek Lunch, a blog and digital meal plan subscription that helps thousands of people all over the world master meal prep. Talia is a self-taught home cook and she started WWL in 2016 to teach her peers how to cook easy, nutritious meals to save time and money through her Instagram, which has now grown to over 360k followers. Before WWL, Talia was a staff writer at Elite Daily and worked in the entertainment industry after graduating from Ithaca College in 2014 with a BS in Film Production. When she’s not developing new recipes for the WWL Meal Prep Program, Talia loves to travel, snowboard, binge-watch TV and explore NYC. Find her at www.workweeklunch.com or on Instagram @workweeklunch
Take Action! Start using a Google Doc to keep track of your goals. You can start by just listing them there and reviewing them each week, and eventually can develop a more structured system from there. If you want to get started with meal prep, I definitely recommend following Talia’s Instagram for some inspiration. And get prepped for your meal prepping with my Top Tools for Meal Prep Guide below.