Menu's and meal planning really help me out...... alot. It is so helpful to know what direction I need to head each day and thru the week. However, my menus are never "set in stone". I usually make a list for the week of the meals I am planning to make. If I know how my week is going to go, what my husband's work schedule is like, what we have plans to do, I will try and assign days for the meals. Some weeks, I put meals with days and though we eat many of the meals planned, they don't end up on the day planned. That's okay. It used to bother me. I got over it. Some weeks I just list meals I have everything for and go from there. But, it is helpful to know where I am heading in the week. For example: if I have planned to make White Chicken Chili, I need to start soaking the beans ahead of time, unless I have some in the freezer I want to use. And since I often try to have dinner well under way before late afternoon, it is helpful to get my meats or beans out of the freezer a day before rather then the morning of, sometimes frozen ground beef is hard to work with :-) I use my crockpot often. And I usually plan for at least one leftover meals day a week. Oftentimes Sunday so I don't have to cook.
For breakfast and lunch, I usually just have a list - in my head or sometimes written out - of ideas to work off of. Breakfast usually rotates thru a variety of egg dishes (especially if my husband is eating with us), french toast, oatmeal, yogurt or muffins. Lunches are usually pretty random. Leftovers, sandwiches or pasta are typical. Though I am working on expanding my ideas here and making some "real" lunches for the kids instead of just tossing something together at noon :-)
So, as I post various meal menus, know that as pretty as a planned list looks, it probably won't happen like I have planned. Life happens, being self-employed and having 4 young children my life is busy and unexpected things are expected and I often decide for sure what's for dinner each day anticipating what that day will be like.