Have you ever found yourself at the end of summer with regrets? The projects you wanted to do unfinished or wrapping up vacation just as tired as when you left? What can you do at the front end to insure you have the best summer ever?
1. Acknowledge Your Season
Parents of young children are going to have different summers than empty nesters. Caring for family members with a serious health issue changes everything. You could be in a healing season or a grieving season or maybe growing, recovering or surviving. Extend grace to yourself if you’re currently in a season that is less productive.
2. Define Your Roles
Steven Covey, in his classic Seven Habits of Highly Effective People recommends organizing your life based on your roles. For example, employee, parent, daughter, spouse, self. Each role then has it’s goals and priorities.
3. Make your Summer Smaller
Break your summer up into sections. This is advice from Kendra Adachi author of The Lazy Genius Way. Don’t look at the summer as a whole, but in pieces. Like from now till the wedding. From the wedding till vacation. From vacation till school starts again.
Each section can be treated as a separate unit.
4. Decide What Matters for Each Section
More advice from Kendra Adachi.
You get to decide what matters for you.
Start with what could matter. Make a list of everything.
From that list you decide what does matter.
Pray for wisdom. This is my added step, but one that I’ve come to believe in. God promises to give us wisdom when we ask. Believe that He has given it and make your best decisions.
Finally, choose what matters most.
When you focus on what matters most you deliberately choose what will be neglected.
5. Include Rest and Refreshment in One Section of the Summer
Maybe that will be on vacation or maybe it won’t. Maybe the highest priority on vacation should be quality time as a couple. Or reconnecting with extended family. Or teaching the kids to camp. Or investing in friendships.
Maybe your season in the summer for rest and refreshment will be the section after vacation. Or even after summer is over. Maybe your work is seasonal and summer is your busiest season, meaning the money you make in the summer finances a January vacation.
6. Incorporate Reading to Learn, Escape, Reduce Stress or Connect
You knew I was going to say it, didn’t you? I believe in summer reading for a multitude of reasons.
Yes, it’s great to sit by the pool and read. It’s great to pop in an audio book for road trips. Or read books as a deep dive in a new area of interest. Sometimes summer opens up pockets of time that aren’t available any other time of year. Lean into it!
7. Assign Resources to Priorities
After you’ve named what matters, schedule your time, money and other resources (like employees, kids or volunteers) to your priorities. Budget your time the way you budget your money, making the biggest allocations to the highest priorities.
8. Execute the Plan
Now it’s time to pull it off. Don’t be afraid to pivot if things go awry. Naming what matters helps you follow the compass. When you veer off course, you can regroup, adjust and head back again in the right direction.
One of the biggest problems for me is learning to flex not to hold too tightly to plans and adjust to things that come up. Counterintuitively, the better I plan, the easier I find it is to pivot.
If part of your summer strategy includes vacation reading, find out How to Build a Vacation Book Stack.