Everyone has heard of the Winter blues, but how many people address the Summer blues? Don’t get me wrong, summer is wonderful with time off from work and school. Friends and family to hang out with, vacations, swimming and barbecuing. All the fun stuff aside how often do you start to feel guilty because of all of the things you wanted or needed to get done. It is harder to find time without missing out on Summer’s great adventures. Balancing your summer is the key here.
Remove the Guilt by Balancing Your Summer
So I am here to help you figure out how you can be better at balancing your summer months. I want you to have your cake and eat it too! Basically, figure out how to have fun and still be productive. No one wants to be a Debbie downer all Summer. So we need to find a balance so you can let go of the guilt when the pool is calling your name.
Here are some strategies for balancing your summer so that you don’t end up with a ton of regret come September.
Use a Planner
I know this sounds crazy lame, but it will really help you. If you can plan out your weeks then it will help you fit in some practical things as well as fun. I write down some basics. I know Monday I need to pay the rent, the house desperately needs to be vacuumed, and I need to make more baby food. Tuesday we are going to the Zoo since it’s my husband’s day off.
I am not suggesting you have to schedule yourself all summer long. Simply write down the things that you HAVE to or WANT to do each week. These can even be just super short term goals if it helps to think of them that way. The point is not to be inflexible, but rather to accomplish things that have to be done, while still making it a point to have fun.
If I don’t write things in that I really want to get done, like a trip to the zoo, then chances are we will keep saying “oh yeah let’s do that this summer!” But we will never actually get it done. It is important to have a basic game plan. Even if you wake up and see it will be raining all day on Tuesday so you can’t go to the zoo, just check the weather and pick a different day. Now that your plans changed you can try and get some stuff done at home.
Set Weekly Goals
Pick one big task on your planner for the week. Put it at the beginning! If it is a priority and you wait until Friday to get it done then chances are high it won’t get done. If you plan to knock it out on Monday you will get it done and out of the way. I know for myself I enjoy the fun stuff way more when I don’t feel like there is a list of things waiting on me. Prioritize your weekly goals so that you actually have enough time to get them done.
Be Productive Early in the Morning
This goes hand in hand with Prioritising your goals. If you knock out the important things in the morning it will be easier to say yes when a friend wants to meet at the playground for a picnic. Or your kids are begging to go to the pool! I have also discovered that I do my best work in the morning, not at night when I am tired. I get more done and better quality of work.
Instead of saying “I am going to work in the morning,” I have found it works better to say “I am going to get two hours of work done this morning.” If I set up my work time in blocks then I get way more done. My phone is probably on silent and on the kitchen counter so that I don’t end up wasting 40 minutes on facebook….we all do it! If you block off an hour or two a day for work, you will get a lot more done.
I am not obsessed with the time simply the order. Today I may get an hour of work done at 7 a.m. before I take my daughter to preschool. Tomorrow I may not get to work on things until 9 a.m. The point is you prioritize and accomplish things in the correct order and for an appropriate amount of time. If your highest priority only gains one hour of your attention one day a week, you may want to try and find a way to dedicate more of your time to it. Invest your time and energy in your goals and it will pay off.
If you have things ready the night before you might be able to accomplish more every day. I am super tired at night, but I know that my morning tomorrow will go more smoothly if the laundry is folded. If the coffee maker is ready to go and I have a general idea of what the day looks like. Anything that will take less stress out of your morning helps. The sooner you get your morning routine done, the sooner you can knock out your higher priorities and work. Then you shockingly have way more time for the pool and other fun activities!
Make things easier on yourself so that your priorities gain your focus faster and while you are still in a decent frame of mind.
Balancing Your Summer Means Being Flexible
Like we talked about with the planner up above. You do not have to schedule every minute of your day. You need to write down your tasks based on priorities. How much time do you want to spend on each item? Then start working through the list. This is a guideline!!! If something unexpected comes up I will not waste my day feeling guilty for doing things out of order. Or, for maybe adjusting and bumping something to the next day.
Word of warning…don’t use this as your excuse every time to move your top priorities to the next day. You will turn around and realize you moved your priorities too many times and nothing got done. sometimes you do need to learn to say no. Sometimes you have to make up that time in the evening when you are tired instead of in the morning. The point is you can make guilt-free decisions. Just recognize that those decisions were yours. You need to take responsibility for them. Make up the time instead of just crossing it off.
Balancing Your Summer. Why do YOU Need to?
When you start to struggle or have trouble finding motivation consider your why. What are your long term goals? Where do you want to be at the end of the summer? Get crazy and look at the standard 1-year and 5-year goals. Whenever you are struggling, sit down and really consider where you want to be. Consider what you are willing to sacrifice to get there.
Work towards your goals daily, make some sacrifices, but also go have some guilt-free fun. Then come back home and get right back too it. If you need some help managing your time check out my post about removing your procrastination crutch. If you focus when you are working, and you cut out the nonimportant time wasters. You will soon find yourself enjoying your summer AND being productive.