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Summer is special. Even if you’re no longer in school, there’s something about the summer months that makes you want to design it so that it’s different than the rest of the year. I make a summer bucket list every year, and I was recently reminded now was the time to make a plan and put some thought into what I wanted my summer to be like.
I was initially inspired by time management writer Laura Vanderkam’s and her fantastic book I know How She Does It. The next day, I stumbled upon Gretchen Rubin’s (of Happiness Project fame) podcast on crafting super summers. You can listen to that podcast here.
Map It Out
Like Rubin advises, I had sorted out my daughter’s schedule months ago. If you want your kid to get into the camps they want, when it works best for you, this often has to be done earlier than expected. I then blocked off when I was travelling. Once those non-negotiable are mapped out, you know how much time you have to work with.
Setting this framework to see where you’re already committed is crucial. Some people plot it out on a large calendar, which is helpful so you can see it all at a glance. Key is to make a realistic plan. No point in setting a goal to go camping every weekend if you’re booked up with weddings for most of the summer.
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Why It’s Worth the Effort
I’m guilty of scheduling too much, but I don’t want to overload myself this summer. To me summer means time off. It’s a chance to cut loose and break from routine. I haven’t been able to do this in such a long time. My habit is to cram so much into tight spaces, that a delicious summer break for me would be not committing. Listening to the Happier podcast reminded me it was OK to do what I wanted to do – not what I felt I should do. Says Reuben during the podcast:
“Having breaks in the year makes life feel more rich. Disruptions of regular routines and habits makes time feel slower. You’ll remember it better because it’s different.”
Reuben is going to go out for lunch with a different person everyday she’s in New York and read for two hours each day – even on work days! While that’s not my thing, I recognize that sounds pretty decadent.
The summer plan
My big summer plan is to not plan anything for the month of August – except a getaway with the huz, while my daughter’s at sleepover camp. We have three empty weeks in August and it’s incredibly tempting for me to fill them up with trips and hikes and tennis lessons. But I’m not. July is going to be crazy enough. I have a 10-day work trip, then I catch the tail end of Stampede. I have one week to bang off the final two chapters of my book and then good friends are visiting from London. That’s July.
August, I’m still tinkering with. As mentioned, my big over arching goal this summer is not to schedule. Not to pitch work and not to book trips (unless I decide in July). There will be sleep ins and bike rides and trips to the dog park and patio lunches. I don’t know when, but often. I’ll sort out the nitty gritty later. Or maybe I won’t. For now, it feels pretty good to have nothing to look forward to.
What do you do to make summer different from the rest of the year?