It’s officially summer and you need to immediately drop everything to organize your summer schedule as it seems like the carefully-crafted schedule you’ve lived by for the past several months has been turned upside down. It probably has. Kids are out of school, there are vacations to take, camps to pack for, family to entertain and somewhere in there you have to manage a job and keep your house running. Organizing your summer schedule is far more manageable if you utilize a few basic tools and keep some simple ideas in mind.
The Summer Calendar
If you haven’t already done this, create one master calendar for organizing your family’s summer schedule. Include vacation dates, summer holiday plans, family birthday celebrations, camps and other kids’ activities. If you have important deadlines or projects at work, include those dates as you organize your summer schedule so that you’re not surprised to find a big presentation is scheduled for the day you return from your trip to the beach. Be realistic about the time you need to prepare for travel or guests. If you have a houseful of family arriving for the weekend, schedule an afternoon off to shop for groceries and take care of last-minute preparations if that will make you feel less stressed so you can enjoy their visit. If your vacation travel plans include an early morning flight, plan ample time to pack so that you’re not pulling an all-nighter and beginning your trip exhausted.
Routine is Good
Organizing your summer schedule in advance will help you adhere to regular routines as much as possible. Though there may be more flexibility in your work schedule, try to stick with your normal work day start and end times so that you’re focused and efficient in the office. Don’t be too rigid, however. If you work as part of a team, everyone will need to exercise some flexibility and cover for one another during vacations and other schedule disruptions. Pitch in where you can, recognizing that someone will be doing so for you too.
Kids, especially younger ones, fare much better on a regular routine. Keep bedtime and morning schedules stable to ensure that children are well-rested for fun summer days. Kids typically have more free time, so let them pitch in with chores around the house. Clutter piles up fast when everyone is at home more and summer laundry can get out of control quickly. Use a job chart and reward system to keep everyone motivated.
It’s tempting to fill up the summer calendar with activities and travel plans, particularly if you have children at home. But don’t over underestimate the value of down time. Young children gain much from simply playing, reading books, drawing, imagining – and it’s all free! School-age kids will appreciate the break from homework, sports schedules and school activities. Visit a park, spend an afternoon at the pool, wander through a museum, play board games. They’ll enjoy the slower pace – and so will you.
Teens may need to have a little structure imposed on their summer downtime – most have no trouble slipping into “relaxation mode.” Summer jobs, even just a few hours a week, are a great way to take on additional responsibility and earn money. While younger teens may not be able to work for pay, summer is a great opportunity to volunteer with an organization they’re interested in. The work will be rewarding, will keep them busy and is great experience for future job endeavors. At the same time, most teens have packed schedules during the school year, so some summer time hanging out with friends, going to movies and sleeping in are probably in order.
Whether your summer schedule is a busy one or you’re simply taking a breather from your regular hectic pace, a little planning and organizing your summer schedule in advance can help you to enjoy the change in routine. Take photos, keep a journal, make a scrapbook to preserve summer memories. Before you know it, it will be Labor Day and you’ll wonder how it slipped by so quickly!