Summer is upon us, or it will be soon enough.
For some of us, our summer days vary little from our winter days, other than in temperature, dress code and choice of entertainment.
For others, summer evokes thoughts of relaxation and lazy days.
And for some, like me (and perhaps you, if you have children under the age of 18), we say “Summer? Yikes! 2 ½ months of unstructured time?”
Yes, the onset of summer creates conflicting emotions – we want to relax and have fun with friends and family, we want our kids to have fun, but we still want to be productive in our professional lives. To balance all of these scenarios can be a tall order, and then we wonder… where do we start? Overwhelming!
Take a deep breath, and relax. We can do this. I promise.
Let’s get started.
Determine Your Vision for Your Summer
I am looking for a balance of activities, adventures and down time for me and my family. I want us to have fun, but also still be productive and get stuff done.
What is your vision?
With your vision in mind, grab your calendar/planner and block out ‘the big stuff’ like:
- Vacations (if possible, also schedule an extra day off on either the beginning or end of those vacations as a cushion for prep and clean up)
- Camps or practices required for school activities (for example, high school band camp and soccer practice start in early August for us)
- Annual family or community events, like reunions or carnivals
- Fixed events like the last and first days of school
Time Management and Budgets
Look at other activity options, but keep time management and budget in mind. Extra summer activities like sports, camps and classes can really fill in the time, whether we want them to or not. Plan to keep a balance of work/play/downtime. Don’t overburden your schedule so your summer becomes more hectic than the school year! Leave lots of room, or white space on the calendar, as my friend Jan calls it, for relaxation and spontaneity.
In addition, summer activities can also add up, financially speaking. However, there are ways to defray your costs:
- Talk to friends, neighbors and school parents about their favorite programs or activities from past years. There may be hidden gems in your neighborhood.
- Cut down on transportation cost and hassle by choosing activities and programs that are close to home or that will allow for car-pooling, babysitter sharing or perhaps a neighborhood teen to walk your kids to and from day camp in your town.
- Look for summer free days or reduced admission at local destinations. Your local library or park district may have passes available to local destinations, just ask around.
Communication is Key
When my family- my husband, our three school age sons and I- sat down with our family calendar last weekend, we took turns adding in events and activities we already have scheduled or would like to schedule for this summer. Four of us keep our own calendars (the 9 year-old… not so much), but it really helped to have everyone see what the others have planned. Now we can all start happily anticipating our summer, and clear up any scheduling conflicts now!
Spend a little time now mapping out and sharing your summer schedule, and reap the benefits all summer long.
Let the summer begin!
About the Author
Colleen Klimczak is a certified professional organizer whose business is located in the south suburbs of Chicago. For more information, visit www.PeaceOfMindPO.com. You can also visit her blog at http://colleencpo.wordpress.com and become her Facebook friend at My FaceBook Page