There’s a temptation to let things go a bit for the summer as the weather makes us feel a little more lackadaisical. Vacations, kids home for the summer, visiting relatives and friends, summer holiday celebrations — all of this can contribute to disregarding the routines we strive to attain during the other months of the year. And to some degree that is wonderful! To have balance in life means taking time to play, relax, and toss the day planner to the wind.
However, unless you are in a position to somehow take the summer months off, you will most likely be heading to work Monday through Friday with everybody else. So, how can you balance the desire to go out and play with the responsibility of working and keeping up with important tasks?
Don’t throw out that day planner!: Scheduling is important in order to keep track of what you need to do — agreed — but your planner is also a necessary tool to schedule your play, when you can have complete and utter disregard for structure. It’s not healthy to keep yourself from taking time to disconnect from your regular routines.
Start by knowing what you would like to do in your free time. Do you want to take dance lessons or cooking classes perhaps? Might you want to read that novel sitting by your bed that you have been meaning to start? Perhaps sitting in a lounge chair in your yard for several hours is what gets you excited. Make a list of things you can and want to do in your free time this summer.
Schedule the necessary blocks of time first. If you are working from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m., then you know that those hours won’t be part of the time you can take off. So, that will leave you the weekday nights and your weekends. Go online and learn what is happening in your area so you can prepare ahead of time. For example, the summer months offer many fun (and even free) activities, such as movies outdoors or concerts in the park — but you will want to plan ahead to make those a priority. Put the dates and times in your calendar.
Are you going to join or invite friends? If yes, give them a heads-up and check in with them early so they can plan too. Will you be leaving work early to get a good seat? Packing dinner? Who will bring what? Sort these things out in advance to assure that your free fun time will be both free from stress and complete fun.
Take care of business before you thoroughly chill, and your free time can be guilt free. By scheduling all your time well, and in advance, your work can be accomplished with better focus, and your playtimes can be enjoyed without the nagging sense that you have neglected responsibilities to attend to.