Please welcome our guest blogger, Cortney Ihde, as she shares her tips on planning a summer that meets your expectations, while still letting you live your life.
Lot’s Going On This Summer?
How to Sort It All Out and Still Live Your Life
By Cortney Ihde
This time of year can be a bit chaotic as many parents are having to look ahead into the future to begin scheduling summer activities, sports, schooling options, day care and in general, planning for a different schedule than the school year. As the years continue to pass, sometimes this planning period falls out of our sight lines and sneaks up on us, causing angst, panic and a level of excitement for the activities to come.
And, let’s not forget things we adults like to do and experience as the summer approaches – volleyball league, softball practice, time out on the lakes, golfing on the weekends, vacation time away from our work lives, and in general finding time to spend with family and friends. In our minds we have big plans for our families but when we look at the calendar and all of the activities that have suddenly taken claim of our time, we might wonder how it’s all going to get done and when we’ll have time for ourselves.
We are not strangers to this and yet we wish that it was easier. Here are some quick resources and tips to help you with this crazy time of year and still maintain the time and priorities important to you and your family without losing sleep over it:
1. Make a List of Priorities/Desired Activities: Hold a family meeting that includes every member of your household together at one time. Plan for 30 minutes and review each person’s desires, interests, and get commitments from each family member on what they would like to do this summer. Make a list for each member so you can visually see what that looks like for your family. Other than activities, ask questions about what is important as a family to prioritize and be sure that these things are listed as well. Examples might include: time to go to the park 1x/week, family movie night 1x/week, family dinners 2x/week, technology free 1 night per week, etc. Don’t discount any one’s ideas. Each family member’s voice is important in putting together your plan for the summer.
2. Select a Calendar tool that allows each member of the family to see their schedule. My favorite is www.cozi.com. It allows each member of the family to see the calendar and each member has an associated color. It allows you to schedule time frames, add notes and locations and is available on desktop or you can download on your devices. Google Calendar also allows this flexibility and integrates with Gmail.
3. Determine based on your priorities as a family how much time needs to be dedicated to each of the activities and who is going to own the transportation to and from, the registration and when that needs to happen and mark these things in the calendar. Once you have answers to this, you can time block your calendar with the assigned family members, schedule of dates and who in the family is involved in that activity. Pictorially speaking, after completing your calendar and time blocks, you should be able to see by color each person of your family and their summer commitments on paper. By associating a color to each person on the calendar, you can then see what may be missing, what may not be equal amongst family members, or what there is simply too much of based on how your family wants their summer to look.
The key to finding balance with everything going on in your life and your family is prioritizing time to communicate effectively on a routine basis, test and measure how activities and the schedule are working for everyone and make decisions based on how you want to be living your life. If there is too much on the calendar, make a decision to say no to that activity and maintain the balance you seek. If you want to start something new, ask yourself what you are going to stop doing before taking on more commitments. The best way to bring balance is to determine your boundaries on your time, prioritize your priorities and fill in the blanks with things that interest you and your family. At the end of the day, it about what matters most under your household’s roof, not anyone else. If you focus on what’s important to you, it’ll become much easier to make decisions with confidence about what you allow into your calendar. You just need to give yourself permission to say yes to your family and no to things that take you away from what matters to you.
I know you can do it!
Give the three tips above a try and let me know the outcome. I welcome your feedback and believe you can achieve the balance you seek, even in chaotic times!
Cortney Ihde is a local mom, career women and chief inspiration officer to those she works with. She is a Certified Business Coach with ActionCOACH Business Coaching and excels at helping small and medium businesses plan for growth and achieve it. She’s passionate about the quality of life and helping others find that same passion in their life. To connect with Cortney, feel free to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or give her a call at 262.901.4331.