It’s the time of year when we start realize summer is slowly coming to a close.
I’ve heard a lot of my teacher and self-employed friends and family use a common phrase for this time of year: “We’re on a summer schedule. You can’t get anything done with the kids home from school. Summer’s almost over and we never got to [fill in the blank here with a never-accomplished project or never-experienced activity].”
So why do so many people with those work schedules fall into that pattern of having two+ months pass without aiming for managing their time in a way that leaves them feeling a sense of accomplishment at the end?
When we think we have a lot of time to do something – and therefore don’t have a need to plan our time – it passes by whether we’re making good use of it or not. And so often we use our kids’ activities, along with their mere presence at home, as a rationale for not planning our time.
For those of us not on a teacher’s schedule, and lacking the luxury of 8+ weeks of summer to use as we see fit, we’ve got just weekends and PTO days to decide what we want to do with. Yikes.
If you’re in a management or executive position, or other corporate type job that finds you in back-to-back meetings most days, you might be of the mindset “My weekdays are so regimented, I don’t want my personal time to be that way too. I want to make the decisions of how I spend my personal time.”
But if you’re divorced or separated and have the standard every other weekend with your kids, your quality time with them is literally cut in half. So even if you’ve got additional time with them in the summer, frittering away that time is an even greater loss. 😢
With your quality family time more limited, it’s even more valuable for you to plan how to use it.
But why plan out your personal time? Isn’t that restricting the most valuable time you have?
Because planning that time actually frees you, not restricts you.
When you consciously plan and prioritize how you spend your personal time, you will accomplish and experience the things that are most important to you, rather than simply doing what you happen to decide on in the moment.
That kind of action might feel easier in the moment. But the discomfort that comes from living without a feeling of accomplishment weekend after weekend, season after season, year after year far offsets the minor discomfort of sticking to a schedule in the moment.
Creating a plan for living in your priorities doesn’t have to be arduous and tight. Even just planning out blocks of time for big categories of activities can help you stay on track for more quality time. It might look something like this on Saturdays:
- Wakeup time until 10:00 a.m. – totally free & unwind time: watch TV, make pancakes, a little bit of time for social scrolling
- 10:00 to noon: showers/baths & dressing, followed by organizing living spaces
- Noon to 5:00: mandatory fun. Yes, mandatory. Block this time for nothing but together time, at home or out.
- 5:00 to 7:00 – meal prep, eating, and cleanup – all done together
- 7:00 to bedtime – games, movies, snuggles & baths
You get the point from here. A nice balance of structured, yet loose. Just create simple blocks of time allocated into categories that are important to you and leaves you and your kids with a sense of fulfillment.
Of course, if your child has 9:00 a.m. soccer practice on Saturday, followed by a birthday party, scouts, or dance lessons, etc., you’ll need to be flexible. But don’t let an hour here or 90 minutes there throw a wrench into the rest of your day, and ultimately your weekend.
Stick to it every week, then watch your priorities for your personal time fall into place bit by bit, giving you the sense of balance and centeredness you’ve been seeking.
If you forever feeling like you don’t know where the time went every weekend and every summer, maybe I can help.
Time management skills are just some of the many things I teach busy moms in my coaching practice.
You can even start out with a Free, 30-minute consult just to see if coaching is a good fit for you.