If you want to set your summer up for success, you’ve got to start by saying “no”. It’s fun to dream about all these amazing things you want to accomplish during the summer months, but the reality is that overextending yourself and packing your schedule so full with “fun stuff” doesn’t make for a fun summer at all… it makes for an exhausting summer.
So, we’re going to kick off this series with a little pep talk on clearing the calendar clutter. If there is only one post you have time to read in this week-long series, let it be this one. Because it’s the most important thing if you want to be intentional this summer — and really, in all of life.
1. Determine Your Priorities
What do you want to accomplish this summer? What do you want to look back on and remember from this summer?
Only you can answer these two questions. No other person can answer them for you. So make sure that how you answer them is based upon what’s really true, not based upon what someone you admire in your mom’s group or some blogger online is doing.
2. Write Down a Summer Mission Statement
Once you’ve figured out honest answers to these two questions, come up with a succinct mission statement for your summer. This mission statement is the basis for why you’re doing everything you’re doing this summer. You’ve got to know what is important first before you can determine what is unimportant.
Your mission statement doesn’t have to be some amazingly written and detailed paragraph. In fact, in most cases, the simpler you can make it, the better.
For instance, I told you earlier today that my mission for this summer is to rest and refresh myself. That’s pretty straightforward and uncomplicated, isn’t it? 🙂
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3. Set Boundaries
Once you’ve created your mission statement, it’s time to establish some boundaries to guide you as you determine what you’re going to spend your summer doing. This means you’ve got to get good at saying “no” — not because you’re hard-nosed, but because you want to be able to say “yes” to what’s most important for you this summer.
When you start saying “no” to what doesn’t matter as much right now so that you can say “yes” to what matters most, you no longer feel like you’re just running through your days barely surviving from one to the next. Instead, you’re living with purpose and intention — and this brings so much more fulfillment and peace!
Your boundaries could be things like:
- We will only plan a maximum of two activities per day.
- We will be home by 7 p.m. every evening.
- We will eat dinner as a family at least five evenings each week.
- We will stay home at least 2 whole days each week.
- We will have media free afternoons.
Now keep in mind that these are just examples. You need to do what works best for your own family. But hopefully these ideas will get the wheels of your brain turning.
Personally, since my goal for this summer is to rest and refresh, I’m cutting back on my personal and business commitments and goals and allowing a lot more margin in my day for fun family things, reading, and just kicking back and soaking up life. I’m also taking an extended break from traveling (except for family vacations).
When you’re creating your family’s summer boundaries, make sure that you are realistic and that you make them to help you facilitate your summer statement. If boundaries like this seem too rigid for you, you could consider making a Top 10 list like reader Sarah and her family are doing this year:
Every summer we’re bombarded with fun choices: weddings, barbecues, VBS, playdates, swimming lessons, tee ball, vacation…you know how the list goes on and on. Some things are fun activities we want to do and some are volunteer commitments and family obligations.
All of these ideas are good when you think about them individually, but if we’re not careful we end up at the end of the summer without taking any time to just play in the backyard and enjoy some quiet time.
This year we decided to be more intentional. We made a list of the top things we want to do this summer. Whenever another opportunity comes along we weigh it against the list. We ask ourselves if this is something we want to do more than the other things on the list. If yes, we give up something on the list. If no, we don’t put it on our calendar.
Sometimes it’s difficult to make the choice to turn down something that sounds fun, but it really has helped keep our calendar clear just in the last two weeks!
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Family Project: The Summer Bucket List
Our family loves to make a joint Bucket List like this for summer. We meet together at the beginning of summer and decide what our priorities are for the summer. Then, we each get to choose 2-3 things we’d really like to do that summer.
We compile this list into our master bucket list and then plan out each request on our calendar over the summer months. So long as you don’t have 15 kids, this idea works pretty well and keeps the summer simplified. Best of all, it means that everyone gets to have some input on summer activities and that there’s a little something for everyone.
If you’d like to do something similar at your house, you can print a free from Motherhood on a Dime.
What is your mission statement for this summer? What boundaries are you going to set?
Other posts in the 5 Days to Set Your Summer Up for Success series
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