You guys, I’m SO ready for summer. Not just the warmer weather, but also the change in pace. My daughter’s kindergarten teacher referred to summer as “A time to BE and a time to explore.” Yes and yes. This is like the perfect description of how summer should be, in my opinion. I love using the warmer months as the ultimate excuse to get outside every day and be a little bit more unstructured with my routines that I keep all year long.
But being unstructured doesn’t mean that I just let everything slide. I have worked hard to get to where I am both in my exercise routines, my daily organization and my nutrition, so I don’t want to backtrack on all that hard work. What it does mean is I give myself more grace and I allow myself to be more flexible in HOW I accomplish the goals I set out.
During the fall and winter months I’m much more rigid in my routines and accomplishing my goals is more of a science rather than a fluid journey. I have particular times I work and scheduled times that I have for personal care and play. Being rigid and very schedule oriented works in the winter, but in the summer, life takes on a whole new look.
I love allowing time to explore and time to do different things with my family.It’s a season of life where every day looks different -- and for a season, I love that so much! But when every day is vastly different from the day before in terms of your schedule, it can be really difficult to know JUST how to work through goals and be as productive as those winter months.
As someone who has a fairly sporadic schedule with work and home life, I can tell you that sometimes a change in the scheduled parts of life can actually make you MORE productive, you just have to know how to work with what the circumstances are each day.
If you’re at home with your kids, or your work schedule is highly inconsistent like mine, these tactics will help you not only accomplish more throughout your day, but work towards your goals and accomplish them efficiently and quickly.
HAVE A RUNNING MICRO-GOAL LIST
The best thing about organizing your goals and projects this way is that you don’t forget what you’re doing and leave a project half done. If you have all the steps laid out with as much detail as possible in each one, you can do them at any point in time when your schedule is open.
I use Tello as a project and goal planner for big tasks that have multiple steps in them. I don’t use Trello as an every day to do list because it can feel super overwhelming to look at a long laundry list of each thing I need to get done in order to accomplish a goal.
It’s like just taking one step at a time, whenever possible to get to the end goal.
During the summer when you might find yourself with odd free time here or there, you can then take those opportunities to look at your goal and project list and work on just one thing at a time.
An amazing book that isn’t just for moms, but is for ANYONE who has goals and wants to be productive is Do Less by Kate Northrup. She breaks down how you really can do just as much in less time and how to stop being “busy”. It’s a really great read and has really practical information that you can put to work in your own life.
PLAN WEEKLY, NOT DAILY
This is a big one for me in the summer. Not every day is the same, and some days we choose to be out of the house all day, and other days the kids might go play with neighbors for an hour or so. With every day looking vastly different than the one before, I found that having a weekly to do list, rather than a daily to do list worked really well.
Few things feel worse when you look at your to do list at the end of a day and you realize you’ve gotten none of it done. Once you start moving tasks to the next day, it becomes easier to just keep moving it and never REALLY get it done.
You can get all the ways I plan weekly in this blog post. But taking your week and looking at it with a big-picture mindset, means you can plug your tasks into any day, at any time you want depending on what the schedule is for that day. It also means it’s totally fine to have a day where you don’t get a whole lot accomplished, because you’ll make up for it another day when you’ve got more time to spare.
This also helps cut the overwhelm of looking at your to do list and realizing NOTHING that you planned on getting done is done. When you’re looking at a whole week, you know that you’re moving forward, even if it isn’t a huge leap every day.
This could apply even to your exercise routine. If you have a goal of running three times a week, you wouldn't try to run three times in one day. Instead, you plan out which days will work best for you when it comes to your schedule.
My Weekly Goal Planner is perfect for this type of system and can really help you look at the week as an opportunity to get closer towards your goals.
PRIORITIZE EVERY MORNING
ALWAYS HAVE A PLAN B
Another thing I learned from my daughter’s kindergarten class: Always have a plan B. (Maybe I learned more than she did that year!?). Having a backup plan ahead of time makes it easier to roll with what’s going on. If you have no idea what your backup plan is, it can get pretty stressful trying to manage your task and to do list.
If you’ve set aside time to get something done and your plans change, make sure you have a back up plan to take care of that project. This might look like getting up earlier one day, letting your kids have screen time for a short period of time one day, or creating time in your schedule for a make up day.
It could also mean trading the more important task out for another. For example, if it’s a day I know the kids and I will go for a bike ride, or we plan to hike, I’ll get up at my normal time, and instead of working out, I’ll get something else done off of my task list. I’ll work on a project that I know I won’t have time for during the day otherwise.
Another way I work a secondary plan into my schedule is by having a set work time that is strictly “catch up time”. Usually I allow whatever my work time is on a Saturday to be catch up day. That means anything that I didn’t get done during the week, I finish up on this day.
It should also be said, this solution only works if you’re not expecting too much out of yourself or over scheduling yourself with tasks.
GRACE, GRACE AND MORE GRACE
Let’s face it: Sometimes, it just doesn’t all get done. And you know what? That’s okay. You’re still moving forward and your still making a dent in the to-do list of tasks and micro-goals. More often than not what we plan out will take longer than we thought…..way longer. I’ve heard some say you should often double the time you expect to work on something, that way you’ll be on the safe side of expectations.
No matter how your moving forward, that’s all that matters, you’re moving…..and in the right direction. Give yourself grace when it doesn’t happen on your timetable. Give yourself grace when you took a moment for yourself rather than “get it all done.” Give yourself grace when you hit roadblocks but kept on going.
Those around you see you moving forward and they see you pushing through obstacles. We live in a world of instant gratification, and that just doesn’t work with a lot of long term goals. You have to be willing to go slow and take one step at a time. Those around you will see that hard work, even if bit by bit.
You should be proud of yourself for moving forward and plugging away at all the steps that will lead you to your goals and dreams.
Seeking a balanced life through healthy living and a healthy environment
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