Take Back Your Time This Summer

If you’re like me, you woke up today and didn’t even realize it was summer.

Unfortunately, this has happened to me more times than I’d like to admit. My spring season at work can get pretty crazy. It’s the time of year when I travel a ton for speaking engagements and I’m usually immersed in big projects. So, if I’m not careful, summer can sneak up on me.

But, that’s a shame because summertime is one of my favorite times of the year. Not only am I a summer baby, but it’s also the time when I’m able to really take my foot off the gas at work and spend quality time with my family. I get to soak up the warm weather, enjoy food on the grill, and spend time on the river as much as possible. It’s as if there are endless fun things to do, which magically puts everybody in a better mood.

But, here’s the thing: The only way you actually get to do all of those things is if you’re intentional about it. Otherwise, you’ll seamlessly transition from school year crazy to summertime crazy. You’ll just go from one version of busy to another.

To help you avoid doing that this year, use these four tips to take back your time so you can have an incredible summer—both at home and at work.

Four Steps to Make the Most of Your Summer

1. Identify your priorities.

You can figure out what your priorities should be by asking yourself questions like:

  • What do I want to experience with my family?
  • What have I always wanted to do that can only be done in the summer?
  • What do I want to accomplish in my personal life this season?
  • What’s something special I can do with my spouse—just the two of us?

Once you’ve made a list of everything you want to do, it’s time to schedule those activities. Don’t miss this, because if your priorities aren’t in the calendar, they won’t happen. Which leads me to step #2.

2. Create space in your calendar.

I love the quote by Stephen Covey that says, “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”

Before each month begins, be proactive and arrange your calendar to reflect what you wrote down in step #1. If that means visiting your aging parents three states away, then put it at the top of your list—even if your kids have to miss a soccer game or two. When you manage your commitments, they stop managing you.

The best part is that when your calendar is full of activities you actually want to do, you can stop being guilted into taking on responsibilities you don’t want to do.

3. Schedule leisure time.

When you finish everything else, then you’ll spend time reading, exercising and playing with your kids at the pool. Right? But that never happens! I know there’s so much you want to accomplish this summer, but don’t forget to have fun while you can!

Before you know it, your kids will be back in school and you’ll be back in the carpool lane. So, go ahead and schedule some leisure time into your calendar as well. Make that one of your priorities by creating margin just for fun. This will help ensure these important parts of your life get plenty of time.

4. Protect your schedule.

Even if you start off your week with the best of intentions, unexpected things will inevitably come up. You’ll get requests from work, invitations from friends and distractions from every corner of your life. But, through all of that, it’s vital that you protect the schedule you’ve created.

That’s why I want you to practice saying no to last-minute requests and invitations that conflict with your priorities. If you need more help with this, download my free resource, 25 Ways to Protect Your Time. It’s essentially a script of 25 different ways you can say no without feeling guilty. We could all use a little more of that. Am I right?

Friend, don’t let summer get away from you. We dream about this season year-round, so make the most of it while you can. If you can remember to do these four things (starting today!), you’ll have less stress and more fun. And that’s exactly what summer should be all about.