Managing and Enjoying Summer Schedules!
After having many years of hectic and often anxiety filled summers, I decided it was time I actually start enjoying my summers with my family. As a CEO Mom, I have to juggle so many moving parts which can be overwhelming, frustrating and disappointing. I realized I had to change my approach as well as my perspective on summer planning in order to achieve the enjoyment I desired for myself and my family. After many years of struggling I can honestly say, this summer I am having WAY more enjoyment. Even with one of the most busiest summers yet, with business and family travel, to summer camps, play dates and huge client deadlines, I am having a wonderful time this summer and looking forward to the rest of it!
Here are the top 5 things that I started doing for managing the complexity of summer planning and scheduling and changed the trajectory of my summer!
Let go of having it all turn our perfectly.
I had to list this first. Remember that time, in our younger years when we would easily go with the flow. I decided that NOTHING ever goes perfectly. When I really think back to all of those times in life when I thought something went perfectly, it wasn’t because all of my laid out plans went exactly as I had hoped. Instead, when there were hiccups and bumps I just went with it. The ease that came after letting go and the moments that came after I decided to not care about the hiccups is what made for a memorable event. I remember that with my wedding, the birth of my first child, and so many more poignant times of my life where letting go served me perfectly. Here is a great article on the benefits of letting go.
Keep a master calendar.
I used to keep a work calendar that was separate from my personal calendar, then the kids’ stuff, my husband’s stuff, and dinner menus, etc., were all on different calendars as well! In my desire to keep it all organized, things got even more chaotic because it wasn’t all in one place. Once I switched all of my planning over to Google Calendar, it was as if the skies parted and the heavens beamed their lights down on me! It was a glorious move and I highly recommend using Google Calendar. The two most significant features of Google Calendar that makes it so worthwhile….1. You can color code various topics, themes, people and turn on and off those various calendars within in your master calendar. That flexibility is super important for me as the owner and CEO of my marketing agency. 2. You can share the link for the calendars with your spouse, your nanny, your babysitter, your grown children who need to know your schedule, etc. If you aren’t already using Google Calendar or some other sophisticated calendaring system, do it immediately! It will definitely change your life.
It’s okay to ask for help.
This is always something I have to remind myself of. My instinct is to do it myself. The '“do it myself” mantra has not served me well as a parent. It was something that helped me survive and get through my childhood and served me well then, but now, all I get with this mentality is exhaustion and feelings of loneliness. Also, I am starting to think the desire to always do it myself is a sign of a control freak. In my opinion, being a control freak doesn’t serve me anymore. Instead, my mantra is “ I am supported.” Which means I have a number of people in my life that support me that I can ask for help. I can now honestly say I believe asking for help is a strength not a weakness. I have people that I hire that support me that I can stop feeling guilty about hiring. It’s okay to ask for help. Not only do you make the people feel good about getting to help you, you are supporting others in the process. The asking of help enables flood gates of support to open and flow in all directions. I wish I had learned this lesson a while ago.
Schedule some time for self-care.
In the midst of taking care of your family, I know how easy it is neglect yourself. Nothing in the history of our planet has ever survived without fuel. Yet, as mothers and wives and all the other roles we live, we constantly ask ourselves to function in this way. It’s ludicrous. I know so many smart, brilliant amazing mamas that are on the brink of a mental and physical breakdown because they do not refuel. We might be feeding ourselves (sometimes barely) but food fuel is just ONE form of fuel we need to survive. We also need sleep for physical well-being, our minds need quiet time and space for mental clarity and focus to come back to us. Sleep, meditation, prayer…for me, making time for adequate amounts of these things are equally as important as eating. I am happier, I am more able to go with the flow, I am more willing to let go, and we all enjoy our time together on this planet more! Whether you decide to shut the door to your bathroom and take a bath, get away for a few hours for a hike in the woods, schedule lunch with your girlfriends, visit your local art galleries and museums, make time for your hobbies, or have a mani/pedi day, please make sure several of these are scheduled throughout the summer so that you can show up the way you want to…refreshed and present.
Daily review and revise time.
Okay, all of the above stuff I mentioned was sort of more stepping back and re-evaluating our perspectives and mindset, and a bit ideal. Really, it’s all stuff that I have implemented and it has made a tremendous difference in my enjoyment level when it comes to Summers now. But, this is something more tactical. I spend time even, if its just 1 minute, to review and revise schedules, plans, activities, play dates and even my own meetings, etc. I just take a look at my next day and ask myself, if it feels like the kind of day I will enjoy. There are days when the calendar is filled to from 7am to 9pm and I let out a big “HECK YES!” Then there are days, when I know I am just going to have to drop somethings off of my calendar in order to make it the kind of day I will enjoy…saying no to a birthday party, or deciding to not to do work so I can just chill at the park with my kiddos, or cancelling lunch with a friend because my husband needs my attention that day. Whatever it is, I find that if I push myself to get through a day when my gut and brain are both telling me revise, I often falter, and fall flat on my face. I’ve learned to listen to my inner wisdom and revise as needed. So, give yourself the 5-10 minutes daily to review the day over your first cup of morning coffee or tea and revise it to make it the kind of day you’d like it to be!