Summertime can be crazy! The kids are home. The days are long. And there’s always so much to do.
It’s easy for stress to creep in. And no one wants to spend the summer stressing.
The good news? With a little bit of planning, and the commitment to this ONE thing, you can have a happier summer.
Are you ready to increase your summer smiles? Here’s what you need to do.
Deliberately take time for fun.
You see, summer is the perfect time of year to play and enjoy life. So keep reading to learn how to make fun a regular part of your summer.
How to Make Time for Fun This Summer
Even though the days are longer in the summer, you still only have 24 hours in each day. Fun times aren’t just going to magically happen.
You’ve got to proactively make fun a key part of your summer days.
But, you still have stuff you need to get done. So you can’t turn all caution to the wind and just completely abandon all structure in your days.
If you’re hoping to increase your summer smiles without letting chaos erupt in your house, here are seven different strategies you can use.
1. Nail Down Your Daily Essentials
When you have a better sense of what you need to do each day, you can more easily schedule in some fun.
Write down everything that you need to do on a typical day. This could include:
- Making meals
- Cleaning tasks
- Work tasks (marketing, client work, hours at your job, etc.)
- Animal care tasks
- Any summer commitments (swim lessons, summer school, etc.)
This list isn’t for the things you want to do. It’s for the things that have to get done daily (or on a regular basis) if you’re going to keep your sanity.
Look over your list carefully. Ask yourself:
- Can I delegate this?
- Can I teach one of the kids (or a spouse or roommate) how to do it?
- What happens if I don’t do this?
Now review your list again. Circle the ones that YOU have to do each day. These are your daily essentials for summer.
They’re kind of your minimum to-do list. On a day where these essentials are the only things that happen, you’re still in good shape.
2. Streamline Your Tasks
What can you do to free up time and mental focus this summer? Take time to streamline.
It’s the perfect time of year to:
- Make a meal plan.
- Teach kids new chores.
- Try automating or outsourcing parts of your business.
- Create templates or systems to help you do your work faster.
You may need to put a little extra effort in at first. You will need to invest time in creating these processes.
But, once they’re established, they will save you enormous amounts of time in the long run. Who knows – you may even keep using them once September rolls around!
Summer is the time for simplifying. Eat simple meals. Let the kids (and yourself!) have low-key fun with friends.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money or time on things to have fun.
Here’s an example to help you think this through. Which of the following are you more likely to do several times this summer:
- Plan and host a huge summer fun party complete with Pinterest-inspired food, games, and décor
- Have a group of friends over for a weenie roast and some corn hole?
Most people will hands-down pick option B. Having friends over for a simple meal and inexpensive fun is so much more doable than spending hours planning, preparing, and executing a grand event.
So kick back, relax, and just enjoy some low-stress time with friends and family.
4. Make Your Mornings Count
Mornings really do set the tone for the whole day, and that’s true all year. The good news? You don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn to make your mornings count.
Take time and sleep in if that’s something you want and can do.
But, even if it’s a slow day, get up purposefully (whenever that happens). Don’t lounge for a couple of hours and then try to convince your sluggish mind that it’s time to get to work. That takes so much more energy! Your brain is in vacation mode by this point and will put up a fight when you ask it to get moving.
Instead, do some of your daily essentials shortly after you wake up. Then, even if you take a break and rest for a while, you’ll help your brain be more productive all day.
5. End Your Days With Purpose
Take a couple of minutes before bed each evening to prepare for the next day. That way you can more easily accomplish those productive mornings.
At night, here are a few ways to help the next morning go more smoothly:
- Check your meal plan for the next day and see if you need to take out any meat to defrost or put any beans into soak or anything.
- Review your calendar – are there any appointments? Do you have extra work you need to do? Do you need to take anything on your errands or be somewhere at a certain time? By checking right before you go to bed, you can make sure you get the alarm set for the correct time and avoid any “bad surprises” in the morning.
- Make sure the dishwasher has run.
- Set out clothes if you have to get up and go. Remember socks and shoes if necessary!
It doesn’t take long to give yourself a solid start for tomorrow the night before. And before you know it, this will be a habit to help you be more productive all year long.
6. Put Fun On the Calendar
If you have trouble stopping work to have fun, make sure you schedule some in. Put it on your calendar… and then keep the appointment.
It may be a daily game time where you select from favorite card games, board games, or video games.
Or schedule in some longer events on a weekly basis, like going to the park or lake.
Think of some recurring things you can do and put it on the calendar along with any special vacations or big summer plans. Anticipating the fun that’s coming is as enjoyable as the fun itself.
Then when the time (or day) comes, stop working. Put your phone up. No fair trying to have fun while you’re glued to your smartphone…
Build memories and have fun. Then you can get back to your daily grind… until the next time you have fun planned.
7. Own Your Schedule
There isn’t one “right” way to handle your summer schedule. What works for one household could be a terrible fit for yours.
So, pay attention to your routines and strengths when planning your summer days. Plan your work times around when you’re most productive. Don’t try to force yourself to stay up late to work if you just want to sleep when the sun finally goes done.
Benefits of Making Time for Fun
Even though it may seem counterproductive, there are many benefits to taking time to play. When you stop and have fun, you are:
- Clearing your head
- Building memories
- Recharging your creativity
- Allowing your brain to slow down from “super productive” mode
- Giving yourself space between the problems you are dealing with. You may even find that they aren’t as big of a deal when you get back to them!
Take Time for Fun
This season take time for fun. It’s key for a happier summer, and can do wonders for your productivity.
And don’t worry — you absolutely can make memories while still getting the essentials done.