Summer is almost upon us, and soon my kids will be out of school. They each do a few camps each year, and we reserve the remaining weeks for lots of time for fun and relaxation. We may take a day trip to a neighboring town, get our book fix at the library, cool off at the pool, or hang out lazily at home with popsicles and a movie.
Each year, my biggest challenge has to do with setting boundaries for my work so I can make family and my self-care a priority. In the crazy moments, what helps me is to return back to remembering the overall vision for how I want to be and feel when it comes to my family and business.
Every May, I spend time with the kids creating some intentions on how we want to spend our time, and this helps us develop a good rhythm over the course of the summer months. A vision for home and business life helps everyone set expectations, develop a few systems, and a big plus – we get along without much cabin fever or many squabbles. Over the next few days, I'll be sharing five steps that will help you create a great summer rhythm. The steps include:
- Begin with your vision for summer with your family
- Set your vision for what you want for your business this summer
- Create your business and family goals for the summer months
- Determine what systems need to be put in place
- Break down your systems and goals with actionable tasks, and deadlines for implementation
Let's get started with Step 1:
Begin with your vision for summer with your family
Just about everyone functions better with clear expectations and a predictable plan. Especially kids. One way to set expectations and shift gears into a feel-good summer rhythm is to invite the entire family to define a vision for summer. Ask each person to imagine what they want summer to be like:
- What does a typical day feel like?
- How much time can the kids expect to spend with you?
- What responsibilities will everyone have to help the house run smoothly?
- What are your favorite activities?
- Are you taking a trip or attending a conference?
- Will there be lots of free time with friends, or is it important to keep busy?
- What emotions are you feeling most of the time? Happiness? Freedom? Adventure? Ease?
Jot down notes and make sure each family member is involved and heard. Then go through your list and come up with a picture of what your home life could look like over the next few months. Don't be afraid to set boundaries. Your daughter may want to go to the pool every day and your son may want to have at least four sleepovers each week – what's a more realistic number?
Most importantly, really pay attention to how you want to feel this summer. Think of ways to remind you of those feelings. It could be as simple as writing your desired feelings on a post-it note and put it at your desk or on your refrigerator. Some people write the words in their calendar. Others enjoy creating a vision board that serves as a visual reminder to them of how they want to be and what they want to do. Simply paste images and words that you find in magazines or online onto a poster board, and display it where you can see it. Kids really enjoy creating vision boards too!
By creating your vision, you are starting summer with the end in mind, and this will help guide your actions to create a fun summer with your family.
Stay tuned for next time, when I'll talk about Step 2: Setting your vision for what you want for your business this summer.
Update 5/31/17 (Post originally written in 2011) – My kids are now 17 and 15, and the older one now has graduated from high school (so we're getting ready to send him off to college over the next couple months!), so our summers look a lot different than when I first wrote this post. My daughter homeschools, so we developed our own rhythm based on her schedule for the school year. However, our schedules are still full and both kids are in and out of the house often, so their presence and erratic schedules can still throw me off. I will still be doing the five steps so I can have fun with my kids and still get work done.