Hello Summer, goodbye schedule!
Work-at-home Moms of school-aged kids, I know you feel me on this one. As school winds down, you find yourself putting together teacher gifts, planning class parties, and wondering how you forget every year that the last couple of weeks of May are not a time for work, but a time for end of school activities, meaning less time to finish up all the projects you wanted to get done while the kids were in school all day. And you’re panicking about getting a running start on summer so that you can get some work done while still spending quality time with your kids.
Because let’s not forget, the reason we work from home is so that we can be there for all those sweet moments with our kids. And so we can commute in our pajamas.
But all those sweet moments are stretching out in front of you, into 2 1/2 months of fun and sun with your kids, along with missed deadlines, foregone projects, and general frustration at how little you can get done in a day.
And while I’m on the subject, let’s just be clear – each and every mom is really a work-at-home mom. Sometimes it’s for a job that pays you. Sometimes it’s for your family. Sometimes it’s both, and ohmygoodness how am I going to get it all done?
Every summer, as I contemplate how to go from 5 hours a day of work time to approximately 30 minutes on a good day, my sweet husband gently suggests that if I made a schedule, perhaps that would give me the structure I need to feel safe and sane. Not to mention the kids. Not to mention himself. This from the man who gets up at the same time each day regardless of his alarm clock. We are slightly different people. But he might be right in this case.
So last year, I begrudgingly made myself a calendar, mostly just to prove to him that it wouldn’t help. But you know what? It did help! (If you’re reading this honey, yes this is me saying you were right, I was wrong.) And since it helped me, I thought maybe it would help some of you.
My summer calendar actually consists of two elements. One is a full calendar of the whole summer.We try to camp as often as possible, so those weekends get marked first, as well as any graduations, weddings, and other high-priority events. Then I add in any VBS, camps, lessons and other scheduled items. That pretty much covers the whole summer, and lets me easily see where we still have free time left.
After all the fun stuff is scheduled, then I make up a weekly calendar that’s mostly for me to plan goals and work flows. This is where I block time for working, which means I need to be a little organized so the kids can have other things to do during these times. Unlike the school year, every week in the summer looks different, so it’s helpful to have a weekly schedule.
You can get your full 2017 summer calendar here,
and your weekly calendar here.
I know it’s low-tech, but isn’t that what summer’s all about? Sand in your toes, sunscreen everywhere, and as little computer time as possible. I just leave my calendars on my desk and check in every so often, without being tied to an hourly schedule that requires my phone to remind me about each and every little thing. I find that this helps me create a balance between getting the important things done, and still leaving plenty of space for spontaneity and fun.
3 Tips for a Successful Summer Schedule:
- Don’t overschedule. Or to put it another way, plan in time for fun and flexibility. If you give yourself 101 things to do in a week, you’re just going to end up frustrated and feeling like a failure.
- Communicate with your kids. Show them the schedule if they’re old enough to read, or at least talk through it with them each week. Point to your calendar and let them know that each day you’ll need to spend this time on your tasks but here is the time you’ll be spending time with them.
- Keep your goals and lists separate from your appointments. When you write a goal at a certain time on your calendar, you know it’s flexible and you get in the habit of not taking your schedule seriously. But if you keep track of goals on the side, and only write actual appointments and deadlines on the calendar, then you’ll know at a glance which things are negotiable and which are set in stone.
Bonus Tip: write your calendar in pencil! Life changes, and summer is a time for going with the flow. Don’t stress yourself out with a bunch of marked out and missed deadlines. Just erase what you need to and move it to where it makes more sense.
I’d love to hear from you if this calendar is helpful. And if you have suggestions or improvements, I could really use all the advice I can get!
Here’s to a happy and *somewhat* productive summer!