I just got finished updating our Google Calendar with the kids’ school year calendar. Wow – this summer has gone by fast and they begin school in just three short weeks. It’s time to ramp back up and print off the back to school supply lists for my 5th grader and 3rd grader. Time to get their school wardrobes together and make sure that they have some respectable tennis shoes after a very busy, active, fun and entertaining summer camp season. My to-do list is getting longer and longer by the second. But wait! Isn’t that how life happens? As soon as we get into our groove and establish a smooth schedule that works well, there is a shift and we must start from scratch all over again. Life is happening fast and the crazy train is not stopping so how do we jump back on and go back to full speed ahead?
Here are a few thoughtful suggestions.
RECALIBRATE – Often, when summer comes along, our schedules tend to relax a bit. The kids may go to bed a little later, there are family vacations and getaways and hopefully a weekend pool party or celebration or two. It’s time to “normalize” the schedule so that there is a sense of order and routine again. Families often operate better when there is a set schedule and routine. Children, despite their resistance at times, need structure. And as much as we don’t want to admit it, so do we as adults.
RESYNC – I mentioned having a family calendar earlier. That calendar is an important and essential tool for us so that when it comes time to scheduling activities for the family or each member individually, etc. we have a central repository for all things appointment related. Whenever I have a question about the four W’s – Who, What, Where, Why – I’ll go to the calendar first and if I can squeeze in another appointment or activity or hopefully, dinner with a friend, I’ll know what’s going on to make the go/no go decision. Try to update the schedule as much in advance as possible and keep it current so that there are no double and triple bookings! We’ve done that before and boy oh, boy, it was a bit messy by the end of the day!
REPRIORITIZE – Again, during the summer, the general rules and priorities around the house may be put on pause. We look forward to taking advantage of the longer days and warmer weather to best spend time outside of work. Whether it be to chill by the pool, enjoy an evening dinner with friends, enjoy a concert in the city, have drinks on the terrace, etc. we just want to enjoy! All good and please do! However, the time has now come to ask, what do I/we need to focus on to close out the year? Priorities and goals – what do you want to accomplish? I encourage establishing one or some for yourself individually and then some for each family member individually and then also as a collective family. Make it into a fun family activity to come together to discuss what is going to be important over the next several months. Once identified and established, it is then most important to hold each other accountable. Write them down and revisit them regularly to make sure that progress is made for each one, individually and collectively. Depending on those goals, recognize and celebrate the small milestones as encouragement to one another. This will help keep everyone motivated and hopefully, by the end of the year, everyone will have accomplished something and that hat is always an excuse for celebration!
So now we are ready to get back into the groove! Our schedules are normalized, our calendars are synced and our priorities and goals have been clearly identified. Keep in mind that every day will look and feel different depending on circumstance and life’s situations and circumstance. Yes, there will be days when nothing goes right. There will be days where everything is totally derailed for one reason or another. But there will be other days when you will be able to reflect and say, “Well alright, today was a good day!!!” Knowing, however, that you can fall back on a semblance of order during the chaos will hopefully keep you focused on the end goal!
So, here we go! All Aboard! Get on the train, stay the course and don’t get off until the ride is over. You’ll make it. And then…it will be time to do it all over again! When that happens, just RE-READ and REPEAT!