By Alyssa Sporrer | Guest Writer | Sustainable Organizers
Summer is officially here! And if your schedule looks anything like mine, it’s full of trips, weddings, fun events, sports, and hopefully some downtime. Summertime is hectic for nearly everyone, especially busy families with kids. Juggling summer camps, childcare, play dates with friends, and days spent outdoors may be part of your summer routine.
Even if your summer is full, it doesn’t have to be stressful. Organizing your summer using a calendar of some sort can help you keep track of activities and events so that you have time to prepare. Below are some tips and tricks for managing your summer schedule.
Organizing Your Google Calendar
Everyone’s Google Calendar is different. Some sit empty with a few invites to events from work or family members. Others are color coded with so many items that you have to zoom in on each day to see every item for that day.
It’s best to commit to using Google Calendar or a physical calendar so you can keep track of all of your obligations and fun events in one place. This keeps everything together so there’s no chance of missing things. You can add every play date, pool day, and sports practice to your calendar in addition to bigger events such as weddings or birthday parties.
One great feature of Google Calendar is the ability to set up recurring events within certain parameters. If your son has soccer practice at 5:30 pm every Monday evening for 3 months, you can add that under the specifics for that event. You can set things as recurring daily, weekly, monthly, annually, or on a custom schedule. The recurring event feature makes it quick and easy to add events that happen regularly.
Many people have additional emails and Google Calendars for work. This can be a good way to naturally separate work from personal life. However, if you are the type of person that needs to see every single event, meeting, or obligation in one place, you can share your work calendar with your personal email. It’s also possible to share Google Calendars between partners if that is something you think your family would benefit from.
Organizing Your Paper Calendar
Even though the world is more digital than ever, some people still swear by physical calendars. The simple act of writing things down has been proven to help people remember things. Some even use calendars to practice calligraphy or have full flexibility in how the calendar looks.
Pens, markers, highlighters, and pencils can all have a place on your calendar. It depends on your style and preferences. Pens and thin-tipped markers are great for events that are concrete this summer. Pencils are ideal for things that you’re thinking about or not sure about the exact date or time yet. These tips apply to paper-based physical calendars.
There are also plenty of whiteboard calendars, which are easily erasable and customizable. Many people like these as they can be helpful for families with young children so that everyone can see the schedule. Each family member can have a dedicated marker color, and older children can add events when they need to. Be sure to hang the calendar somewhere so everyone can see it. When choosing between calendar types, keep in mind that you can typically only display one or two months at a time on whiteboard calendars. These may need to be used in addition to another type of calendar for scheduling events further out.
General Tips To Organize Your Calendar
It’s a good idea to pick a calendar strategy and stick to it. Writing down events and tasks in multiple locations can make it confusing and easy to accidentally double-book or over-commit.
Whether you like physical or digital calendars, colors can play an important role when it comes to creativity and organization. On Google Calendar, try dedicating one color for each type of commitment. Maybe blue is baseball practice, red represents urgent tasks, yellow for big family events, green for friend activities, and purple for work.
You have the power to choose your preferred colors or decide if you use colors at all. On a physical calendar, different colored pens or markers can serve the same purpose. Highlighters can also emphasize very important items. The act of crossing things off from a physical calendar or paper to-do list can be very satisfying.
Respecting Your Time
It’s your job to respect your time. Other people love and respect you as a person, but it’s up to you to know your boundaries. Committing your time in the summer to too many activities is pretty normal. Many people jump on the chance to plan vacations and enjoy the weather with several outdoor activities. But eventually, you may burn out from over-committing. Here are four strategies to avoid over-committing.
Schedule downtime. Create an event on your calendar to spend some time reading that book or just laying on the couch. Remember to listen to your body and give yourself the rest you need so that you can keep up with your busy summer schedule.
Don’t be afraid to say no. If you were invited to a friend’s BBQ but you’re starting to feel tired and already have a million other events that week, then just say you can’t make it. It’s your schedule and your life, so spend time on things you are excited about.
Keep lower-importance or easy activities closer to the last minute. Instead of planning a day at the park with a friend and their family a month in advance, wait until a few days before to see if that fits well with you and your family’s needs. Spontaneous adventures can be some of the most fun adventures you will have. But planning too many things may mean you don’t enjoy any of them as much.
Schedule chores into your calendar. If you have a hard time keeping up with chores, it may be beneficial for you to schedule them in your calendar. Schedule a few minutes each day to open the mail or fold the towels. This will make it so that you can stay on top of chores and also make it so that you’re not spending as much time cleaning the house when you know company is coming over.
Use these tools and tricks to keep your schedule organized and these warmer months more enjoyable this summer!
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