Every year I have grand plans on how to stay productive throughout the winter; how to beat the cold and lack of sunshine… but every year around this time I start to wake up from my winter haze and it dawns on me how much of my personality has been hibernating. It’s involuntary. I think I’m doing ok, I feel like I’m putting in so much effort and then suddenly I wake up one day and I’m ALIVE. The sun is feeding me and I’m myself again. The real me that isn’t hiding under blankets on the couch all day bogged down by the darkness. The realization comes quick that I better make the most of this preferred Midwest season.

I do enjoy the seasons and there are a lot of things that I love about winter but I always feel ready for spring in the middle of January so when it finally comes a few months later there is so much relief. Although, once you come alive it also seems that everything and everyone else does too. All of a sudden life gets even more hectic and you can get left in the dust of spring and summer activities if you don’t get organized.

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So here is what I do to prepare for our warm weather schedule:

1. Priorities

First things first, write out a list of the things that are your seasonal goals. I have a long list of things I want to do over the course of summer but what is something that you want to integrate on more of a regular basis? This is a list for the overall goals that will become part of your everyday or weekly schedule. Maybe it’s going to the farmer’s market once a week, or joining a summer kickball league. For me it’s riding my bike more often. Whatever it is, write it out so that you can visually see what means the most to you this year. Your summer self will thank you.

2. Planner/Calendar

If you don’t have a planner or calendar already then WHAT is your life? Don’t mind me, I just can’t imagine not writing my schedule with color coded accuracy every morning when I wake up. Obviously the point of these is to PLAN and to stay ORGANIZED. Who knew, right? But seriously, it helps to be able to see your weekends and months laid out in front of you so that you can make the most of your free time. Make it easy on yourself!

3. Event Spreadsheet

In Chicago there are a ton of festivals, farmer’s markets, and outdoor concerts constantly taking place all over the city. Doing the research ahead of time to put all of the possible activities into a spreadsheet makes it more efficient to schedule your time later. Sometimes Curtis and I have a weekend afternoon free for a couple of hours and instead of spending a ton of time talking back and forth deciding, as couples do, this makes it easier to quickly figure out a plan of something fun to do together.

4. Bucket List

Aside from the event spreadsheet sometimes there are just random things that we specifically want to do. This is different than the priorities list that we started with. These are specific bucket list items that you want to accomplish this season. Maybe you really wanted to try a new patio out with your friends or spend an afternoon taking pictures outside. This is the list that outlines little excursions that you want to check off the list whenever they fit in. These are the one and done items that you want to complete here and there throughout the summer months.

5. Budget

This is so important because most people tend to spend more money in the summer. If you don’t already have a budget then start now! No matter what time of year it is there are a lot of amazing reasons for you to get your finances organized, not the least of which is spending smarter so that you can actually do more with your money. For years I’ve had an excel spreadsheet that tracks everything coming in and going out so that we know exactly what we’re spending money on.  There is so much advice on the internet outlining the best way to budget so go do some research on what approach works best for you!

 

What steps are you taking to make the best of your summer? Let me know in the comments!

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