Recently, I experienced something I hear clients say: “I’m so overwhelmed. There’s too much.”For me, it felt like all these dangling threads and no tapestry to sew them into. But what does that mean?
I need the tapestry design, so I know where all the threads fit, especially with different colors involved.
I need my system! Very simple – PC folders for my photography class by date, and a binder for “Curious Accountability,” my coaching class. Each new piece of information could be put with other information. And so mentally, I had my tapestry design, my context, my system.
I was calmer, and so more present to the learning.
If you’re wrestling with summertime scheduling or the transition to summer time, I’ll give you the same advice:
Hit “pause.” Slow down. Create a temporary system.… and start using it.
Why is the summertime transition so hard?
Because it’s a lot of newness, and all at once.
- New schedules, looser schedules or not enough scheduling;
- New activities, vacations, events you need to create, register for, RSVP for or show up at, on-time, with food, a second set of clothes for after swimming, and whatever else needs to go with you. Phew.
- New people to meet at these new activities.
- New adults in your home: college students returning home among others.
- New expectations for making it a great summer for everyone.
How to Start
- Get it all out of your head. On paper, PC or iPhone, whichever is fastest and most useful for you. Don’t worry about putting things in order yet. Thinking through and writing down the steps makes it easy to start and stop, knowing where you left off, and picking up easily from where you left off.
- Where will you keep reservation confirmations, packing lists, doctor’s notes or prescription copies, and recommendations or ideas from friends. Figure this out the minute you get your first detail nailed down; this will save you time and stress later on. The tool is whatever you’ll use consistently; the habit of using the tool is sanity-saving.
- Do you have enough time to do everything? What’s most important? What do you and your family want to say at the end of the summer ? That drives what’s on the list and what’s not. Save it for next year.
- Ordering: Are there built-in deadlines such as “Book by” dates? Go as far as you can on each until another deadline pops up.
- Block time in each day to work on the details, step by step. Small steps to fit into small bits of time.
- For families with college-bound students: It’s tempting to put a lot into this “last” summer. Just monitor the balance of doing versus being together. Statistics show that they’ll be back to live with you, soon, so “last summer,” well … maybe not.
- Who or what could make this easier? Who can do a part of any of these? Make a phone call. Drop off things. Trade time. Babysit to give you time. Give you ideas for what to do. What technology could make things easier, such as scheduling, task lists, or ready-made vacation packing lists, just to give you a start.
Changes and transitions come in all sizes. Moving from “regular” time to “summer” time is definitely a transition. Sometimes, it happens so quickly that we don’t have systems ready to go. And change is hard when there’s a lot at once. Give yourself some structured time and some no-structure time for summer … and the summertime living will be a whole lot easier.
Transitions difficult? Figure out why and what to do about it. Tap into strengths and skills you didn’t realize you had.