How is your Summer Time Going?

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Wow, our summer is going by fast. Mission trips, basketball camps, daughter working as a camp counselor, beach on the horizon and birthday parties with family. How about you? Have you scheduled any time off? Are you working any different hours? What fun event is on the calendar? If you are stammering a bit, then let this article guide you to some fun planning.

Many of my clients are just waking up to the idea of being intentional with their time. Why is this important? Well, we live in a time where it is way too easy to be connected all the time. Our phones can be an awesome tool to stay connected when we need something quick. They can also allow us to be flexible and work in coffee shops, libraries, etc. However, they have also made it too easy to check our email while on vacation, at the swimming pool, at Disney World or during a kid’s ball game. Scott Eblin wrote a great book called “Overworked and Overwhelmed” and I love a concept that he introduced in the book called guardrails and boundaries.

The concept is basically about being intentional with your time and protecting your time from other people’s interruptions. Here are some examples from my clients—no phones at the dinner table; no email or work texts during the weekend; dinner with my family 3 times per week; workout at noon, 3 days a week; no interruptions during 1:1’s; no meetings on Fridays. The reason we need to be intentional and establish some guardrails and boundaries is because it is too tempting to just check our phones, allow someone to interrupt our 1:1 or just get lost doing work.

Do you know that many US leaders do not use all of their vacation days each year? I understand how it happens, but they all say they wished they had done more fun things throughout the year. Okay, now back to summer. What are your guardrails and boundaries? What memories will you create with your family or good friends? Here are some ideas to get you started—

1.     We ask our kids for 2-3 things that they want to do this summer and put it on the refrigerator. We start checking things off during the summer (kayaking, hiking Mill Mountain, playing golf, camping out 1 night, seeing The Incredibles, etc. are some of the items on our list this summer.)

2.     I do not schedule appointment past 4pm in the summer. This means that I get home earlier and we can go do some of the things on the list (ex. We went to Mill Mountain and got ice cream last Tuesday!)

3.     I have marked 2 Fridays off to just be with the family. A family kayaking trip will happen on one of these Fridays.

4.     What will be your plan on vacation days? Be intentional—if you are going to check email, I would recommend doing it early and setting a timer for 15 minutes so you do not get sucked into the computer for a few hours. Who can cover for you while you are out? Be a friend and cover for them when they are out.

My final thought is, who can hold you accountable? I let my kids know my plan and they are great about doing the planning. I hope you can establish some boundaries and guardrails for yourself. Summer is a great time to start this new behavior. Go create some awesome memories and share your ideas with me. Have fun!