By contributing writer Amy:
Summer is right around the corner, and I’m almost giddy with excitement over the countless projects I’ll complete, the books I’ll read, the writing I’ll tackle, and the rest I’ll enjoy. Oh, the bliss of the endless free time and peace that summer provides!
Yes, I like living in a dream world.
Every single summer I step into this little imaginary vision of mine, and I end up feeling overwhelmed and disappointed. Every. single. year.
Visions of paint rollers and organizing bins start dance in my head while my To Do List grows by the day…until summer actually arrives and reality kicks in.
It’s also full of yard work, exhausting afternoons at the pool, missed naps, forgotten dinner plans, late games at the ballpark, and unusual schedules.
Basically, summer is just plain full!
I really don’t want to jump on the same old hamster wheel again this year. I want to enjoy a productive summer without the guilt of either ignoring my family or abandoning my household duties. I want to come to the end of summertime and be thankful for the time I had, rather than regretting the time I wasted.
Oh, and I’d sort of like to have enough energy left at the end of the day to enjoy the lovely evenings outside on the patio.
Seriously. Why does summer zap the energy out of me?!?
If I hope to have my summer “dream world” come true, it’s important to make a plan for being intentional. I still might not find the time for us to paint the whole interior of the house, build a patio fire pit, or organize everything we own (all things I honestly want to do this summer), but at least I’ll have a chance at doing more than just running to keep up with the necessities.
10 Practical Tips for an Intentional Summer
1. Get up early – at least earlier than your kids.
After a whole school year waking to an alarm clock every morning, I’m always tempted to just let myself naturally wake up once summer begins. Big mistake! It’s hard to feel completely rested when you wake up feeling behind before the day has even begun. It’s much better to enjoy the quiet house while getting a jump-start on the day.
2. Do your quiet time every day.
Sin doesn’t take a vacation. The heart doesn’t go on summer break. Don’t neglect spending time in the Word of God each day. I would suggest doing it in the morning because the summer days seem to quickly slip away when we plan to do our quiet time “later.”
3. Follow a simple morning routine.
Think about the things you need to do every morning and create a written morning routine. This will help avoid leaving the bed unmade and staying in your pajamas every day.
4. Start a load of laundry in the morning.
If you do one or two loads of laundry every day, you’ll be sure to keep the mountain from growing out of control. And by starting it in the morning, there’s a chance you’ll be able to move it to the dryer and actually get it folded and put away before the sun sets.
5. Clean up the kitchen after each meal.
It’s tempting to leave the breakfast or lunch dishes piled in the sink in favor of running out the door to the pool or the park. Just don’t do it. Taking five minutes to clean up the kitchen after meals will save you from the horror of dealing with the mess before you can make dinner at the end of a busy day.
6. Do work early.
My husband is a rock star at working early so the rest of the day is left for playing. I prefer to procrastinate. It’s always best to get work and projects out of the way while energy levels and motivation give you a fighting chance at being productive.
7. Rest during the day.
The sun, fresh air, and activity can drain the energy out of anyone. Take some time to refresh and recharge by sitting down with a good book or taking a power nap. Your mood and attitude will be much better if you aren’t running on fumes.
(*We love reading at Intentional by Grace! See the Intentional by Grace 2019 Reading Challenge and book list suggestions here)
We also have a Podcast episode on this very topic!
The Made to Give Life Podcast Episode 10: What to do when it all seems overwhelming.
Also check out Leigh Ann’s interview with Natalie about moving from a season of burnout to season of flourish.
8. Make a (flexible) menu plan.
The foods we like to fix and eat in the summertime tend to be simple and casual. Still, we’ll have much more peace if we take the time to make a menu plan. Keep it flexible, so you can change it up if your husband decides he’s in the mood to grill out or you want to surprise the kids with a picnic at the park.
9. Clean up every afternoon or evening.
Take a few minutes near the end of every day to get the house put back in order. By doing this daily, the mess will never be too overwhelming. Get the whole family involved, and the job will get done a matter of minutes!
10. Stick to early-ish bedtimes for the kids.
Even though it’s summer and it doesn’t get dark until really late, everyone will benefit from a reasonable bedtime for the kiddos. They need the rest after the exhausting days, and you need the break from the demands of motherhood. It’s also nice to have a little stay-at-home-date time with the hubby each night!
What are some ways that you’re going to be more intentional this summer?
Free Summer Planning Packet (Free Download)
If you want some help making a plan for your intentional summer, I’ve put together a planning packet for you to download.