Here’s the thing we all know but hate to admit: Our time is finite. And as Patrick Lencioni says, “If everything is important, then nothing is.”
Imagine yourself on September 1. The morning air is getting cool. The kids are going back to school. What will have made this a worthwhile summer? Is it having big memories of travel and adventure? Is it having your house set up to be more functional before the school year starts? Is it having lost 10 pounds? Is it simply knowing you were fully present for all of the daily moments?
We begin with taking a look at how you spend your time. You can use the below worksheet to consider each category. What are you obligated to do? Which obligations or activities will fill your time? What would you LIKE to do? How do you WANT to spend your summer?
- Relationships (Family/Friends/Community)
- Personal Growth & Learning
Maybe, like me, you want to do more in each of these categories. You probably have a list of things you feel you should do. There’s a natural temptation to ignore our own limits, and just hope for the best.
The hard news is: We need to make some tough choices.
The good news is: Doing this work now will make your daily decisions easier all summer long.
Knowing and articulating your priorities will greatly increase the probability that your choices will align with what really matters to you. Plus, being able to verbalize why you made each choice will help you do so without guilt.
There is nothing wrong with you. We all have limits. They aren’t a verdict on you. If anything…
Could you see them as a gift?
You were made with the capacity to work, yes, and you likely want to pursue your purpose. But you were also created with a need for nourishment, connection, and rest. Balance is in your design. These needs bring us to some of our most worthwhile moments.
Of the eight categories we’ve explored, choose two that will be areas of growth this summer. Where do you want to put extra focus, energy, and attention?
Then, pick two that you will maintain, no matter how busy you get. You may not necessarily have a specific goal in these categories, but they won’t be the things dropped when life gets chaotic.
That leaves four categories to trim back. You don’t have to cut them back to nothing, of course! But where could you make some adjustments? This might look like:
- A 15-minute walk instead of an hour-long trip to the gym
- A quick tidy instead of a deep clean
- Reading 3 books instead of 15 (the scariest one for me!)
Some of those suggestions may feel simply awful to you. This is a great double-check for whether you’ve chosen the right priorities for your unique situation!
Now we get to my favorite part: The Not-To-Do list. What are you committing NOT to do this summer? Your time is precious! And this commitment NOT to do certain things is just as honorable as your commitments to your priorities.
I love to keep the focus on what you ARE doing. Choosing a handful of worthwhile priorities is courageous, and worth celebrating!
If you need a little extra encouragement, reply to this e-mail and share your Not-To-Do List so I can cheer you on!
BONUS: Gather the people you do life with and bring them in on this conversation:
What might we like to do this summer?
Are there rhythms or routines that would help us make it happen?
What new things do we want to try?
What have we loved in the past that we might like to do again?
What are the definite Yeses? Schedule ’em!
What are the definite No’s? Cross ‘em off now!