Life is not measured in minutes or seconds, it’s measured by events—and no time of the year is more eventful than summer. This is the time when children are out of school, we take family vacations, attend reunions, make upgrades to our home and yards, and try to make time for the things we care about. We seek fresh air, wind in our hair, sand in our toes, and dirt under our nails.
Are you documenting these events? One challenge with summer is that our routine gets a little haywire, and that often means our planning sessions are less than stellar. If you ask your kids to list the things they remember most about their childhood, or if you were to list the things you remember most, you’re going to mention the big events, not the minutia. Are you including more in your planner than the daily grind?
Most of us can open our planners and see lists of projects to complete, meetings to attend, anniversaries, birthdays, baseball practice, soccer games, dance recitals. These things are all extremely important, but are we also planning and documenting our vacations, our home improvement plans, and our children’s missing teeth? Some things only happen once, but they make a lasting impression.
Take your planner on vacation.
Use it to schedule your itinerary. Take ten minutes each day before you leave your hotel to determine what you want to do, where you want to eat, and what you want to see and do during the in-between-time. At the end of the day, take a minute to write the things that impressed you most, the things you learned during the day, and the sites, restaurants, and other experiences you want to do again the next time you travel that way. These notes will inspire you and spark memories later when you’re journaling or telling stories to friends and family.
Plan family time.
Short stints to closer locations can be even more fun with a little planning. Schedule time for picnics in the park. With a little planning, you can be sure to remember the Frisbee, sun shade, or your favorite treat. Plan a day hike, or a family portrait session, and be sure to take the kids to their favorite ice cream shop afterward.
Plan personal time.
Alone time is underrated. There truly is a time in every parent’s life, when the only moment they have to themselves is when they can lock the bathroom door. It’s so easy to become overwhelmed with the demands of work, family, friends, and community service. All of those things are extremely important, but we can’t forget to sharpen the saw.
You might want to work on a small project in a quiet place so you can get a little closer to your creative side. You might want to plant a small garden to reacquaint yourself with nature, or you may want to take a mental break by reading a good book. Whatever it is that you are yearning for, take time now and schedule it in your planner.
Don’t feel guilty about personal time. Sharpening the saw consists of devoting focused personal time to the physical, social/emotional, spiritual, and mental elements of self. When you strengthen yourself, you can give more to those you love.
Plan your home and yard improvement projects.
Have you ever looked at an old photo of the home where your parents grew up, or stumbled across a receipt from an old purchase, and marveled at the differences between then and now? You can create a similar experience for you and your children when you start a home or yard project. If you decide to refresh a garden consider the following:
• Be sure to take before and after photos so you can document the changes.
• If you are upgrading a garden, clip out pictures of plants you want to grow and paste them into your planner or journal.
• Draw sketches of your garden and what you intend to do with it.
• Visit plant nurseries and talk with experts—keep notes in your planner.
Do the same with a home remodeling project.
• Sketch what you want to change in your planner or journal.
• Take before and after photos and keep them with your project information so you can remember your work.
• Talk with experts and get quotes for the work they’ll do. Keep those quotes in your planner.
• And, all along the way, be sure to photograph and write about the work you’re doing and the progress you’re making.
It’s true—life is measured by events both big and small, and your planner is the ideal way to ensure those events are memorable. Take some time today to plan a summer event and find ways to document as much of it as you can. Your kids will thank you for it later.