Well, here it is. The first weekend of August. Just the sound of the word “August” can produce surprise and dismay for anyone who has kids in school or works in the education field. Where has the summer gone? School clothes, school supplies, shoes, massive amounts of information from school in electronic and paper form, homework battles, sports practices, lunch packing – it’s all coming very soon.
Everyone feels the impact of September. It seems that almost overnight, traffic increases exponentially, and your quiet mornings where you could sip on a your coffee, sit out on the patio enjoying the sunrise, or go for a nice morning run become those hectic mornings where everyone seems to have misplaced at least one thing they need before they run out the door. It can feel like your mornings have been taken from you and replaced by emergency evacuation maneuvers.
Summer isn’t over yet for sure, but let’s not wallow in denial. It’s coming. And now, when life is still idyllic, is the time to prepare for that transition.
How can you continue to maintain your sanity when school starts back up and your to-do list expands? How can you maintain a calm demeanor in the face of it all?
First of all, set your expectations. The fall will be more structured than the summer. We all know this, yet year after year it feels like a huge surprise when it happens to us again. Accept the fact that you will have to be more disciplined with your time.
Make an end-of-summer plan. Decide exactly what you want to accomplish before school starts. Then take out your daily, weekly and monthly planner sheets and schedule it all – including all the things on the personal/home front that you will need to do before fall starts. I’ve just found out that my daughter needs wisdom tooth extraction, so I’ve scheduled a consult for that before school starts, and I’ve made my own doctor’s appointments that I have been putting off since school was in session last Spring. My favorite planner sheets are those created by Day Designer, but you can use any planner sheets you like or make your own.
Keep all the good habits you developed over the summer into the fall. If you have been doing morning writing, keep doing it. If you have been scheduling your days and weeks, keep scheduling.
Make a fall plan. Or at least a September plan. There are going to be back to school nights for sure, and you will have to go out and buy STUFF – you may not even know what STUFF yet – but pencil in a time in your calendar to do that because you know you WILL have to do that. Try some bullet journaling and create a future log, if you don’t have one already.
Do your writing first. Don’t fall into the habit of thinking – as soon as I get “everything else done” then I will do my writing. Writing comes first – always, even if only for 15 minutes. This one habit will serve you more than any other to make sure that you continue to make steady writing progress in the fall.
Keep the focus on your accomplishments. You will always be more productive if you focus on what you are accomplishing rather than lamenting the progress that you have not made.
Make a list of panic-busters. As much as you try, there are going to be moments when you just want to hyperventilate. Panic is a productivity-buster. You want to get a handle on it and shut it down as quickly as possible when it starts to happen. Think now about the strategies you will use to overcome those moments of overwhelm. Write these all down on your panic buster list and put it somewhere where you can easily see it or access it when you need it.
Remember that summer is not over. Enjoy every last ounce of summer that you have, and there are a lot of ounces left. Summer won’t be back again until next year, and the school year is a long one.