We are in the full swing of summer — and everyone seems to have a summer vacation mindset. The kids are off from school, the days are longer, calling for more outdoor time, BBQs present themselves as a must, and prolonged happy hours can’t be missed. When did we allow ourselves to get so busy? Some workplaces even give Summer Fridays or early closures to extend the weekends. With these summer vibes, it can be challenging to get into a productive summer routine at all. But use your online Calendar to keep you on track for productivity
Productivity means different things for everyone. For example, you may need to be more productive at work due to a team project. Or, you may need to be more productive at home, which can be distracting now that the kids are home all day. In either case, using a calendar can be beneficial. Keep reading about how utilizing an online calendar can be the best thing that ever happened to you and your summertime routine.
1. Plan Ahead and Out
No matter what month it is, take a look at next month’s calendar. If it’s empty, you’re in the right place. The key to being productive during the summer is planning ahead — and planning the details early. This means taking the time to schedule in all of your to-do musts and wishes for the next month.
To do so, open your preferred online calendar and begin by marking off any appointments such as doctor’s visits or haircuts. Also, list things you’d like to get done during that month, such as reorganizing the pantry or meeting up with a friend. You can begin to check off this wish list if you have extra time. Again, it’s things that need to be done but have some more flexibility regarding timing.
Planning ahead and out can look different for everyone depending on your specific needs. If you have a work deadline for next month, mark it in your calendar. Block off time dedicated to working on this particular project in the weeks ahead. If you really need to paint the kid’s bedrooms, put a day in the calendar that you can do this. Also, add a time block for when you will be buying all of the supplies.
A trick to planning ahead and out is giving yourself enough time. Even if you think it will only take you two hours to paint a bedroom, give yourself three or even four hours. This won’t leave you feeling rushed and in a frenzy on the scheduled day. If you get it done sooner, great. You now have more time to tick something else off your to-do list.
2. Share Your Travel Schedule Early
One of the many summertime pros is that people tend to be more relaxed. They feel more at ease and – in some cases – more likely to be flexible with their days. But, of course, summer is also a time when more people are traveling and not in their everyday routines. This may mean colleagues out for a week or two at a time or a nanny or babysitter on a long weekend getaway.
Once you have determined your own summertime travel plans and other priorities, share them with whoever needs to be in the know. This can look like sharing your upcoming PTO days with your teammates a month or two in advance. It can also mean letting your dog walker know you’ll need full-time pet care for that allotted time. The sooner you can let others know of your plans, the easier it will be for you to be more productive in the days leading up to vacation.
Think about it — if you were planning for a neighbor to feed your cat and get your mail while you were away only to find out that they are also leaving on a trip — that puts you in a tough spot. You will spend more time trying to find a replacement than if you had known weeks in advance that you and your “fall-back” person would be gone.
Sharing your online calendar is easier than ever. Many platforms allow you to have multiple calendars for different needs, such as work and home life. For example, you can create a travel calendar with the days marked off that you won’t be home. Then share with whoever in your circle needs a heads up.
3. Start Time Blocking
One trending productivity hack is called time blocking. Essentially, it’s a strategy to batch-specific tasks into chunks of time throughout the day. Then, it segments your day by the items you must accomplish that day. It’s useful for those who feel they switch from one task to another without finishing anything. It’s also great for those who feel like their workdays are spent responding to others instead of working on their agenda items.
Let’s say you are a cookbook writer. You could test recipes in the morning, hop on a client, test that recipe again, check some emails before dinner, and then cook dinner. Instead, you may end the day thinking that you didn’t really get much done. It’s hard for your brain to switch seamlessly from one task to another.
A better approach would be to do all your recipe testing in a chunk of time, such as in the morning. Then in the afternoon, you could designate your time for responding to emails, taking calls, and conducting interviews. Alternatively, you could designate days for cooking and days for computer work. This is all considered time blocking.
Start by utilizing your online calendar if you want to give time blocking a chance. Then, portion out each part of your day – from the moment you get out of bed until the time your head hits the pillow. This gives you complete control over what you will accomplish and during which period. Again, don’t rush yourself and ensure you have ample time for each task.
Just because it’s summertime doesn’t mean your productivity needs to go out the window. With help from your online calendar, you can go into the summer months knowing what you need to get done. However, don’t rely on just merely telling yourself to be productive. Before you know it, Labor Day will be here, and the school buses will be rounding the block corner.
Planning ahead is essential, particularly because you (and everyone else) are on a different schedule during this time. This is why it’s essential to be upfront about your travel plans. Time blocking is a great tool to use in the summer and apply all year long once you get the hang of it. All that said, here’s to a restful and constructive summer!
Image Credit: by Andrea Piacquadio; Pexels; Thank you!