While summer can be full of lots of fun, managing all those fun activities can be a headache. So, make your summer the best by scheduling the rest of it — now! You and your family can make the most of every moment with logistics out of the way.

Thankfully, scheduling in advance is easier these days than ever before. There’s a wealth of great planning knowledge online in addition to top-tier organization software at your fingertips. Here’s how to schedule the rest of your summer now so you can enjoy family time to the fullest.

Make the Commitment

The first step to scheduling more family time this summer is to commit to prioritizing it as a family. While this may seem obvious initially, think of how easy it is to let that commitment slip away. If you have kids or elderly relatives, there’s a good chance they won’t have many obligations this summer. But as a working adult, not much changes in summer for you personally except the temperature. Therefore it’s easy to let work and other responsibilities take precedence over family time.

So, commit to spending more time with your family this summer. That means accepting that you’ll likely need to take time off from work and other responsibilities. It means choosing to schedule time with your family now, well in advance. It also means saying no to some other, potentially excellent opportunities as they arise. You don’t have to cut off the rest of your life entirely — you may just need to put it on the back burner sometimes.

One way to commit to more summer family time is by talking to them! Drum up the conversation around the family’s summer goals and aspirations. Do you all want to go on one big vacation abroad, or would you rather take a few smaller mini-vacations? How can you include the extended family in the mix, or do you even want to? Keep a list of each individual family member’s priorities with an eye on how to weave them together.

Prioritize Quality of Quantity

The kinds of activities people gravitate toward vary from family to family. Then, the types of activities each individual within a family enjoys vary from person to person. Because of this, you may start planning lots of little activities here and there to appease everyone. You may schedule one weekend focused on playing sports, whereas another is spent in a museum. While ensuring everyone is included is essential, too many disparate activities risk fracturing the family.

In general, if you’re like most families, you want to ensure you enjoy your time together. It’s important to choose the activities that most people will get the most enjoyment out of. This may mean making small sacrifices for more minor or individual-centered activities. Frame this decision in the context of “quality over quantity,” as there are only so many weeks each summer. So it’s important to be realistic and maximize the family’s enjoyment of the time you do get to spend together.

No matter what activities your family chooses, enjoy them and be present as much as possible in each moment. This means putting down the laptop, phone, or console. Set aside modern distractions so you can cherish and savor the moments you have together. Bring a separate camera with you if it means you’ll spend less time on your devices. Attention is the currency of love, so spend yours wisely.

Start Planning

It’s easy to talk about big summer plans and how fun they’re going to be. It’s harder to get cracking on all the logistics to bring those plans to fruition. Thankfully, you’ve already gotten the ball rolling by opening dialogue and brainstorming with your family. Since you’ve been writing down everyone’s aspirations, it’s time to keep them in one place that everyone can see. It’s time to upload your family’s summer plans to a digital calendar.

You want to use a digital calendar over a traditional, physical one for a few reasons. The first is that you can share your calendar with your family so everyone is on the same page. This also allows family members to add and edit the calendar as new ideas arise. It also allows you to merge calendars with anyone else, like your partner or extended relatives. With one extensive merged family calendar, tackle summer planning together rather than placing the responsibility on yourself alone.

If you combine multiple calendars into one, you’ll quickly notice one glaring downside: too much information to parse. It may be hard to clearly understand each calendar item when it all looks the same. That’s why you want to start color-coding each item owned by one person or one sort of activity or location. Figure out what works best for your family, create a pattern, and stick with it. If you want to process lots of disparate calendar information at a glance, color-coding is your best friend.

Pack and Prepare

In all likelihood, some of your summer activities will be far more simple to prepare for than others. If your family does spend that day in the museum after all, there’s little you’ll need to bring beyond your curiosity. However, bigger family outings like entire vacations require much more preparation. Sometimes, making sure everyone is prepared can feel like herding cats. The good news is it can be easier.

You can use your calendar as a project management tool and assign tasks to different people. For example, you could assign your partner to book flights while your cousin researches hotels. Delegating and spreading out the work will take a bit of the weight off your shoulders. And it will also make it easier for everyone to understand what needs to get done and how they can pitch in.

While all this organizational prep is extremely useful, it’s no surprise that consistently bothering people about it can annoy them. So take advantage of your digital calendar’s built-in reminders feature to keep everyone on track along the way. Reminders allow you to set automated messages to ping a device at the specified time or place. Add a custom message, including a checklist, to keep up preparation momentum. These automated reminders will take some of the heat of organizational pressure off you while still keeping people focused.

Reflect and Adjust

And with that, you have nearly everything you need to know about scheduling time for family this summer. However, spending time with family isn’t a one-season priority. It’s both a lifelong obligation and enjoyment. So take some time at the end of the summer to reflect on it with your family.

What worked about how you scheduled and executed your plans this year? What were some of the unforgettable highlights? What didn’t work out so well, and how could it be improved next year? By asking these questions, you open the door for your family to grow and enjoy their time together even more in the future. Celebrate the season’s triumphs while working together to make next summer better than ever.

Featured Image Credit: by Ron Lach; Pexels