Another summer holiday for the children, and another few weeks where I have stepped away from the keyboard, thrown my lot in with the little people and spent a summer that has been luxurious and enjoyable in the amount of time we have spent together.
Counting myself very lucky to be able to do this, at the same time it takes me a couple of weeks post-holiday to refocus and revisit what I want to be doing with the time I have to invest in the business, and to spend with clients of the business.
My car is still scattered with the last bits of the summer’s sand, the garden is filled with stones and driftwood garnered from beaches, and my pencil has a Disney message, but it is well past time for me to get back to work.
It is a planned stop, and should work come in over the break I would of course fulfil deadlines for clients, but without that external pressure, the availability to enjoy simple fun is so precious and will be time that I, and I hope the children, will remember and enjoy in years to come.
But I will admit that it is a mistake to entirely stop, and that is never more true than when it comes to starting again. Had I not stopped I wouldn’t have had the free time to do little but have fun with the children, and so I am now trying to plan that crucial working in the business and balance that with client work that is done for the business.
It is with not a little shame that I look at the empty pages of this blog, and the gap from the last truly useful post is not inconsiderable. And while I have a chance to revisit and refocus, I am also facing overwhelm as I try to catch up.
So here’s what I am doing to fix my big mistake of the summer:
- Timetabling: working out what time I have where and being strict with the time I have to complete the tasks I need to do;
- Identifying small windows of ‘dead time’ that I can fill with something useful and repetitive, to save me time when I get a chance to concentrate on a task for longer, not cluttering blocks of time with smaller tasks
- Avoiding distractions: switching off email, phone and internet when I need to focus on a task that doesn’t need these
- And as I work from home, resisting defaulting to household tasks when what I should be doing gets hard
- Rewarding myself when I have completed a task that looked difficult at the beginning, but that I have achieved by following these rules
- Better planning of my time so that I can achieve the priorities and not sweat things that aren’t really needed
By adopting these behaviours over time, I am hoping to set myself up with a routine which becomes a habit – whether that might take 21 days, 66 days or a year (dependent on what you read about habit setting) – and which can then be adjusted to accommodate school holidays without a flat-out standstill. Above all I am looking to make this still flexible enough to skip off and take some holiday time without disruption.
How are you feeling after the summer break? Are you back in the swing or did you never stop? And how did you achieve the balance that works for you? I would love to hear how you handle the long summer holidays, leave a comment below.