Episode 173: Taking Control of Your Summer Schedule
For those of us in the Northern hemisphere, summer is here, and let’s be honest — that’s exciting — and a bit scary when it comes to figuring out how to have fun AND do the work that needs to be done. I get it, so in this episode, we’re going to talk about some specific ways to take control of your summer schedule.
If you’ve listened to this show for a hot second, you’ve probably learned that I take summer very very seriously. I’m all about time off, lake life, and living my best life. But let me tell you, none of that happens by accident. My summer freedom-filled schedule comes as the result of careful, intentional planning months and months in advance.
So, let’s say you’re not a planner, and you’re realizing NOW that you need to take control. It’s not too late; in fact, a few small tweaks can make a big difference and get you out from behind the laptop.
Let’s start by talking about some things you can do today to make your summer go smoothly.
If you haven’t already figured out your summer schedule, decide how many hours per week you want to work. What days will you work? What days will you take off? What changes do you need to make?
Also, you need to tackle vacation too and make sure that’s all lined up. The sooner that’s finalized and locked in, the easier it will be to make sure it actually happens.
Next up, you need to communicate that schedule to your clients. Clearly tell them what weeks you’re taking off, what days you’re off, or any modifications to your availability. Do NOT avoid this; people expect you to take time off, so you just need to be clear and let people know, so there are no surprises.
Keep in mind that it’s not a bad idea to remind them as major blocks of time off get closer. I tend to use a bit of a countdown approach where I tell them six or eight weeks out, then remind them two weeks out. Then, the day or two before, I tell them I’m wrapping up and when I’ll be back. It may seem like overkill, but they can’t claim they didn’t know when you’re communicating constantly.
With that out of the way, there are a few things you can do to make sure you stay on track:
- Have a clear end time each day.
- Embrace the slowness. If you don’t need to be butt in chair, don’t be. Avoid falling into default work mode.
- Extend deadlines or turnaround times to suit your schedule.
- Be realistic and prioritize having a life. Work will be here in September.
- Aim for progress — not perfection. Be kind to yourself.
With the short-term plan handled, let’s talk about how I make sure my summer is set up for success. Now, you may want to laugh, but I did two key things back in December. First, I booked my two weeks off with my family that we will go to the lake. Even if my husband didn’t request that time off until March, it was agreed upon and on the calendar no matter what.
Then I decided what weeks I would work and have calls. For the Double It Mastermind, I planned their calls to fall within three specified weeks and established a plan to reduce my total number of monthly calls for July/August. The other five weeks (two of which are vacation and three of which are flex weeks), I won’t schedule calls if I can help it. I may have a few quick check-ins with agency clients, but like I did last summer, I will batch these, and limit non-essential calls as much as possible.
If that freaks you out — don’t let it. It’s not about me saying no but creating a boundary of when I am available. You’re in control, and there are ways you can make this work for you.
Maybe that’s only having one day a week you do calls or reducing the number of calls that aren’t needed during that time. This is very doable as many people go on vacation and generally don’t want to be on calls as much when it’s nice out.
I rely on my team heavily to make sure I stick to this schedule. Sara clearly knows my priority isn’t work and that we need to build more time into our deadlines and plans over July/August. Part of that too is me being okay with working different hours or scheduling bursts of work as needed to keep things moving. I tend to work more in the evenings or early mornings in the summer, and as long as everything keeps trucking, everyone is happy.
My goal for you is for you to get out there and enjoy summer. It’s short, and there are seasons for work, work, work — and I don’t think this is it. Come December, you’ll be wishing you did all the things when it was nice out, so don’t shortchange yourself. Implement one or more of these tactics to help you embrace your freedom and fun this summer!