For most of our millennial audience warmer weather still incites memories of the lazy summer days of childhood and inspires a more relaxed attitude. Generally speaking, Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of a season where many Americans occupy a recess state of mind. Time is a valuable resource and the longer days of summer make us feel like we have more of it. So what should you be doing with more “off” time this summer? If you want to maximize your time during the months of June - August, you’ve got to start planning now. Whether you are working or living a student life or both, these tips will help you feel good about how you managed your off time this year.
1. Schedule a real work-free vacation and stick to it. For the entire five years I spent in graduate school I only planned two actual vacations where I took a break from all of my professional/academic obligations. My faulty thinking was that I could catch up or even get ahead if I limited the time I took off. Working within these extreme parameters cost me more in the long run because I would inevitably hit a point of exhaustion each year that was often accompanied by some type of illness. One year I was sick for an entire four weeks. When you schedule time to step away from your work (all of it), you give your body and mind an opportunity to rejuvenate. Returning to work fully charged makes you more productive. But when you fail to incorporate vacation time into your schedule you risk illness, your work suffers because of exhaustion, and you are more likely to allow yourself multiple unplanned free days because you’ve been working so hard. Those days may easily add up to more time off than you would have taken had you just planned a vacation.
2. Work on yourself. When was the last time you gave yourself time to work on you? Yes, it is important that you live your life—but it is just as important that you spend time thinking about and designing the life you want to live. The summer months present an ideal time to work on “self” projects that you have been delaying. Carve out some weekly time for meditation or devotion, work with a coach or therapist, or enroll in a personal development program to get started.
3. Build a new habit. Want to really impress yourself this year? Use this summer to develop a new habit. It takes at least 21 days for us to rewire our brains and turn an activity into a habitual practice or routine. Whether its daily yoga, showing up to appointments five minutes early, or changing the way you talk to your colleagues—identity a new ritual you want incorporate into your life and have at it.
Of course, I want to know one thing you’re looking forward to this summer. Drop me a line at email@example.com.