Here’s my epiphany about summers as an adult: We look forward to summers as a magical time, a chance to let loose, live free and enjoy the bounty of life. The reality for many is that the season ends-up feeling more stressful than stress free. Why? 1) We don’t seriously consider what it is we really want to do with our time. We fill our schedules with things that sound fun, that should be fun, sometimes with activities that are actually truly fulfilling, but there is often little rhyme or reason in what we prioritize. 2) We build our schedules without fully considering the true cost of the choices we make. We look at options in absolute terms, but forget that every minute we devote to one activity, is a minute taken from another option. 3) We try to do everything at once. We honor our regular commitments and think we can just cram in the “fun” we believe we “should” be having, because after all, it is summer! The end result, we feel overwhelmed, uninspired, and by the end of the season worn-out and ready for a break.
When you do what’s right for you, it all falls into place:
How do you make time for the things you love without feeling overwhelmed? If you have been following this series on the Best Summer Ever, you have a pretty good idea how to answer that question. It starts with taking a minute to breathe, to stop the frenetic pace of your everyday and check-in with yourself. The next step is to respond to what you discover. Are you fulfilled, summer’s a blast and life is great? Wonderful, live long and prosper my friend, you are a balanced and in tuned individual. If you are like the rest of us – kind of having a good time, but really tired and stressed from trying to fit in that fun, and sometimes not so inspired by the things you are putting in your schedule – then start small. Everyday ask yourself what is one thing you really wish you could do, and commit to it; make it happen. Of course, doing this means you are going to have to give up other activities. So in order to make time the right way you’ll need to start looking at how you are choosing to spend your time. Examine, your schedule, I guarantee there are things you can move around, there is wasted or poorly allocated time. Once you know how much time you actually have to devote to what you WANT to do, then it’s simple make the right choices, and it will all fall into place.
Okay, maybe that not that easy, but it isn’t that complicated. When you focus on what’s right for you, rather than just asking yourself what’s right or what you should be doing, then your options become clear, and you stop wasting time and effort. When you do what is right for you, life becomes really simple. Knowing what to do, or how to prioritize your activities takes some introspection (but you’ve already done that either by working through the Focus Map or a bit more superficially with the exercises from weeks 1 and 2 of this challenge). Committing to what you uncover takes guts, but it ALWAYS pays off, I guarantee it. But don’t just go off of what I say, listen to all these people and see for yourself – I didn’t come up with anything new here – it’s a universal and timeless truth.
Challenge #4 – Fitting it in!
This is the last challenge of the Best Summer Ever series. By now you understand that feeling overwhelmed is not okay. You’ve taken the step of doing nothing two to five minutes at a time. You’ve started trying to fit in the things you really want to do. And you have a good sense of where in your schedule you can start fitting in things you really want or need to do to THRIVE.
This week we’re going to put all your hard work together. Grab that schedule of yours, and let’s build in these activities. After all, it’s not enough to talk about what you want, you have make it happen! Make a list of the activities (work, leisure, social or solitary) that you know you want to have be part of your summertime experience. Once you have that list, actively schedule some of those options in. **Not quite sure what the right for you looks like? You can always grab a free copy of the Focus Map and work on it some more. The Map is a great tool to look at those needs, beyond summer fun, towards life as a whole.
Join the “Best Summer Ever” challenge today and make changes that are right for you in just 4 weeks!
And let us know how you are doing, by posting your thoughts and progress on facebook or twitter using the hashtag #thrivinghumans
** Extra credit: chances are life will get in the way, so be proactive and beat life! List 1-3 roadblocks that could get in the way of all that summertime fun you’re trying to build in.
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