Back to the basics

Have you ever noticed that there are certain times of year that fly by? And other times just drag on forever? Summertime seems to be one of those times – alternately flying and dragging. Mostly flying though.

Have you already gotten summer brain? You know what I mean: it’s hot, it’s mid-July, everyone is on vacation (even those still at work), and it seems like there is no point doing anything because nothing is really going to get done until September.

I was thinking about some work I was doing with a client last year on planning. We were meeting in early June, and school was almost out for her kids. She wanted to create a great plan for the summer – one that allowed her to have a vacation as well as get all the work and other stuff done without being a stressed out maniac.

As we were talking, I started asking about what had to be done to get the kids ready for school in the Fall. At first, she was confused and didn’t even want to talk about that.

After all, school wasn’t even out for the summer yet, and I was asking her about the next school year!

But as we looked in more detail, it became clear that if she didn’t think and plan now for the end of the summer and the start of the school year, she would be that stressed out maniac sooner than she wanted to be.

In early June it can look like September is months away. And it is. But remember, summer flies by and September comes far sooner than we’d like.

By taking a little time right then, she was able to arrange the back to school medical checkups quickly. She also pulled together the rest of the paperwork the school always wants, and which always can’t be found in August.

So, when school let out the next week, she was able to take her summer long vacation with absolutely no concern about what had to be done when she returned. It was already planned, scheduled and would be waiting for her when the time came.

Planning. A schedule that works for you. These are two of the fundamentals I keep coming back to. They establish a foundation on which you can build your business, and your life. Without that foundation, you are building sandcastles. Beautiful to look at, and they can be quite elaborate and impressive. But not stable. Not lasting.

You can get a jump on everyone by taking a little time to refine your plans, to re-define your schedule, to look at how things are getting done.

When was the last time you inspected your foundation?

Shameless plug: I am re-running my Productivity Basics teleclasses in late July and early August. There will be two session on developing a schedule that works, one session on planning, and one session on taking control of your email. Details are available at EVENTS.

In the meantime, have a great summer – but remember – time flies!

(c) 2010, Terry Monaghan

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  1. Life always runs smoother for the family when we fill out our time budget. This helps us to make sure we don’t forget anything important…and not allow wasteful projects to sneak in. Thanks Terry.

  2. Sue Painter says:

    That “horizon planning” as I call it – the older I get, the longer the horizon becomes, even! I feel done with 2010 and on to 2011 in terms of planning ahead. Whew!
    Sue Painter

  3. Summer goes by especially fast! The calendar gets more cramped and we have to really get good at scheduling, don’t we?
    Thanks Terry.

  4. Terry – I love this “she would be that stressed out maniac sooner than she wanted to be” and we can all relate to this. And it’s so much nicer when we plan in advance so thanks for the reminders

  5. Hi Terry great post.
    Robert I love that you and your family have a time budget!
    Heidi Alexandra

  6. Jenny Fenig says:

    You provided a valuable service to your client for sure! What insight you shared with her … must have impacted everyone in her family.

    I agree – you really do want to have a gameplan for your life. Otherwise, it just slips away and you wonder where all the time has gone.

  7. Phil Dyer says:

    Hmmm…stressed out maniac…why is that pushing buttons for me? Great post, Terry!

    I also love the “time budget” comment from Dr. Robert…


  8. Summer Brain!! Never heard that term but love it and will now use it liberally! XOXO, Katherine.

  9. When in doubt always go back to the basics, everything grows from there!
    Thanks for the reminder Terry

  10. Ellen Martin says:

    Great post!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Ellen Martin

  11. Andy Andrews says:

    Thanks for that post! It is amazing how just writing down all you have to do can help. I have noticed that when I write absolutely everything into my to-do list, not only do I get it all done (because it is there on paper), I get it done much faster with less stress, because there is no minute when I am wondering what to do next.

    • ofyl says:

      Thanks Andy – Yes, getting it all written down also frees up your poor mind. It can stop worrying about remembering things and can now focus on the task at hand. I always get a burst of energy and satisfaction when I do that.