Making the Most of Summer

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, ice cream consumption is on the rise, and the skin on your nose is peeling off after a day at the beach. Ah, summer.

For many, the summer season ushers in relaxation: sleeping in, playing volleyball at 1:00PM on a Tuesday, drinks with those little umbrellas, and road trips. All of that is good and dandy, but eventually, it becomes kind of boring. The 1:00PM Tuesday volleyball sessions get dull, and you find yourself sitting on the couch watching Top Gear reruns until you realize it’s 1:00AM and the popcorn you put in the microwave an hour ago is still there. Let’s face it — if you’re not careful, summer can turn you into a lazy, passive, potato-chip-eating machine. Gross.

Let’s alleviate that. As much as I love and look forward to summer, I still try to keep some of my “groove” and get stuff done. Not only does this keep me ahead of the game, but it helps me feel less meh (lazy, grungy, dysfunctional). Keeping my days somewhat disciplined helps me go to bed fulfilled and less stressed. Plus, I sleep better. Don’t get me wrong — I still camp out on my couch with Arrested Development on for a few hours every now and then, but I make it a habit to still do something productive: read, do my laundry, write a blog post about productivity…

What do I do, then? Inc.com recently posted this article on increasing productivity through little changes, and it’s a great read. What I do is similar to this. On my wall, I keep a white-board with an outlook of 3-4 days with tasks underneath. The tasks range from errands I need to run, to small things like cleaning my room or making a credit card payment. In the corner, I keep a shopping list of things I want/need. As tasks get completed, I cross them off (duh), which is a reward in itself. If something doesn’t get done on the day I assign it, I drag it over to the next day. Then, I have a to-do list for the weekend, as well. It’s shorter, but includes goals (like to finish the book I’m reading, exercise 3x that week, only eat 1 lunch out, etc).

Check out my sweet iPhone photography skillz.

Check out my sweet iPhone photography skills.

Inside my purse, I keep a Moleskin planner and a Field Notes memo book. The planner houses a list of things that need to get done, as well as appointments and due dates. My Field Notes memo book has random notes (phone numbers, ideas, doodles) and my daily reflections. It’s an overview of just how productive my day was.

Once my day has wrapped up, I open my memo book and jot down what I got done, what I need to do the next day, and what I could do differently. For example, on Monday, I spent 2 hours watching YouTube videos (yup), so I made a goal to not watch TV or anything on Tuesday to make up for the wasted time. So far, it has seemed to really increase my daily productivity without being a burden. I honestly do feel more energized, too. Give it a shot.

Now I’m going to catch up on my book. See you later!

– Ruth

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