A couple of months ago over lunch, a friend and I made plans to get together this summer to brainstorm this idea that had mulled around in my brain for years. “I think you’re on to something here,” he’d said, encouraging the tiny spark to flicker brightly once again.
While I would have loved to get him on board and make some headway in turning this idea into something tangible, I filed the “get together this summer” comment in the same faraway place where all the other this-summer-let’s-do conversations ended up—never to be heard from again.
So I was totally blown away when in mid-May he called and announced, “Let’s get those brainstorming sessions on the calendar. You mentioned Wednesdays are good for a long lunch, right?” I mumbled something unintelligible, too stunned to form a coherent sentence. Undaunted, he continued. “Sorry I didn’t call sooner, but I saved every other Wednesday. I figure by the end of summer, we’ll be ready to make a presentation.”
Now words really failed me. But somehow the conversation had continued. The proof now stared back at me from my calendar in two-hour lunch blocks on half the Wednesdays through June, July, and August that bore the notation “lunch w/Brian”.
That first Wednesday, I not only picked up the lunch tab but thanked him profusely for making time for me in what had to be an incredibly busy summer schedule. After all, whose summer schedule wasn’t busy?
“Yeah, we have a lot going on. But this project is important to me.”
“Aren’t you coaching Little League, too? I don’t know how you fit everything into your schedule. Summers fly by so fast that it seems like I blink and it’s over.”
And then he shared his secret to making every summer the best summer ever: get it on the calendar.
“Used to be like that for us too. All these hopeful plans that never came to fruition. Then a couple of years ago we got serious about planning our summers. Now in early May—actually started in April this year—we grab the calendar and begin plotting out all the stuff we want to do. The fun things like outings to the zoo and the kids’ games as well as the not-so-fun stuff like painting the deck. We try to knock out all the major chores around the house by the end of May, so we have more time to enjoy summer.”
I’m sure my mouth hung open in a most unflattering pose as he detailed how the calendar had become their secret weapon for making the most of the summer. And thankfully, he shared some awesome time-saving tips that help them squeeze every spare minute out their summers.
- His wife does a huge grocery stock-up the first week of June to cut back on all those annoying emergency runs to the store.
- He hires a couple of teens from the neighborhood to help with the major lawn care.
- They established a family chore time that has incentivized the kids to pitch in because when the job’s done, they take a family bike ride to get ice cream.
- They offer double allowances to any child willing to take on additional, age-appropriate household responsibilities that free up some time for mom and dad.
- Each family member gets to suggest an outing for the family to enjoy together.
On the way home, I swung by the office supply store and purchased a calendar with huge blocks for writing in summer activities. Then after dinner, I called our first “best summer ever” calendar planning session.
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