Monday Motivation #105 (5/31/2022)
Living with elementary schoolers means that I’m frequently reminded of the difference between theory and practice. For example, my youngest spent a fair amount of time learning about seasons this year in second grade, and has a pretty clear understanding of the differences between winter, spring, summer and fall. Of course, being 8, they also have a pretty rigid understanding of how seasons are supposed to work — in theory. My casual comment about switching to summer wardrobes this weekend was met with a firm: “No, mama! It’s May. That’s SPRING. We can’t have summer clothes until June!” Likewise, my kid is certain that the outdoor pool at our gym will open tomorrow because the sign on the door says that it’s “closed for the season” and as far as he’s concerned there’s a clear dividing line between spring and summer.
Of course, life (and weather) don’t work that way in practice. This weekend was beautiful and summer-y, but we may very well have some cool days in June. Rain doesn’t confine itself to “Spring Showers” and snow often falls in the Fall, at least in Michigan. Experience will teach my kid that weather doesn’t know about our calendars, and that seasonal boundaries are much more flexible than the school lessons make them seem.
Having spent most of the last 25 years at MSU, my seasons follow a more academic calendar: Fall begins in August, Spring starts January 1, and Summer arrives with commencement in early May. (I only experienced Winter during my graduate school years in Ann Arbor!)
As we wrap up May and my end-of-semester to-do list is finally empty, I have a busy summer ahead. In theory, I have plenty of time to accomplish everything on my (long!!) list of summer goals. In practice, I know that the days and weeks will slip away faster than I expect, and that fall classes will start again sooner than I think. I’m spending a lot of time with my calendar and to-do list this week, and generating a summer timeline to help keep everything (mostly) on track. I know that I’ll need to adjust along the way, but taking the time to make a good plan at the beginning helps me figure out the difference between theory (what I “should” be able to do) and practice (what is realistic, and what I need to let go).
This week, I’m sharing some ideas for helping to organize your own summer plans.
Three Things to Try This Week
Make a Plan — there are many different approaches for managing tasks and time, and what works for one person (or project) might not be a good fit in other circumstances. This website has a variety of tools, examples, and suggestions for understanding what needs to be done, and making a plan to reach your goals.
Plan for Fun — building in regular breaks to your daily, weekly and monthly schedules is essential for physical and mental health. Take a mid-morning walk; watch a favorite show during lunch; or plan a game night with friends. Consider these ideas for building a little fun into your summer.
Try a New Approach — summer is a great time to try out new methods of organizing your time and tasks. Even if you end up returning to your current routine, trying a different approach can help change your perspective or add some novelty to a routine project. This review discusses the results of one experiment in to-do lists.
- Need a quick break? Enjoy the Sea Otters at the Monterey Bay Aquarium: https://www.facebook.com/5835757481/videos/4658633710821425
- Want to start (or jumpstart) your fitness routine? Check out the resources available through SPARTANfit: https://health4u.msu.edu/resources/spartanfit-program
- Summer means farmer’s markets and cookouts! Try some new recipes to “spice” up your meals: https://www.buzzfeed.com/hannahloewentheil/affordable-summer-recipes