Planning an unbusy summer


It’s been awhile. Sorry about that. We moved in May, had family visits, took a Michigan trip and finished up potato planting season. The blog took a backseat for awhile because, #life.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about being busy. At the start of the summer (which was early May for us) I tried to intentionally create a summer of long, warm, easy days for my kids and myself to just enjoy. My plan was to not book a bunch of camps, or activities for them or commit to a bunch of work projects. I thought I’d just do less, plan nothing and my perfect unbusy summer would happen. But yet there I was standing among the chaos of the summer reading program at the library feeling really busy again.

I guess the old saying is true: if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Even if your plan is to just do nothing for a day.

The thing I realized is, if I’m not intentional about how I spend my time, that chest heavy busy feeling will inevitably sneak in to steal my joy. Because that busy feeling is more than just being over booked, its about all the things that are on my mind that I have to do. Becoming unbusy takes more than clearing your schedule and hoping nothing else pops up. It takes planning. (Lame right?) But lets be real, you know you can’t just relax and play with your kids if you’ve got a deadline to meet, or tons of laundry to do or overdue errands to run.

So, if your craving that “free space” you’ve gotta set yourself up for success during the other times. Here are a few ways that I’ve found have helped me feel less busy this summer.

  1. Plan for it. Want a fun day with just your family and no distractions? Clear those distractions ahead of time OR restrict them to only a certain portion of your day. For me it’s planning my work hours from 5-8am so that it doesn’t bleed over into my day with the kids.
  2. Or more like point 1b? Either way…unplug when finished. Put away the laptop, phone, tablet, whatever distracts you from enjoying the moment and staying engaged throughout the day.
  3. Be prepared for the time you want to have. For example, I wanted to take some time to work with Kenzie on her school stuff this summer, you know so she doesn’t forget everything during the nearly 4 months (!) she gets off. So I have to be prepared for this, it’s not going to just happen. I purchased some “fun” pencils and workbooks at the local teachers store so we’re ready to roll whenever we have quiet time during the day.
  4. Make a summer bucket list and try to schedule a few things each week. For me, I wanted to reach the end of the summer and feel like we hit all the things that make summer summer.  Things like hiking, fishing, swimming at the lake/pool, backyard campfires, etc. You get the point.
  5. As much as possible, sandwich your busy days with quiet ones. If you know you’re going to be totally crazy one day this week, stay home as much as possible the day before and after to prepare and recover. Probably not necessary for older kids (?), but for those of us in the trenches with multiple littles (especially newborns and babies) those rest days are lifesaving.
  6. It wouldn’t be a minimalist blog if I didn’t throw this in here… get rid of extra junk in your home. You can seriously cut your cleaning time in 1/2 by doing this. So.Worth.It.
  7. Stop putting so much pressure on yourself to be perfect. I feel like we succeed and fail at all of this daily. The point is we’re trying. And at the end of the summer if we’ve spent 1/3 of it doing what we hoped we would, it’s 100% more than if I hadn’t tried at all.

You see what I’ve realized is becoming less busy isn’t about doing nothing. It’s about creating the space for things that matter in your day. That way you’re not laying in bed at night with that running narrative in your head saying you need to read more, play with your kids, take them to the beach, do family devotions… you get the idea. I’d love to hear your unbusy summer strategies!

1 comment

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  1. Charis

    I love it all! I’m in Australia and we recently had our 2 week spring break. High on the priority list of things to do was have a “home day”, yep that was my kids favourite. Just unscheduled time at home to make do as they please, ride bikes around the street, play handball, swim in the pool, bake, do creative projects and of course video game time (cringe). I figure it’s meant to be a time when they can relax and recharge before heading back to school, I don’t want to over schedule their time off! So now they are in week 3 of their last school term before schools out in December, I can’t wait!


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