The final bell has rung. Goodbyes have been said. The hallways are empty.
Summer has begun. The question is, “Will it be a productive summer?”
You may be a student. You may be an adult whose job is in education. You may be the parent of a school-aged child.
For just about all of us, the end of school and beginning of summer has an impact on our routines. For a huge percentage of our population, summer provides the largest block of discretionary time we will have all year.
So what will we do with it?
Those few weeks will go by like a flash. The back-to-school sales will be in full swing. The first bell of the new year will sound. Students all over the country will complete that first writing assignment of the school year, the one entitled, “What I did during my summer vacation.”
For me, the summer between 1st grade and 2nd was the summer I learned to swim. When the summer began, we started with putting my face in the water and sitting back up. By the time school started I was swimming the length of the pool underwater.
The summer between 6th and 7th grade, I learned to play the flute. In June, I couldn’t get a sound to come out. In August, I could play the entire way through the beginning band method book.
After decades of involvement with school bands, I remember so many cases where a student came back to school in the fall significantly better than they were in the spring. When asked what made the difference, the answer was typically the same: “I practiced every day during the summer.” It’s that easy.
What about you?
What will your story be? What will you do on your summer vacation? How will you make your summer count? What skills have you wanted to learn? What new habits have you wanted to add to your life?
If it’s going to happen, now is the time. You have more discretionary time than you’ll have for the next year. Without some thought, however, August will be here and you will have little to show for it.
- As you think back over your life, what are the summers that are memorable for you?
- The summer you read some classic novels?
- The summer you learned to ski?
- The summer you had that job that helped prepare you for your career?
- The summer you learned a musical instrument
- The summer you took that great trip?
Are you ready to build some memories?
Start by taking a blank sheet of paper and writing your own, “What I did during my summer vacation” letter. Write it as if August is already here. Go into detail. I wrote about this concept here.
Next, turn your well-crafted story into a plan. Take out whatever planning tool you use. Evernote is a great place to trap your thoughts and then refine those thoughts. This blog post talks specifically about planning your summer using Evernote. Start brainstorming the specific steps that will get you from here to there. Put the resulting tasks on your digital task list.
Make the tasks specific. Break down projects into steps you can execute in a single sitting. Assign realistic dates to keep yourself on track.
With clearly worded next steps in the task list, moving towards your goals is interwoven into your day.
Keep the letter you wrote. Reread it once a week throughout the summer. With the letter as your compass and your task list as your road map, you start to see your plans become reality.
Could this be the summer to remember? It’s up to you. What are you waiting for?
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