I woke up today and was utterly amazed that it was rapidly approaching the end of June. Tomorrow is the Summer Solstice,the longest day of the year. The days only grow shorter until they reach the nadir of the year on December 21, the shortest day of the year. Yearly mileposts like this always get me thinking about where I have been and where I am going. You should do the same. You might not have the time later in the year.
Take a few moments today to go back over your calendar for the first six months of 2008. Which projects have you accomplished? Which remain to be completed? What deadlines where met, which ones were missed entirely and which ones are rapidly approaching in the second half of the year? Much like today, it will be here almost before you realize it.
If you keep a journal, paper or electronic, look over the ideas you captured since January. Are there any ideas you would like to start implementing? Any forgotten tasks that need to be put on the front burner? In my case, I often find that I spoke with a client about implementing a new system or procedure, but other concerns pushed it out of our minds. This is the time to re-dedicate yourself and get some of these projects back on track.
Finally, get together with friends — something that is fairly natural in the summer — let your conversations spur new ideas and new projects. Sharing our lives with our friends and families is often one of the most productive things we can do.
One of the first items I look at is calendar items for the next 6 months. In many cases, we know what major deadlines are coming many months in advance. It is important to get these into your calendar now, so that they give you a series of mileposts into the future. Even something as simple as scheduling your semi-annual dentist appointment or notating the start date for your son’s school helps to give you a feeling for the rest of the year. Organization expert, David Allen, calls this the “hard landscape” of your life. Some of these events can be rescheduled, but many are outside your control. You need to have them in place so you can think about how you will fit more flexible tasks around them. Also, I know for myself, seeing these items in my calendar as I schedule and plan gives me a feeling for the direction of my work and life. They are gentle reminders of the tasks I need to complete today in order to be ready for tomorrow.
Summer provides us a great time for thinking and planning, as life is usually somewhat slower, unless you are heavily involved in a seasonal business. In that case, Winter Solstice might be your major planning time. For most folks, though, we get a few more minutes to sit in the garden or at the beach, or hover over the barbecue, where thoughts can come to us unhindered. Families are typically together more, so planing for major family events can also be a bit easier. The important part is to capture your thoughts, ideas and plans when they come to you. Keep a journal and calendar near you, so you can jot down ideas, schedule events and generally plan your year in a very casual way.
Taking advantage of the summer months can bring great benefits later in the year when life and business speeds up again. As Fall arrives, school and work get back in gear and simply living our lives can reduce the time for planning and consideration. A little planning now can save you many headaches down the road.
• Start buying holiday gifts now. Don’t wait until the holiday rush is upon you
• Start making holiday gifts now in order to easily complete them in time.
• Plan school milestones for this year. Do you have Science Fair? Senior Play?
• Plan tax-related purchases, etc as you approach end of your fiscal year
• Plan auto maintenance before Winter arrives. Schedule dates now for snow tires, antifreeze, etc.
• Plan and budget for upcoming conferences, business meetings and travel
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