Summer has a pace of its own. The weather is hot. I’m in Atlanta and the heat is often accompanied by lots of humidity. So, we move more slowly. I think this is probably true for you, too. Even volunteer organizations and associations take time off. The ones in which I’m involved take a break during the month of July. All of this is to say July is almost over. Some schools here in Atlanta are starting the first week in August. It’s time to restart your routines now that summer is ending.
To me, it feels like summer has at least 6 more weeks to go. I’m from the Northeast and am a former primary school teacher. School doesn’t start there until right around Labor Day. Plus, the weather is still and will continue to be warm (if not hot) until mid-September. While the weather may not indicate summer is over, the fact that organizations and associations get back into the swing of things in August is a clear indicator that it’s time to pick up the pace.
Here are some ideas to help you restart your routines.
Regulate your sleep schedule.
Maybe you (and your children) have not been paying attention to what time you go to bed or get up in the morning. It’s so easy to let children stay up later. It stays light outside quite late (although I’ve noticed that it’s getting dark a little earlier now). We don’t have the trigger of the sunsetting to prompt us to start our evening preparations. If you’re staying up later, it may be harder to get up as early as you need to.
Decide what time is the best time for lights out for you and your children. Start going to bed between 10 and 15 minutes earlier each night until you arrive at the designated time.
Do the same thing in the morning. Get up 10 – 15 minutes earlier each day until you’re getting up at what you’ve decided is the best time.
This way you are slowly returning to your normal sleep schedule and restarting your routine.
Plan your outfits.
Shorts, t-shirts, sandals, bathing suits, and cover-ups are my clothes of choice during the summer. I don’t think about it. I just grab whatever is handy that will keep me cool because I’m in summer mode. It’s time to restart your routine and think about your clothes. If you have children, it’s time to think about their clothes, too.
Make your morning easier by planning your outfit the night before. Look at the weather forecast for the next day. Think about the plan for the next day, the types of things you’ll be doing. Then layout your clothes in the evening. Teach your children to do this, too. This eliminates the need to hunt for shoes or a particular item of clothing. It is all laid out and ready to wear. It also removes the need for any discussion (think argument) about what your children are wearing.
If you have children, help them get into the habit of packing their bag the night before. What is the plan for the next day? Do they have an activity for which they need different clothes or accessories (bathing suit and towel, soccer cleats and athletic clothes, piano book, etc.) Is their school bag packed with homework or signed permission slip?
Teaching them this habit empowers them to think for themselves plus it promotes independence.
Get back in the habit of planning your meals.
When schedules are very fluid, as many are in the summer, it’s easy to plan meals on the fly. If this is what you’ve been doing, it’s time to get back in the habit of planning your meals. If you haven’t ever been in the habit of planning your meals think about the benefits of starting this routine.
One significant benefit to meal planning is that you use ingredients you have in your pantry which saves you money. It also saves time because you shop only once or twice a week. Plus, it reduces anxiety or worrying about what will be for dinner.
Decide which day during the week is best for you to do your grocery shopping. Then plan your meals the day before. Plan meals for a week at a time. Check your pantry before you make your grocery list. You may have some ingredients lurking at the back of the shelf.
Think about having a one- or two-week rotation of menus. When you do this, you know you are making meals your family likes. They can predict that its Taco Tuesday or maybe a roast on Sunday.
Reactivate the family command center.
If you’ve never had a family command center here’s a brief overview which can also serve as a reminder for those who’ve had one, let it lapse, and is interested in restarting this routine.
A typical family command center has a monthly paper calendar, a small portable hanging file holder, a small basket for in-coming papers and mail, a place to house sticky notes, and a pen/pencil holder.
This is the place for everyone in the family to add their appointments and events. It is so helpful to have a physical calendar such as this. Everyone can easily see what’s going on during the week and month.
A portable file holder with appropriately labeled hanging files provides a place for papers to temporarily belong. If you have children, it’s a great place to keep a current class list, a list of babysitters, and the emergency contact numbers – just in case.
I recommend going through the basket and hanging files once a week to move papers through the system. If you have a large family with lots of sports, school, and extra-curricular activities I also recommend restarting (or creating) your routine of having a once-a-week family meeting to update the command center calendar.
As July draws to a close and August begins you may find yourself wanting to create some of these routines or restart your routines before the frantic energy of the fall is truly upon us. Read through my suggestions and pick the ones that either appeal to you or apply to your family. Maybe this has prompted you to think about how you structure your day and a routine you’d like to restart. Reach out to me if you’d like in-person or virtual organizing assistance.
Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer® ,a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, Master Trainer and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC and co-owner of Release●Repurpose●Reorganize, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia. She specializes in residential and home-office organizing and in working with people affected by ADD, Hoarding, and chronic disorganization.