Summer is hard.

At least it is for me. With all three kids playing ball, four nights of my week get spent at the park. With summer heat comes more barn work to keep our show cattle cool and comfortable. As soon as the calendar hits June, vacations get in the way of scheduling meetings. It gets harder and harder to keep my head in the game and I’m sure I’m not alone. If we aren’t careful we can fall into the terrible trap of the summer slide.

You know what I’m talking about; the constant vacation mindset that keeps us from moving forward and has us existing rather than creating. The summer slide is a very real thing and if we aren’t careful it can kill all of the momentum we’ve been building the rest of the year. Here’s my formula for avoiding it:

Keep Writing It Down

Writing down my goals every day helps me connect what I’m doing every day with the future that I’m working for. Not everything that has to be done is always pleasant, but keeping in mind my future helps me push past the discomfort. I also find it helpful to focus on what I want every day rather than just letting things happen. To avoid the summer slide, I keep writing down my goals and I find more focus.

Keep A Schedule

Blocking out the entire day to make sure that every minute is being used for its best purpose isn’t sexy, but it’s effective. The reason it works lies in the old saying that what gets scheduled, gets done. it’s tempting to let our schedules slide and let things just happen. This is the strategy most people use on vacation, but it’s not very effective when it’s time to work. Make a schedule and stick to it, it’s a great way to avoid the summer slide.

Set Daily Targets

The reason I love daily targets is that it is a great way to keep score. You either did it or you didn’t. It is simply the most effective way to measure our effectiveness throughout the day. Every morning, after I write my goals down, I pick three big targets for the day that will move me closer to those goals. Some are easier than others, but at the end of the day, I know if I did it or not and that keeps the slide at bay.

Embrace The Season

Lastly, the best way to avoid the summer slide is to recognize that it exists and embrace the fact that things won’t be as simple as they are during the other three seasons. There are many things about life that we have the power to change, but the season isn’t one of them. Instead of looking at all of the challenges that summer creates, I find it helpful to focus on the opportunities that I have because it’s here, like watching my kids do something they enjoy. Embrace the season and avoid the summer slide.

For me and many others, summer is hard. There are so many obligations, distractions, and challenges that make me yearn for October, but when I write it down, keep my schedule, hit my targets and embrace the season, I am able to, for the most part, stay off of the summer slide. Good luck avoiding it too!

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