As I write this, it’s the height of summer and the kids are all breaking up from school. Although this no longer applies to my kids, I’m married to a teacher & uni is out, so it’s kind of the same thing. This How To Guide appears to be about Summer specifically but you could probably apply the tips to anytime during the year when distractions/major holidays are coming up.
So here we are – just on the edge of change. Maybe you’re trying to fit in a holiday for you and need to work out how to plan that in. Perhaps it’s your busiest time of the year and everything else in the business falls by the wayside. It could be that you’re a bit like me and the house suddenly fills with extras (or completely empties out without notice) so all routine is abandoned, the fridge is either full or empty, & despite your best efforts, you are living with folks who are on school/university holidays vibes.
Either way, summertime can be a challenge as we negotiate changing routines, unexpected weather, missing clients or busy times. So, here are some tips and reminders to help you weave a path less stressful.
Make an emergency plan
Mine looks a bit like my revision timetables circa 1989, but whatever works for you. When I know an intense period of time is approaching, out come the coloured pens, the long ruler and a highlighter! I plan in the non negotiable stuff like dog walking/yoga etc, basic book keeping/accounts stuff (corp tax is payable on 1st of August!) and meetings/workshops etc. I also build in 'flex' time which I can use when I can guess family life might spill over. For most of August, this means a 4 day working week. This shiny, colourful grid then goes in the KITCHEN (not the office) as a reminder to both me and the family. Blimey it feels good when it's done!
Create your own routine where you can
This kinda means using the emergency plan above! In my case, I know that my lot will sleep late (or go to holiday work super early) so I have a new window when I can breath, work, stretch, plan or simply have a brew in peace. I rejig my meetings to suit this new pattern. This new routine only lasts until September but it's really calming to have it. If this is your super busy time of the year, then create a new routine that fits - it could be that you have busy mornings and later afternoons but take an extra long lunch. Don't forget to SHARE this routine with others so that you set some nice new boundaries they understand.
Set some Autumn (or next season or quarter) goals now
There's nothing like getting the whirling ideas out of your head and onto paper/screen. For me this means a plan for recruiting to the club, a plan for the podcast season 2 launch, new Meet Up dates and the run up to Christmas campaign. There may only be bones just now, but I know the dates, times and content ideas now which avoids being spat out of the end of August bleary eyed and confused. Goals can move of course, but they can also anchor us when we feel distracted.
Content plan...a lot.
When chaos or change invades our businesses, we need to find calm wherever we can get it. For me, this means content planning. If I am hurtling through a full diary week, invariably social or email writing can take a hit. So...whip out your 5 pillars of content (How To Guide available in archive), create some summer themes and maybe September too, so that you can bank up images, videos and plans now.
Take some time off
I find the summer 'energy' is quite tiring. It's a fun time, especially if we're blessed with good weather, but making sure you have a break ahead of the big run up to Christmas is important. Your audience will be expecting your business to take a break and it's ok to sign off from social for a week or even two. Maybe just plan to post a few stories while you're away from social. Even if you don't sell Christmas stuff, the last quarter of the year is a biggie, so rest, prep and you'll be much more focussed and energetic for the Autumn.