I spend a lot of time talking about strategies that help you get on top of things at work and move your business forward. And it makes sense, because people’s time management and productivity challenges are usually centered around work. 

But I don’t want you to lose sight of the bigger picture of why it’s so important to master your time management plan. As I talked about in my last blog about using your calendar to create more joy, taking control of your time is really about living the life you crave.  

Time management is about your whole life, not just your work life. 

Hopefully you find your work meaningful and rewarding. But so many of the things that give us meaning and fulfillment and joy happen outside of work time.  

Things like spending time with family and friends, even if you’re just sitting around in the backyard. Traveling somewhere new and having time to explore it at your own pace. Volunteering with an organization that you passionately support. Getting lost in a book, playing music, taking a long walk in the woods, watching your favorite sports team play, cooking something delicious… whatever it is that you look forward to doing when work is done, those are the things that I want you to always have time for.  

Those kinds of joyful, personally fulfilling activities tend to get back-burnered when work is busy, unless you’re intentional about three things:  

  • First, getting really clear about what activities are personally meaningful for you. 
  • Second, carving out time in your daily and weekly schedule to enjoy those activities.  
  • Third, using your time management tools to protect that scheduled time so you don’t end up letting work bleed into it.  

As you look ahead to the summer, don’t underestimate the importance of that first point.  

We all want to have “the best summer ever.”

Or at the very least, a fun and rejuvenating summer. But what that looks like is different from person to person. Some people want to spend every summer weekend in a boat with a cold drink in hand; others want to fill their days with activity. You might want to spend your summer working on the passion project you never seem to get around to. Most likely, your dream summer includes a little bit of lots of different things.  

Creating a summer bucket list forces you to get specific about the ingredients for your perfect summer. Do it right now, while you’re thinking about it. What activities and/or experiences do you want to have before this summer is over? What are the golden moments that you want to enjoy this summer? 

They can be little moments, big stretch goals or anything in between. It’s your list! If “go out for ice cream at least 20 times” is something that would bring you joy this summer, no one’s going to judge. 

Your summer bucket list can be as long as you like, but I’ll challenge you to include at least 5 items. Make sure they’re both actionable and achievable. Ideally, by Labor Day you’ll be able to cross off everything on that list and have a summer’s worth of amazing memories to enjoy.  

3 Tips for Making Your Summer Bucket List 

1 – Look back on last summer

What were the highlights and lowlights? Did you make any mistakes that you want to avoid repeating? If last summer seems like it was a million years ago, do some digging. Scroll through your photo album, check old journals/calendars and talk to your loved ones to trigger memories about how you spent last summer. Was there something you had planned to do and never got around to? What activities brought you the most joy? Think back even further to pre-pandemic summers to create a list of the things that you most love doing this time of year.   

2 – Tie your summer activities to your larger meaningful goals...

By all means, your summer bucket list should include some items that are just about enjoying yourself and your summer. But the beginning of summer is a great time to check in with yourself about your big-picture goals. The year is half over—where do you want to be with your goals when the year is three-quarters over? Are there steps that will move you closer to your meaningful goals that you can take this summer? 

3 – Make joint bucket lists with loved ones...

It’s easier to follow through on your goals when you have the support of the people around you. That’s true with difficult goals, and with fun summertime goals too. Ask your partner, kids and closest friends what they would include on their own summer bucket list. When you have list items that overlap, make a solid plan to do those things together. For example, if you and your best friend both want to enjoy more live music this summer, set a date within the next few weeks to go out and hear a local band play. Put it on your calendar right away so it’s booked.  

As much as I want you to enjoy plenty of personal time this summer, I know that work won’t stop. You’re going to need your time management and productivity systems in place so you can get the most important things done at work and enjoy your off time without worrying about your to-do list. 

If you want more support creating the time management strategies that let you have the best summer every, join me for Time Matters Boot Camp 90-Day virtual program! This boot camp is designed to help you take control of your time so you can get everything done at work and in your personal life. You’ll start putting these tools to use right away but they’ll stay with you long past summer. We start June 6th! Click here for more information and to register.


Sarah Reiff-Hekking