January promotes “New Year, New You,” March and April urge “spring cleaning,” and autumn takes you “back to school”—all perfectly fine times of the year to reassess your goals and get your life in order.
But what about summer?
Just because many of us (including yours truly) consider it the most fun, free-wheeling, lovely time of year—perfect for boozy outdoor brunches, holidays on the water, backyard barbeques, festivals, and showing off all the cutest outfits that can only be worn in the warmest months—doesn’t mean you should abandon organisation like so many wool sweaters. In fact, this is a perfect time to get your sh*t together and get the most out of the best season.
As both an organizational expert and someone who loves summer more than Harry loves Meghan, here are my top tips:
A last-minute getaway has its merits, but the benefits of a long-planned summer excursion are many. First of all, the sooner you book those tickets for a weekend in Rome, the sooner you can start looking forward to your trip. Science says that the anticipation of a positive experience is as happy-making as the experience itself.
Second, the longer you have to plan, the longer you have to save up and then enjoy yourself without a black cloud of credit card debt casting a shadow over your vacation. Put away five pounds a day in July, and by mid-August you’ll have enough to say Arrivederci to the tube and Buongiorno to an authentic aperol spritz.
Make every minute count: Summer is such a precious commodity, it would kill me to waste it being late—whether to the beach, a cruise down the Thames, or Act I of Shakespeare in the Park. But then again, I’m a very punctual person. Are you? If not, my guess is that’s because you don’t have a solid idea of how long it takes you to do things like “getting ready to go out” or “leaving work—which is why, in my Get Your Sh*t Together Journal, I give you space to write in a daily task and then record how long it takes you to do it, every day for a week. This will help you see the truth in numbers, i.e. in the minutes (or hours) you spend doing things you may have previously thought took much less time. Get your sh*t together and never miss the boat again. (Or the opening lines of Hamlet.)
Work the “Must-Do Method”
Not everything on your long, unwieldy to-do list must get done today, right? If you instead prioritize your tasks based on urgency—i.e. what needs to get done today versus what can wait until tomorrow (or the next day)—you’ll significantly reduce your overall workload. And that gets you out the door in time to enjoy a Happy Hour tapas platter well before the sun sets on a perfect summer evening. The best part? If you start using my Must-Do Method now, you’ll be in great shape whenever things get crazy at work, or during the holidays and other times when you have a lot going on. Just stop, look at your to-do list, move the stuff that must get done ‘today’ to the top, and save the rest (and your sanity) for later.
Good things come to those who delegate
Whether it’s a Roman holiday or just a three-day weekend in Southwold, taking a summer vacation means leaving real-life behind for a bit. You’ll enjoy your trip so much more if you can come to terms with the work (or kids, or cats, or other responsibilities) you’re leaving behind. Appoint a trusted substitute to handle things in your stead—and offer to do the same for her when the time comes, or at least bring back a bottle of Aperol for her troubles.