Think back to your childhood. Do you remember the excitement you felt on your last day of school--the day when you signed year books, wrote "H.A.G.S." (Have A Great Summer) and then parted ways? That excitement provided your younger self with motivation to make the most out of each moment you weren't in school. Now that you're an adult, and work is never-ending, you are responsible for creating the fun experiences that will propel you to achieve your goals.
To maximize your productivity and increase your happiness this summer, you need to pretend that you're designing your own summer camp. You need to create a structure that will provide you with the activities--both fun and serious--that will help you grow as a person and professional.
Read the list below to discover the 10 simple tasks all successful people do during summer.
1. Use your self-awareness to schedule an optimal work-life balance.
This takes time and practice, but if you know your tendencies, you can maximize your productivity. If you tend to become more social in the summer, try holding yourself accountable for working prior to meeting up with others. If you tend to become a recluse, build a schedule that asks you to reach out to others.
2. Prioritize time to network with colleagues and catch up with important friends.
Build your network and make time to relax with people that bring you other types of value. It's important to use this time to focus on both aspects of yourself--your career and your personal life. The more you can attend to both--especially while other people are feeling social--the better.
3. Schedule activities that you can't do during other months to boost your energy and refresh your mind.
If you don't live in a state with consistent excellent weather, go outside! Your mind benefits from different types of stimulation than its used to, which is one reason the change of seasons can be beneficial.
4. Push yourself to do activities outside of your comfort zone for maximum growth.
Summer camps aren't always easy--they push you outside of your comfort zone and ask you to try new things. Challenge yourself to take actions or engage in activities that you would typically avoid so that you can overcome your fears and expand your comfort zone. Doing so will boost your confidence and your mental strength.
5. Value your long-term health by abstaining from unhealthy eating and drinking routines (and exercise regularly).
The summertime can be a trap when your social group suddenly becomes more focused on unhealthy habits. Instead of following suit, try to practicing healthy habits. Make sure that you exercise consistently so that you can spend your summer feeling your best.
6. Maintain a consistent sleep-wake cycle to build sustainable energy and increase emotional stability.
Consistent sleep schedules synch circadian rhythms that give you energy and improve your mental stability. People who value their sleep are typically more productive during the day and, due to their regular sleep, feel better over longer periods of time.
7. Make time for creative play to use different parts of your brain.
Connect to art or music this summer. Do activities that you typically don't so that you can use parts of your brain that you haven't connected to in a long time. This one task--doing something creative that you typically don't--is an easy way to guarantee increased creativity (and perhaps a moment of joy).
8. Schedule moments of downtime to completely disconnect from all electronics to completely recharge.
Start each day free of electronics, or pick a day to go off the grid. While an hour won't have the same benefits as an entire day (or more!) without electronics, your mind needs to have down time. This time isn't wasted! It actually helps you clarify thoughts, feelings, and values that you may not typically notice while constantly connected.
9. Re-evaluate your current habits to see if they align with your values and long-term goals.
One of the most important tasks of summer is measuring your progress. Assess whether or not your behaviors are aligned with your values--appreciate the actions that are and modify the things that aren't. Don't wait until New Years to get back on track--every second counts.
10. Practice gratitude for the small things that make each summer unique.
You're not perfect, and you're never going to be. Allow yourself to spontaneously indulge in something that's not "productive" and "professional," just make sure you hold yourself accountable for your long-term goals. Keep coming back to your values and ensure that your behaviors and your schedule are going to help, rather than hurt, your mission.
Remember, that small excited child still exists within you. Make sure that they are allowed to have some fun, expand their comfort zone, and make the most out of a happy, enriching summer camp.