I have to admit, this is an ironic topic for me to write about. First, because my work hours are cut in half during the summer thanks to the flexibility of DVFBC honoring the fact that I have kids home from school. Therefore, I do actually have more time for balance. Secondly, though, this blog is more than a week overdue! So perhaps I’m not the best at balancing work around summer schedules.
With our kids at home in the summer, schedules can be chaotic. You likely know all too well that those too young to drive need frequent rides to play-dates and outings with friends. Our routines frequently disappear until school starts again. On the flip side, summer forces us to slow down, relax, enjoy sunsets, and spend time with family. Vacations of course are a welcome part of summer. They do however make returning to work and all of the tasks that piled up in your absence difficult to deal with. So how do you balance summer schedules with work?
Personally, I have a hard time with the word “balance.” For me, it affirms the expectation from our society that we should be able to do it ALL and still keep it together. Life for me is not balanced, and I embrace that. It ebbs and flows, like that wonderful tide in Sea Isle City, above, which is my happy place. So for me, it’s more about learning to prioritize what’s most important and necessary. Bills have to be paid. Food needs to be purchased. But in the summer, perhaps the dust bunnies on my hardwood floor can float for an extra day or two if I get invited to a spontaneous lunch at a friend’s house. And, in addition to prioritizing, I have to learn (again and again and again) to extend myself grace when my conscious choices lead to me not finishing every task according to plan.
At work, I have been fortunate to have the flexibility of summer hours. In return, I must stay connected with my co-workers when I am out of the office more. I must be attentive and engaged when I am there. And I must do my best to communicate clearly what I can and cannot accomplish. If I say I am going to do something, I need to have it done. If it is not realistic that a project will be completed by a certain deadline, I must be honest about that and offer an alternative solution.
At either place, at home or at work, at any time of the year, I want to be present. In this era of technology and nonstop stimuli, this can be hard. Summertime can make connecting harder, given the numerous schedules and activities that throw off our regular routine. This article had interesting points about being present. When creating deep connections in our relationships, we can do this by being present in the moment – actively listening, removing distractions, and focusing our attention on the here and now. “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present.”
For this final month of summer, I encourage you to be present. Carve time out to deepen an important relationship in your life, to attend the picnic that you thought you were too busy for, or to go out for ice cream with a family member who you haven’t seen for a while. Do it before fall arrives and work gets back to its regularly scheduled programming. Enjoy the “present.”
I’d love to hear your thoughts on how your business family is balancing work around summer schedules. I invite your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.