6 Ways to Use Your Summer Vacation Time Wisely
If you have a feeling of “time flying”, it either means a serious lack of planning and getting organized, or you’re really enjoying this time. Ironically, while this feeling may simply result from poor time management, occasionally poor time management can make you happy – when you just go by improvising along the way, or spend a day relaxing and not doing much of anything. Just don’t let it become the habit, or a typical excuse.
Whatever the others may complain about when mentioning that time flies, remember that you are the pilot. You don’t want to end up regretting your summer vacation time flying very fast (even though you may have enjoyed it!) So, despite a strong wish to ditch any kind of time management for the summer, some planning, lists and discussing your plans with family members might be useful. With a myriad of fantastic opportunities summer can hold, and everybody getting excited over packing their bags for travel, family picnics, beach or other kinds of “fun in the sun”, you will probably have periods and needs that don’t exactly fit the description of leisure hours. So consider some things you usually don’t have – what is it? – motivation, energy, persistence, or simply time for.
1. Get outside and exercise more
While multitasking is what we want to forget for the summer vacation, some things can overlap very nicely, like studying or reading while taking in the air and the sunshine, or enjoying the shade and cool drinks when it’s best to stay out of the sun. Most activities, hobbies and even chores can be brought outside, but while sorting through a box of clutter, renovating your furniture or getting a new hobby all seem like good ideas, exercise is still the most important thing you can use more time, fresh air and variety for in summer. Even if it’s only walking, natural challenges may include all kinds of surfaces and inclines, which is great and not boring, as compared to jogging on a treadmill.
Another fun form of exercise is gardening: instead of simply performing squats, you can squat and pull out a weed each time, or cut away a dry stalk or flower – and maybe some fresh ones for bouquets to decorate your home. It’s a good reason to start planting flowers and herbs, while having your own spices is simply very convenient, time- and money-saving.
2. Line dry your clothes
From foldable clothes drying racks and old-fashioned lines to even using your hammock for drying bed linens – there are different ways of letting warm air help you with that ever tiring load of laundry. Does it seem like extra work when you could simply use the dryer? Apart from energy saving, drying your clothes outside can save you a lot of time on ironing. If there’s anything I hate more in summer than sweating in the kitchen, it’s ironing. With family and kids, cooking can’t be avoided, but if ironing can be avoided or minimized, it’s just awesome.
3. Take care of your home
It’s wise to use the warm summer weather for washing the bigger items that would otherwise take long to dry – quilts, bedspreads, curtains, furniture covers, bathroom mats, backpacks, ski jackets, etc. You may also feel like changing some of the “clothes” your home is currently wearing to those that are made of lighter fabrics, or delight you with softer color shades for an overall cooling, breezy effect. Tackling some cluttered areas and reorganizing them, or simply getting rid of a bunch of old stuff can also create a feeling of more space and air in your house that is so welcome and refreshing in summer.
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4. Buy more fruit and vegetables
There are always people who will ignore any healthy eating advice and say things like “diets are for losers”. Still, summer is the time when even such people find salads to be a great alternative to boiling or frying, and eating pasta or potatoes. Even the die-hard fans of junk food don’t feel like eating a lot when it’s too hot outside and they mostly feel thirsty, not hungry. So what is this hot weather but a blessing in disguise, helping you to eat less, fill the bigger part of your plate with vegetables, lose weight and have better-looking skin? The sad part is that most people who manage to eat healthier in summer return to their less healthy eating habits and “I don’t have the time” excuses once they are back to their working schedules. Anybody can eat more vegetables and fruit during summer months, but not everybody discovers their full potential.
You can be smarter than that, using your summer vacation time wisely to freeze as much fruit and vegetables as you can, in order to save time and money later. Buy them when abundant and cheap to enjoy homemade jam, juice, ice-cream, cocktails and smoothies, and to save yourself some headache with meal planning when work or school starts. It is fun to use frozen berries instead of ice for cocktails, and you can also freeze pureed fruit in ice cube trays to get perfect portion sizes instead of large chunks or clusters of fruit frozen together. More free time in summer is a great opportunity to master cooking something you’ve been telling yourself you don’t have enough energy or time for. You can learn to make sushi, bread, cookies, fruit jelly, yogurt or ice-cream at home, with a choice of healthier ingredients than the stuff you buy contains. However, try to make healthy eating a habit, not just a seasonal option.
5. Build a habit
This is easy to fail at when you can use work issues, tight schedules, deadlines, or simply being pressed for time and tired as excuses. Summer vacation allows you to take your time, make steady progress through steps and achievements perhaps small, but frequent. Most important, instead of racing through everything and doing things mindlessly, you can slow down and focus on enjoying the benefits of a new habit. Even if you have to push yourself to do something, you can really savor the rewards and the positive changes. Some things are just naturally easier to do in summer, like going to bed and getting up earlier to become a morning person, taking a contrast shower, or developing a habit of running, walking, exercising in the morning.
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Can you imagine a better time for experimenting and introducing something new into your life? From trying out new foods, activities or workout routines to more dramatic changes such as changing your look, interior, wardrobe, or even your job – only your imagination is the limit. Step out of your comfort zone: consider freelancing or blogging, learning a skill, a foreign language, engaging in a sport, volunteering, joining a group or a club. Try something you would have never considered before, or something you wanted to do but kept putting it off.
Whether you are usually delighted or upset with your time flying, make sure you have something rewarding, enjoyable or memorable as a result of your everyday flights. Don’t forget that while we should aim at being less wasteful and more productive with our time, living like you’re always rushed or late to the next airport won’t make you or your family happy. If you can’t detach from such flight mode even during your summer vacation, you may be missing some important things: time for yourself and your family, time to enjoy, savor and indulge, and little breaks we all need to relax. Consider rethinking your schedule to find a good balance, and make it your main goal this summer.