Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Surviving Chaotic June

Ahhhh, June. The month of graduation parties, family gatherings, weddings, showers, Father's Day and the end of the school year. It seems that for many people, the month of June brings a chaotic schedule and jam-packed social calendar that can be overwhelming. After a particularly busy few weeks, I am taking a quiet moment to reflect and take a proverbial "deep breath" and thought I would share some ideas and tips to help folks survive the mayhem of the season:

1) Clear the clutter on your calendar. If you're feeling overwhelmed by family commitments and party invitations, consider what is most important and where you get the most return for your time investment. Are there things looming on the books that can wait? Reschedule routine appointments - your teeth can wait another month for cleaning, and you can skip a book club meeting if you're feeling tapped out. Plan regular social engagements like lunch with the girls for later in the summer. It's OK to decline invitations or take a rain check if you can't fit something in.

2) Delegate, delegate, delegate. Are errands and a long "to do" list keeping you up at night? You probably don't need to be the one to do it all. Can another parent handle driving to soccer practice, and you do the next week? Maybe your spouse can pick up a few extra errands or your neighbor would be willing to grab your dry cleaning when they go to get theirs. You can return the favor or do something else in return when things calm down.

3) Make lists. Even if you are not usually reliant on lists, the act of writing things down can empty your head of little nagging items, and you'll be less likely to forget that graduation greeting card or cashews for Dad when you are out and about.

4) Take advantage of waiting times. Keep a folder in the car with things to read or notes to send and use downtime at the car service shop or salon to knock a few things off of your list.

5) Let go of the need for perfection. If you're throwing a party, remember that it's more important that you have the energy and time to spend with guest than if the fence is freshly painted. Don't go too crazy trying to make everything perfect. Chances are, your guests will remember more about their interactions with you than the minor details.

6) Communicate with the family. Make sure everyone is clear on schedules, commitments, and plans so that there are no (or at least fewer) surprises.

7) Schedule downtime for yourself - and stick to it. Build in time for relaxing activities so that you have the energy you need to get through the month.