Summer has finally arrived on the west coast, and I don’t mean sunny weather…School is out!
Early in my career, I would look at parents with just a bit of envy, wishing I had an excuse to take time off, travel, and embrace the long summer days after their kids’ academic obligations were over. Back then, I spent far too many summers with my nose to the grindstone, with scarcely more than a long weekend unplugged during this season. The thing is, I didn’t need an excuse! And you don’t either.
It took me having kids to realize that I had the power to create a summer worthy of memories without pausing career growth or letting my colleagues down. All it took was a plan – and it starts with the Summer Look-ahead.
I take this time of year to do a 3-month look ahead that goes beyond my weekly Prep-for-Next-Week session. This is a longer-range dive into your calendar, but can still be knocked out in 30 minutes.
How do you do a Summer Look-ahead?
Here are the 6 steps I take each year:
- Identify Work obligations – Do I have any major work events or work trips I need to get on the personal calendar? If yes, I make time blocks to book all the travel and schedule prep-time for any event deliverables. If it’s a go-live or launch, I block some time leading up to it, and time after for the unknown unknowns.
- Plan Vacation/PTO – Do I have at least one fun vacation and/or trip planned? I’m talking a minimum of 3 PTO days coupled with a weekend for a legitimate break from work.
- Block re-entry – After this glorious time off, I make sure to block out the first morning I’m back at work so I can get up to speed with what I missed AND so no one schedules me into critical meetings I won’t have time to prep for.
- Schedule my WFH days – I work in a flexible hybrid environment meaning my WFH days aren’t on a specific day of the week. But if I don’t book them on my calendar ahead of time, it’s highly unlikely they’ll happen as in-person events get sprinkled into the calendar. Do yourself, and your colleagues a favor, and indicate your intent to be remote or in-office!
- Book a mid-year check-in – Have I scheduled a mid-year check-in with myself? My boss? And my mentor? Give yourself the gift of knowing where you stand with annual goals while you still have the second half of the year ahead of you!
- Enjoy some summer Fridays – Unless you already work at a company that gives you a partial or full day off on Friday, now’s the time to book any PTO days you can spare for a few Fridays off this summer to bask in the joy of a long weekend.
Make a plan today to do your Summer Look-ahead this week and get ready for an amazing summer!