Sunday, 16 June 2013

Preparing for the summer

As soon as my son went back to school after half term it suddenly dawned on me that the summer holidays are now rapidly approaching.  The last few years I've always found myself dreading summer, because as much as I love spending time with my son (James) trying to do that and continue to work 50-60 hours a week is impossible.

I end up feeling guilty when I work because I'm not doing things with him, and then distracted when I'm out with him because I know there's loads of work to do.  I blow too much money taking him on big days out to make up for the days I'm too busy to do much with him. Then by the end of the summer I'm run down and ill from all the stress and broke from all the money spent!

My little monkey at the beach last summer (wet & windy weather of course)

So I've decided that this year will be different.  I started planning a month or so ago in the hope that I can have a stress free enjoyable summer this year.  So how am I hoping to do it?

 - I've spent the last few weeks writing content for the site for the summer and getting it on in draft so all I need to do is click a button when I need it.

- I plan to write a few posts for the blog and save them in draft, or schedule them for the summer.

- I've started scheduling social media updates for the summer, and will do the more time sensitive ones (ie. new offers, news, competition etc) each weekend when my husband is off work or evenings when my son is asleep.

- I'm going to plan and write up all the competitions for the summer so they are ready to go on the site when needed.

- All magazine work which is due in July/August or start of September will be written in the next month and submitted so I have no deadlines to worry about.

- I will not be doing any social media/SEO training except for one local job, and not visiting any shows over the holidays. 

- I've arranged for my brother to have James for 1 week of the holidays so I can write the first section of my book.  He has kids the same age and lives right by the beach so James loves going there.  I have no family nearby for help on a day to day basis so this works out best.

Exeter Quay where we go for a day trip each summer

As for activity wise and keeping control of the budget when taking James out I'm working on a list of activities split by budget:

 - Under £5 eg. local parks, museums, visiting friends/having friends over, library, bike rides
- £5 - £10 eg. swimming, soft play, bus or short train trips, cinema
-  Over £10 eg. Zoo, aquarium, longer train trips, expensive kids play places

The plan is to try and pick one from each list per week and if we end up having a big expensive trip one week then stick to the lower budget options to following week.  Fingers crossed this means I'll end the summer with my bank account and sanity intact!

The main thing I can't control or pre-schedule is the e-mails, I get around 50 most days and it will be hard keeping on top of those.  I will have to accept that I can't reply to all same day and prioritise them to work through them in the evenings and at weekends.

Do you have any tips you can share with me?  Do you think my plan will work? Please do let me know in the comments below.

UPDATED - I just realised there's no plan in there for the housework...ah well! ;-)


Cazzyline said...

Sounds like a great plan. Maybe you could automate your emails a bit, draft stock responses for faq, automatically reply to incoming emails saying it might take a couple of days to respond. Though these are tips I've read on other sites, I've never had that many emails!

Flying Blind... said...

It sounds like an excellent plan - I hope it works! The emails are the killer I reckon, as I always feel so guilty for not replying quickly.

I am planning to have at least a couple of days per week over the summer where I just blog a 'picture of the day', stitchy or otherwise and leave it at that.

I am hoping the kids, 6,6 & 8 will entertain themselves some mornings, so I can do a mix of the boring and creative. But best laid plans and all that!

QuiltCandy said...

Sounds like a great idea to plan for the summer now. I really should too but I'm so busy now that I can't think that far ahead! When I was working as a primary school teacher the summer hols were great, and sooo much needed but now as a parent, I think they are far too long!!! Anyway, I hope all goes well with your pre-planning and that you have a stress and guilt free summer :-)

Nicole said...

It sound like a good plan, it is very tricky to juggle work and kids during holidays. I hope all goes to plan for you :-) We're going abroad this year, no phone, no computer, no emails...everything gets put on hold. I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to it :-)

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great plan:) I have only one summer hols so far, which was a lot less stressful than I thought it would be, consequently I am far too laid back about this year! I really like your idea of budgeting the activities. My Mum used to save up over the year ready for the summer hols, which is a great idea (not that I have implemented it!). I think I love play dates best so I get bit of adult chat time too:) Vicky

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