Tips for a Structured Summer

Summer is winding down, and local schools are gearing up for a new academic year. I'm readjusting to the New Orleans heat after a family trip to France (that's me on the Seine!). Let's end the summer on a high note! It's not too late to establish a structure for you, your child, or your family in order to be productive before the new school year.

Start with some summer goals. First, make a list of everything you NEED to have accomplished by the end of the summer. (When does “summer” end for you? What date exactly?) Then make a list of everything you WANT to have accomplished by the end of the summer. Estimate how long it will take to accomplish each task on the list.

You might have to break up some tasks into small chunks. For instance: one hour per chapter of required reading, or forty-five minutes for the outline and intro of an essay. Some tasks might repeat, like twenty minutes of guitar practice four times a week.

Plot out the tasks from your NEED list first, then fill in the WANT tasks where you have time. Don't forget to take the rest of your family’s activities into account, such as dinners and vacations. There are all kinds of planners, apps and calendars out there. Find one that works for you!

Check off your progress and reward yourself. If you didn't manage to accomplish a task, ask yourself what prevented you from doing it. Be generous with yourself, remove the obstacle to get back on track, and celebrate your end-of-summer success.