Preparing for a Relaxing, Organized and Clutter-Free Summer

Springtime is a season of activity and anticipation. During spring, the view outside my window seems to change everyday. It starts when the bare branches of the trees suddenly seem to get fat and then like magic the leaves appear. The birds are busy flying all over the place and building nests, the flowers start blooming, first the crocuses then the daffodils and the tulips. I know in a week or two we’ll have the peonies. We find ourselves rushing to plant vegetables in the garden before the heat of the summer sets in and we try to wrap up as many loose ends as possible.

When I think about what all the fuss is about it seems that we’re busy getting rid of winter’s clutter and preparing ourselves for summer. Summer seems to be the time that we tend to want to sit back, relax, get away from our normal day-to-day routines and enjoy.

Here in the Northeast it will get hot and muggy and things will slow down. Change and growth will continue but it won’t be as drastic or as obvious. It’s almost like during spring Mother Nature is following a long to-do list. She runs a mad dash and checks off lots of tasks so that she can get ready to slow down, take some time off and enjoy the summer and the fruits (and vegetables) of her labors.

During the summer I sense a need from just about everyone I meet to slow down as well. Sometimes it means that we go away on a vacation, or in today’s economy it may mean just taking a few days at home to relax and get away from the stresses of the normal routine. However what happens is that unless we spend a little time now to check a few things off of our own lists, when it comes time to take a few days off we’re more rushed then ever and either never get around to relaxing or never feel like we deserve to relax.

What I find in talking to my clients is that the more clutter there is the harder it is to relax. Here are a few stories I’ve heard over the last few weeks.

One woman told me about her “relaxing” day at the pool last summer. She got up early and went to pack her pool bag. First, she couldn’t find a clean towel, then she spent half an hour searching for the sunscreen that she had bought the week before, then another twenty minutes looking for her sunglasses and the book that she was reading. She finally got to the pool almost 2-hours later then she planned to, she was frustrated and anything but relaxed.

Another client told me that one of the things he really wanted to do last summer was to have a group of friends over for a BBQ. Then after setting aside a few weekends to “clean up the place” and getting nowhere he decided that preparing his home was too stressful and because he was too embarrassed to let his friends see his home he ended up not having the party.

Another client told me that he probably wouldn’t be going on a vacation this summer because he has so many tasks and unfinished projects lingering on his desk that even if he physically got away from his job his work would travel with him.

It’s already May and it’s probably unrealistic to think that you’ll be able to do everything before summer starts in earnest so, whether you are planning to get away or keep it closer to home this summer, I suggest that you pick one thing to do that you’ll be able to reasonably accomplish that will help set yourself up for a relaxing and enjoyable summertime.

These three questions will help you decide where your efforts will be put to the best use.

If there is only one thing I can get done before summertime what will help me enjoy my summer the most?

Visualize what you want to get out of your summer, ask yourself, what would have to be in place or what environment do I need to get it?

What about my environment bothers me the most? What small step can I take to make it just a bit better?

Many people try to do it all but often when you try to do it all you accomplish nothing but when you aim for one thing you do it.