Organize Your Weeks by Theme to Get Things Done and Keep Play Fresh

Family Matters on 08.08.11
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Photo:Mark Surman / Creative Commons

Creating a theme for each week can help even the busiest of adults get things done, anything done, in a categorical manner.

There are three full weeks of August left, which is the perfect number to organize theme weeks. Emily Walker at Simple Mom thought to herself: "Why couldn't I give our summer a bit of structure around the idea of week-long camps?"  By taking the idea of summer camp and running with it, adults can savor the end of summer, as well as kids.

I enjoy the idea of committing to an activity for each week for a few reasons:

  1. Limiting Options Makes Decisions Easier: There are too many options to choose from each day. There have been days that I think, "We could go to the zoo, the pool or the park." Or adult me thinks, "I need a pedicure, a hairdo and a facial." But it's too much to consider, and so no decisions are made and nothing gets done.
  2. Pave the Way for Planning: Committing to a theme each week means that the decision of what kinds of things will get done has already been made, which paves the way for doing. Deciding ahead of time makes planning and scheduling easy.
  3. Enjoy the Excitement: Knowing what fun is planned in the weeks ahead builds anticipation.

Here is how I'm going to use Emily's idea of "mini summer camps" to add structure to my August and keep Alex's play exciting:

Week One for Mom: Keep in Touch Week. There are a lot of friends and acquaintances I want to get back in touch with. Plus, I just returned from BlogHer, and I want to make contact with all my new friends. This week will be the perfect one to designate as Correspondence Week.

Week One for Alex: Aquatics Week.  You don't need a pool to enjoy the water. If you have access to a pool, choose a game to play each day. You could dive for coins or play tag while wearing flippers (in the water of course). Create a game out of synchronized swimming. It's a ton of fun to copy those moves and to choreograph funny dances in the water. Think of the synchronized swimming scene from Caddy Shack.

If you don't have a pool you can:

  • Run through a sprinkler.
  • Fill a baby bathtub or inflatable pool and enjoy it on the deck or lawn.
  • Fill a basin or bucket with water, grab some bath toys and measuring cups and let the kids splash and play.

Week Two for Mom: Stress Relief Week. I keep hearing about this thing called "stress relief" but I don't know how to take advantage of it. I'm going to take each day of this week to explore some options. I will try a 10-minute meditation, where I just sit still and watch my thoughts ripple the waters of my mind. This is something I've thought about doing, but who has the time or focus? Well, this is the week I give it a shot. I will look into scheduling a regular massage, even if it's only a seasonal occasion. I will also renew my commitment to daily exercise. I might see what books the library has on the topic of stress relief to get some fresh ideas.

Week Two for Alex: Nature Walk Week. I will choose a few routes and explore a new one each day or go back over the old favorites. We'll turn over rocks in the mud or a shallow stream to see what's hiding, and take a break and enjoy a quick picnic-snack. I'll point out the different types of trees, plants, birds and animals we see along the way.

Week Three for Mom: Savor Summer Week. This will be the last week in August, so this is going to be the week of my staycation. I am currently reading about a dozen books at the same time, so I plan to spend some hours poolside while I get serious (in the most fun way, of course) about plowing through my current book collection. I'm going to take tons of notes for future post ideas, so that I can fully relax knowing that I'm still getting things done and keeping productive, even while relaxing and taking it easy.

Week Three for Alex: Animal Week. Alex absolutely loves animals, as is evidenced by her huge smiles and screeching at the top of her lungs whenever she sees something furry with four legs. So this is the week that we seek out animals in every way we can. We will visit a pet store, a fish store, a zoo, schedule a playdate with a dog, read books about animals we saw and the ones we're going to see, and we'll stage dramatic reenactments with stuffed animals.

Stay Productive and Relaxed as Summer Comes to a Close

This is the year that I thoroughly enjoy my August, even while preparing for the post-Labor Day crunch. I'll only need to glance at my calendar to be reminded of the theme for each week for easy planning and execution.

Katie Morton is the founder of The Monarch Company. Get a FREE copy of her eBook, 10 Steps to a Blissful You, to get started on developing extraordinary willpower for life.

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