Sometimes we just need to breathe. While the thick, humid air of a Louisiana Summer doesn't always make breathing easy, we are afforded extra daylight, extra rest, and extra opportunity to recreate. So what will we do with this time? How will we change? How will we grow?
This summer at Ask Aunt Katie we are working on a #SimpleSummer. In praying about what my heart needed this summer "Simple" is the word that came up. I have read (skimmed) several books on productivity, organization, systems, methods, etc. Now I need a book on how to organize that pile of books. While each have incredible ideas, more often than not they work on solving too many problems at once--trying to set 3 goals in 7-9 areas of your life.... each goal requiring multiple objectives and measurable marks. Which means if you fail to reach these goals you don't only fail once but 21-47 different ways. And that's just too much failure for a summer.
Here's our guide to a #SimpleSummer.
There are 5 components:
(1) Today's 3
(2) This Week
(3) Read + Recreate + Retreat
(4) Intentionality in our Relationships
(5) Limited Social Media
On a whiteboard, in a journal, or on the back of a receipt is where you can make your list... TODAY'S 3 are the 3 things you are going to tackle today, e.g. two loads of laundry, finally cancel that gym membership you aren't using, buy tennis balls. Here is where you focus on errands, to dos, and most specifically the things you have been putting off. Summer tempts us to do nothing. Which is awesome and sometimes necessary--but there's a time and place for nothing... and it's not in Today's 3.
Here you pick a quote, theme, or phrase that is going to be your guide. This Week for me will be Psalm 118: Give Thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for his mercy endures forever. Last week was a Father Jacques Philippe quote. The key to a good This Week quote is to find something easy to remember, that challenges you to stretch a little bit, and makes you smile.
READ + RECREATE + RETREAT
Here you list how you would like to enrich your day.
What will you read? Meaning, what will you learn today? Read can be a broad term that includes podcasts and youtube videos about a topic that interests you. What does not count is "Netflix." [Even if it's a documentary. Good try.]
How will you recreate? Here you list one or two things that will bring you joy and refreshment today. Which is it? Tennis? Piano? Trivia Night? What does not count is "Netflix" or anything that zones you out. We confuse recreation with being comatose. Recreation should help to re-create us--so while a short nap could fall in this category, glazing over while staring at a screen should not.
How will you retreat? Where will you find time to pray? To reconnect with God today? Perhaps it's spiritual reading, or a visit to the chapel, a daily devotional... it's up to you, but it is not a non-negotiable part of the day.
We won't have time for all three every day, but we should at least list out our hearts' desires. If we don't take the time to think about how we would like to enrich our lives through a better use of our free time, we will waste every free minute with Netflix or social media.
INTENTIONALITY IN OUR RELATIONSHIPS
What relationships in your life bring you peace and joy? Let's be intentional in trying to reach out to those friends. Plan a lunch date or a phone call. Take the time to listen, to be heard, to reconnect. Which relationships have we let slip away because of the busyness of life? Take this question to prayer. Ask the Lord who you need to reach out to this summer.
LIMITED SOCIAL MEDIA
Free time should not mean more time to scroll. Take some of those #SmartFreedom principles and apply them to life. I deleted my social media apps. I'm taking a break this summer. I've realized how all of the scrolling ultimately steals joy and robs me of peace. This summer I'm taking a hiatus. I've been limiting my facebook checks to once a day or when I'm using a computer instead of my phone. By limiting access to your favorite time waster, you will end up creating more time for Reading, Recreating, and Retreating!
Know that you will be in our prayers this summer! Remember to keep it simple!!