As a passionate and driven individual, your summer productivity started out strong. You cleaned and reorganized your space, you signed up for that hot new workout class, and you even made yourself a summer bucket list filled with all kinds of ambitious activities. Yet as the summer gears towards its halfway point, your days may be slipping further from your goals, and more into copious amounts of Netflix. It certainly can be hard to get home from a long day and find the energy to work on that play you have always wanted to write, or learn Russian like you always wanted to, when Netflix slyly releases the newest season of Orange Is The New Black in the middle of June. While it is perfectly fine to milk summer as an excuse for complete rest and relaxation, there are many enjoyable activities you can do that will still feel like summer break, but are also quite productive!
Whether you are prepping for college, an internship, or your next step in your career, summer can be a valuable time to get your mind organized and energized. These ideas may not be so revolutionary, which is why you probably forgot to put them on your bucket list. However, they can be enormously therapeutic in that they allow you to reflect on the past, spice up the present, plan for the future, and send you positive vibes on the daily.
Make a Photo Album or Scrapbook
This activity involves printing out tangible photos from your camera roll and beyond. You can even print those snapchat selfies with you and your friends’ faces in dog filters if you want. Channel your inner six-year-old in art class and treat yourself with a trip to to your local craft store to pick out fun paper designs and stickers. There is something truly calming and self-reflective about looking back at old photos, not on a screen, and organizing them into a personalized memory book. Make an album of 2016 so far, or dedicate a whole book to “Halloween: Through the Years.” Yes, you can watch Netflix while you work.
Purchase a daily planner & actually use it.
Once you fall out your usual routine, it is easy to lose track of your productive habits like going to the gym or responding to emails. A daily planner is a wonderful place to store to-do lists, reminders, and, of course, a plan of your day. It is totally okay if you do not follow your time slots perfectly, but having a handwritten reminder will ensure that you accomplish all your tasks by the end of the week. Consider investing in this awesome planner that helps you get focused not only on your day-to-day schedule, but also gears you towards a positive outlook on your future!
Sign up for something.
Yes, that is very vague, but no, it does not mean sign up for another online shopping account. Instead, pick something that you are passionate about or something out of your comfort zone, and sign up! Join a local kickboxing class to transfer your energy into a fantastic workout (while also learning some great self-defense skills). Sign up to volunteer at a local animal shelter, because who doesn’t love spending time with animals? Also, check out your town’s library for plenty of helpful and FREE resources in the summer, such as Intro to Coding classes, group guitar lessons, or, naturally, a book club!
Create a playlist.
Take an hour out of your hectic day to find the songs that make you happy, that make you emotional, that make you fearless, and organize them in a meaningful way. While you are at it, you might as well make a bunch of playlists. One for the morning commute to work when you need an extra boost of positivity, one for the days you need a little cry because, well, you just do, and definitely one for those fun-in-the-sun summer beach days. Not only is this an enjoyable activity to do in the moment, but it will also benefit the rest of your summer since you’ll always have a song to fit your mood.
*Bonus idea*: Send thank you notes.
Because it’s summer, you may have some extra time to think about things you had no time for during the winter months. Did your grandma give you a generous check at the last family gathering? Forgot to send a thank-you-text to Aunt Sue for those monogrammed hand towels she gave you at Christmas? It does not matter if you received a gift six months ago or six days ago, sending a handwritten thank you note is a personal gesture that your relatives and family friends value more than you know. Taking the time to let someone know that you are thankful for them (with a card that they can actually hang on their fridge!) can brighten just about anyone’s day. And hey, think of all the adorable stationery you can use.