By Cally Logan, Crosswalk.com
Even the mere word "summer" seems to roll off the tongue with the taste of red cherry with blue raspberry popsicle flavor on a warm afternoon. Although it is only a few months out of the year and is set to rival the most wonderful time of the year to Christmas, summer holds a sort of magic and one that we are not willing to waste. This summer especially is one where it seems the clouds have at last parted, and there within holds the opportunity to be especially productive.
1. Dream Board
Dream boards rose to fame and popularity in the early 2010s to set hopes and expectations for life, but we can utilize them now for ideas for even short sections of time. Consider all the dreams you have for this summer. Perhaps productivity is the way of getting work done around the house or getting more involved socially with others. Maybe you have the dream of adventure and crossing off your list some destinations, or perhaps a new hobby you have never done before. Whatever your goals are, gather or sketch out a rough draft of all you hope to achieve in the next three months. Invite the Lord into these thoughts and see the rabbit trails of where He leads you as well; you may just find yourself dreaming God-sized dreams for the months to come.
2. Choose a Word
For the past several years, it has become my tradition to ask the Lord for a Word for the summer. A few years back, He gave me the word "change," and sure enough, the season proved steady to be one of change in friendships, career, and other things I was not aware of when I asked for the word. Asking the Lord for a word or setting a goal of one for yourself can help set in your mind a goal to see the progress of said word occur over time. It is amazing as well to see how that word may start with one definition in your head, but over time you will see it grow or change. It can also provide the encouragement or enthusiasm needed to take giant leaps of faith for what might arise on the path. Words hold power, and especially when we allow the Lord to give the word, we can see how it can open our eyes to how God is at work in our lives and how covered we are by a good and faithful Father.
3. Home Projects
Good weather is not required but is a nice benefit to any project around the house. If productivity this year looks like turning your home into your own version of HGTV, start with setting realistic expectations and goals. This can start with a budget, the most necessary renovations or repairs, or what is easiest to tackle. Having even an outline of what you hope to accomplish will reduce the likelihood of unfinished or partially done projects, and it can keep you on track as the month's progress. Take a nod of inspiration from the internet for good hacks, wallet-friendly alternatives, or wisdom others have gathered along the way for such endeavors.
4. Get Outside!
Warmer weather also provides the key to the best time of year for the majority of outside activities. From hikes to camping to boating, summer is that golden time for them all. Get creative and print off a map in black and white that you can color in all the hikes you accomplish or create a collage of pictures from the various destination spots you visit over the summer. Better yet, allow yourself to fully be immersed in the present and let the memory of the moment be written vividly upon your heart for a memory that you will carry for the rest of your life. Let the sun tan your skin and warm your heart with all the lightning bugged filled nights your soul can handle.
5. Connect with Friends
We often connect productivity with things that we can list and check off, but sometimes it looks like connecting in quality time as well. Especially with the conditions over the past few years, it almost feels as if we have lost the bonds we once held so dear, but that is not a permeant status we must remain in. Make an effort to reach out to those long-lost friends and make time for a coffee date or cookout. Having a productive summer does not have to be work or even look like work; it can be as simple and as joyous as uniting once again and soaking up the beauty of friendship and fellowship with one another.
6. Go Where the Wind Takes You
In the same way, productivity might look different when applied to friendships; it can look different even in the ways we approach goals. Perhaps it is because we became accustomed in school to having the break of three months from work, but we allowed summer to become a true break from the typical course. We allowed the days to take us on long bike ride adventures or daydreaming while looking at the clouds. In the same way, within the availability and context of what adult life looks like, we can allow the wind to set us free and drift us off on a journey all our own. Sometimes the most productive thing we can do is allow ourselves to have childlike wonder again and purely dream. It refills the cup of our lives and refreshes who we are as human beings so that we have more to pour out and give. Don't discount the gift of escapism into the unknown.
7. Don't Allow Yourself to Quit
The most vital way to have a truly productive summer is not to allow yourself to quit. For some more than others, the urge or temptation to give up, quit, or let go of your goals, hopes, or ambitions is strong, but you do not have to allow it to win. Give yourself encouragement to keep going or allow for little treats along the way, like a creamsicle or ice cream truck stop. Setting goals and keeping them will prove worth it in the end, and even consider yourself months from now and the person you wish to be. Play out a conversation with future you and who you want that person to be and how you want that person to feel, look, and be. Ask yourself and God what it would look like to lean into becoming that person in full, and don't give up. The journey and the destination will be worth it.
Allow this summer to be one for the memory books in our hearts, one that you feel was used to the utmost and full of what you could glean, capture, and gather. Whether that is through memories or lessons learned, this summer has the opportunity to be one that is highly productive and pivotal in the course of the person you are and the person you are becoming. Allow this to be a summer that you do not merely shift through the motions of ruts but instead experience every last good and beautiful drop that this season can be.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/ChainarongPrasertthai
Cally Logan is an author and US History teacher from Richmond, Virginia. In her free time, she enjoys mentoring youth and spending time in nature. Her book, Hang on in There, Girl! Will be available everywhere on April 1, 2022. Check her out on Instagram and Twitter, @CallyLogan and TikTok Cally_Logan.