Recently, I facilitated a Prolific workshop on planning for summer writing projects. Although this event was designed to be helpful for a community of academic writers, it was also just what I needed to start thinking about the many different kinds of projects that I’ll have on my plate this summer.

I thought it might be helpful to share the four questions we asked ourselves so that you can plan your summer projects as well.

So, grab a pen and notebook and get planning!

  1. What’s coming up for you over the summer? In other words, what do you already have scheduled? What do you already know you will need to commit time to during June, July, and August? This could include travel, vacation time, family reunions, teaching obligations, birthday or anniversary celebrations, professional development opportunities, or anything else that could compete with the time you’ll want to devote to the projects you want to complete.
  2. What are going to be your best times for working on projects in the coming months? Based on the answer to the previous question, you will probably be able to see blocks of time on your calendar that are particularly busy, but also maybe some other blocks of time that are more open. When I did this, I realized that July is going to be a pretty full month, but that there were definitely pockets in June and August for uninterrupted work time.
  3. What are your goals to complete in each of the three months? After answering the previous two questions, now it’s time to think about what you actually want to accomplish over the next three months. Since the summer can feel really long (even if it tends to fly by), I prefer to break it into chunks of a month at a time and then assign particular goals to particular months. This can help you to decide if you have too much on your plate to reasonably accomplish. You’ll also want to note if there are any milestones you want to build in for your projects to ensure that you’re making the progress you were hoping for.
  4. How will you build in rest and relaxation? Whether you’re taking a weekly yoga class, building in more walks, napping more, taking a formal vacation, or choosing other restful activities, it’s really important to make sure you are resting and relaxing in the midst of the work you’re completing. Making a summer bucket list is another great way to ensure that you aren’t just working all the time.

I’m really looking forward to the projects I have on my plate this summer, and these questions helped me to check whether I was being realistic about my summer productivity.

To think on:

  • What’s on your plate this summer?
  • When will you carve out some time to plan summer projects?

If you want a little accountability and community for your writing projects this summer, consider registering for a virtual summer writing group! I’m leading them in four different time slots this summer, so you should be able to find one that’s convenient for your schedule. I hope you’ll join in!