May has always felt like a month of transitions for me. Growing up in Michigan, it was the first month we were pretty sure winter wouldn’t dump snow one last time in defiance against spring taking over.
And not just winter to spring. For many places, including Texas, where I now live, May is the transition from spring to summer. The weather heats up, pools and water parks open, and we prepare for cookouts and tubing the Guadalupe River, or picnics and camping out under the stars.
It’s not just the change of seasons May brings — it’s other transitions, too. For most children, it’s the end of the school year and the start of the free days of summer vacation. It’s also a time of graduations — celebrating the transition from the world of schooling to the world of work.
And for parents, it’s a change from the cadence and structure of the school year, with all its events, sports, and carpools, to instead planning summer holidays, vacations, and other family outings.
Like other times of transition (August-September for back to school, or December-January for the holidays and new year), May is a good time to take stock of what we’ve done over the preceding months. It’s a time to review our current projects, bring them to a close, and clear the decks for the next part of the year and new priorities.
Planning Your May Transitions
How do we do that? Here are a few tips from Momentum Planning and Start Finishing that might help your transitions this month.
- Celebrate your wins. May is already built for this, with its graduations, weddings, and school year endings. It’s a great opportunity to combine some of your family traditions with celebrating milestones you and your family or friends have achieved.
Celebrations are a great way to involve those who’ve helped you achieve projects in work or life — that is, your success pack. Did your child graduate this year? Not only do you have an opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments and rite of passage, but it’s also a great time to celebrate the siblings, parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches, and friends who contributed to his or her growth.
- Close out projects. May is a great time to clear the decks, literally and figuratively, to prepare for the next batch of projects you’ll undertake. Spring cleaning isn’t just for garages and basements… it’s for your winter/spring projects, too.
Here’s where CAT work (Cleanup, Archive, Trash) comes in. Make sure as you finish projects that you take the time to close loops and clear the decks for your next batch of projects.
It’s also a good time to review your current projects — the ones you finished, yes, but also (and maybe especially) those you didn’t quite finish yet. Will you have the time, energy, and attention to continue those unfinished projects during the summer months, or are they best deferred to another part of the year?
- Set aside time to do your next round of planning. What projects will you tackle this summer? Consider during this planning phase that some of your “projects” might (rightly) be less focused on work or business, and more on family, self-care, and fun. More relaxing or personal projects are a perfectly fine focus to shift to during the summer.
And if summer is — as Charlie puts it — your “supernova” time? (Meaning when you have the most energy for your projects, and get the most done.) That’s great! Maybe for you, work/business and personal things can live in harmony in the summer. Knowing the seasons of the year when you are most (and least) full of energy and focus will help you decide when is the best time for those challenging projects, and when is the best time for ease and rest.
Do You Quarter the Year or Third It?
How does all this fit in Momentum Planning? For me, this is where the quarterly planner does the heavy lifting. Yes, if we follow it strictly, the quarterly horizon covers three months, and May is smack in the middle of quarter two.
That’s no reason you can’t call the shots, and consider May the end of a quarter instead, if that works better for you.
Or maybe for you, a four-month cycle is more useful and generative: February–May, June–September, October–January. (Or any other configuration that suits your seasons and priorities.) You can easily take the same questions from the quarterly planner, and apply them to your own “thirdly” planning instead.
That four-month cadence is actually how we do Momentum Days. We generally adhere to 12-week project cycles, but the four-month cadence provides a little more spaciousness: building in time for rest and self-care, and the inevitable emergent tasks and projects that pop up.
If that cadence sounds good, May is a perfect time to bring your current projects to a close and start fresh.
Our next Momentum Day is just a couple weeks away. If you’d like help smoothly transitioning into summer, and figuring out the right mix of projects to support you during this next season, please join us for Momentum Day on Saturday, May 21, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m PDT. You can register to secure your spot here.