What’s on your Summer To-Do List?

I always look forward to the Summer Solstice. I thrive in the sunshine. The weeks leading up to it and the official start of summer make me smile. I’m a list maker and chronic sticky note writer. It’s time for a summer to-do list.

Long days of sunshine always start with birds chirping. I’m an early riser, but on days that I want to sleep in to at least 7 a.m., the birds never seem to get that message. I do take some of the blame for that. I’ve got a bird feeder in the backyard.

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What makes a Summer To-Do list special

Certain activities can only be done in the summer. Some projects need warm days and lots of sunshine. We all know we have around-the-house jobs to do, outside activities we want to enjoy, and many other ways to fill our summer.

A summer to-do list is notable because many of the activities we want to do can mostly only be done in the summer. We grow hot chili peppers because my boyfriend is a massive fan of them. We can only do this in the summer as they love the summertime heat of Virginia.

What should be on your Summer To-Do List

I love making lists mainly because once I finish a task, I get to mark it off my list, and it’s a massive feeling of accomplishment. For the most part, only put tasks, activities, and chores on your list that you are pretty sure you can get done over the summer.

Ideas to think about:

  • outdoor activities you want to do – plan a hike, visit local parks or gardens,
  • tasks for outside your home – starting a summer garden, doing minors repairs on the back deck, adding a birdbath
  • activities you want to do with friends – an outdoor summer concert, going to a waterpark
  • activities with the kids – make your own bubbles, cover the driveway in chalk
  • tasks for inside your home – finally paint that room, declutter a small space, clean the fish tank
Shows garden plot moved over about 8 feet. To-do list item
The chili garden needed to be moved to get more sun. That chore was marked off my list.
Still on my list for summer. I need to do some research on replanting orchids.

How do you start a Summer To-Do List?

You can grab a piece of scrap paper and start writing ideas. I love writing on scrap paper. I know that may seem crazy, but my thought is that paper was already destined to be recycled, so if I don’t like what is on it, it goes in the bin,

But, if writing lots of ideas on one piece of paper seems too overwhelming, grab some sticky notes and write one or more thoughts on them. Get a small pile written. This will make it easier to organize.

There is no right or wrong way to start a summer to-do list. You can jot ideas down on a whiteboard or type them into your phone notes or download a to-do-list app.

Find a way that works for you. A method that gets you to have a list.

How long should your list be

Your list should be long enough that you feel able to complete the majority of it.

A to-do list should not cause you anxiety or overwhelm you.

I write all kinds of things down, from big things, like power-wash the back deck, to tiny things like making blueberry cupcakes. After I write my list, I go over it a few times and decide what needs to be marked off right now because I know it won’t get done in the next three months.

Make your list as long or as short as you want. Your list should inspire you!

How to organize your list

Organizing your list can be done in a few different ways. Look at the items and see what categories they fall into.

  • fun activities
  • small jobs
  • big jobs
  • adventures

From there, you can make other categories

  • Fun activities
    • date night ideas
    • crafts with the kids
    • read books movies are based from
    • fresh fruit recipes

You don’t have to make categories and subcategories. What’s important is that you make a list that you can follow.

I write a list on a half sheet of scrap paper (fewer items fit on a half sheet). I’ve remade lists several times because I’ll put a job there and realize I don’t want to deal with it and have a daily reminder that I’m not doing it, like washing the windows. My list does not have an order, and I get jobs done that I feel inspired to do at the time.

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Why a Summer To-Do list is important

We all feel more accomplished when we achieve goals. Making a to-do list and seeing several items get crossed off is empowering! Some may be small items, but they are items that need to be addressed.

If you are forgetful, a list will keep you on track. There may be adventures and tasks that can only be done in the summertime. If you like to pick fresh fruit from local you-pick farms and don’t want to forget to do it, write it down!

Dos and Don’ts of your Summer To-Do List


  • Make sure your list is a To-Do list, not a Wish List. The items on your list need to be actionable for this summer.
  • Feel like you can achieve each item on your list
  • Prioritize your list. Put an asterisk beside items you want to make sure you complete.
  • Review and edit your list every few weeks.


  • Don’t let your list overwhelm you. Break it down into actionable items you will be happy with.
  • Make sure not to overbook yourself for activities. You want to feel accomplished, not worn out.
  • Don’t think you are a failure if you don’t complete all the tasks on your list, whether they are fun activities or chores. Life happens.
To-do list on fridge
My list so far for summer. Grocery list up and to the left, with Costco list on a pink sticky note.

Final Thoughts

One of my favorite things about making a list is doing an activity or chore that I forgot to put on my list, then adding it to my list and immediately crossing it out! Instant gratification!

I usually have two lists—one for chores that need to be done and one for activities I want to do. My chore list is usually a jumbled mess on a torn-off half sheet of paper in my messy handwriting. But, that is what makes me complete items and feel like I have control over the list.

Know that your list is not set in stone, and there is no list police that will hunt you down for not completing it.

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