How to Stay Productive During Winter Break

With the last few days of the semester right around the corner, and all of the cheesy (yet loveable) campus Christmas decorations strewn high for everyone to see, the thought of relaxation may be a beacon of light at the end of the tunnel. Though it’s easy to walk out of your finals with a fierce determination to embrace the “break” in “Winter Break”, it’s important to not only maximize your time but to enjoy it, too — learning how to relax and when, is key to productivity, after all.

1. Wake up early

Waking up early is one of the most simple and effective ways to kickstart your day. Early does not have to mean 6 AM, especially not during a break, but rather just making sure that you are getting up with enough time to enjoy the morning before you tackle the things you need to do. Personally, I like to set an alarm for 7 AM each day. I make sure to get at least 7 hours of sleep, and usually wake up feeling pretty refreshed and ready to go.

You won’t be productive (or eager to wake up) unless you are well rested — so make a good night’s sleep an absolute priority!

2. Make a To Do list

“To Do” lists are way more than just sets of tasks. They are a genius way to hold yourself accountable and make sure that you are on track to accomplish any and all of your goals, big and small. Once you write something down, you feel committed to it and are way more likely to accomplish it. Given that winter is such a busy season between gift shopping and organizing for the new year, it can’t hurt to keep yourself on track with your tasks for each day. Plus, that tiny adrenaline rush you get when you cross a task off after completing it is pretty nice, too!

3. Reorganize!

You’ve heard of Spring Cleaning, but are you ready for Winter Cleaning? Decluttering is essential to keeping yourself and your life organized. Though it may sometimes be difficult to let go of things, it’s important to regularly get rid of things you don’t need or don’t use. A good rule of thumb is, if you haven’t worn it or used it in the past 6 months, it’s time to get rid of it.

Reorganizing refreshes your space and helps you feel like you have your life put together — which can very easily lead to feeling and being way more productive.

4. Pick up a hobby

Hobbies are a great way to keep yourself entertained, it's relaxing, but you're being productive as well. Whether it’s doodling, learning calligraphy, knitting, or any other creative endeavor, hobbies enable us to try new things, while also learning new ways to relax and unwind. You can even pair a new hobby with your favorite show on Netflix and enjoy both activities. 

5. Set realistic, practical goals

This works both for everyday life, as well as, how we should look at things as we go into the new year. When setting goals for yourself, it's important to stay true to what is realistic and achievable. Want to run a mile everyday, but know you might only do half? Aim for ¾ of a mile — that is easier to achieve, and you’re way more likely to do it.

Making goals realistic doesn't mean you’re settling for less, but rather that you are more in tune with yourself and are therefore going to be more likely to actually get things done. Better to run a solid ¾ of a mile everyday than fail at the whole thing and get discouraged, right?

As winter break gets closer and closer, it may be super easy to fall into unproductive habits and watch the days fly by with nothing to our name except a list of movies watched on Netflix. While this isn’t a bad thing on a day or two, spending your whole break this way might lead to feelings of disappointment and loss of time. By incorporating small, but realistic tactics into your day, your break can be relaxing and entertaining, but super productive as well.