#stillonbreak – This is the motto my friends and I have adopted for the often painful and motivation-less handful of weeks that summarize the semester and seem a little more restless after the joys of spring break. Finals and projects are looming around the corner, and here we are unproductively trying to study and essentially, mentally, and perpetually #stillonbreak. I’m guessing I’m not alone in this. The warmth, good times, and rest of a week off are like a summer tease, and make us all a little eager for freedom and a little less than enthusiastic about school. However, in the ever-wise words of the High School Musical crew, we are all in this together, and I promise you there are ways to finish the year with your sanity, GPA, and dignity still in-tact.
1. Get organized
Make a date with your planner and your syllabi and plot out the coming weeks. Write down assignments; not only when they’re due, but also when you want to start working on them. If you go about your days and study times more intentionally, you will have more direction and are likely to be far more productive. There are times when I have to plan my days by the hour in order to get everything done. Even if organization doesn’t come entirely naturally for you, putting it into practice will be tremendously helpful.
2. Sleep (no, really)
Making sleep a priority will make your life more productive and less miserable, I promise you. The procrastinating-followed-by-all-nighter technique may be tempting, but getting less than three hours of sleep, particularly when studying for a test, is likely to hinder you rather than help you. Sleep has very legitimate benefits that are often more valuable than that heavy-eyed last-ditch effort to memorize two more pages of notes.
3. Limit your distractions
This goes with #1 and just having good time management in general. Decide what you’re going to dedicate your time to, and actually do it. Avoid doing homework with people who you know will distract you, or pretending that you can totally focus while watching one more episode of Friends. Above all of this, our phone is often the worst culprit. Delete apps, use airplane mode, put it away – do whatever necessary to keep yourself focused.
4. Make time for “me-time”
As impossible as it sounds, it is crucial to make time to do things that energize and calm you. You will make time for the things that are important to you – so make this a priority. Whether it’s a coffee date, a bubble bath and a magazine, or just ten minutes of sitting in silence, the little moments like that will be what saves you when everything else is overwhelming. Give yourself time to reenergize and regroup. You will be happier, healthier, and more productive because of it.
5. Know yourself
This is the most important. Know your coffee to sleep-deprivation ratio, what you need and what you don’t, when you’re productive and when you’re not, what music will jazz you up, where you will be most productive, what studying techniques work best, and what will distract you – and then act on it. If dirty chai lattes are your life blood, your barista is about to be your best friend. If you’re a morning person, go to bed and wake up earlier to get things done rather than trying to stay up late. If your room or the library just doesn’t cut it, find a coffee shop. If you don’t work well under pressure, don’t procrastinate. Take advantage of your most productive environments. Knowing how you work best is a simple concept that that will make your life easier and your time and effort more worthwhile.
To sum it up – use your time wisely, and keep in mind that that very general statement looks very different for each individual. Be smart, be self-motivating, and be productive. But if you have moments where you’re #stillonbreak, you’re not alone. You got this, girl.