Hi there, I hope you all are having a lovely day!
As a high school student, something that I have struggled with in the past has been remaining motivated during school breaks, such as winter break. I found myself looking forward to time off because I would be able to get ahead, yet I would end up becoming even more behind on my work. As of late April, I have not had to attend classes at my high school. I have the entirety of May off; however, during this month I have to prepare for five different exams and write a rough draft of a 4,000 word mini-thesis. Already I have learned so much about what it means to be productive without the definitive structure of a school day to keep me motivated, so here are my tips for remaining productive during time off!

1. Ask your teachers or professors what your workload will look like after the break is over. One of the most appealing things about time off from school is being able to get ahead on assignments for the following months. However, this can often be hindered by simply being unaware of the assignments to come in your courses. Before the break begins, have your teachers send you their plans for the upcoming units in their course. This will help you to get ahead on notes and readings that could be incredibly time consuming while class is in session.

2. Plan out a schedule for your work that lasts the whole break. Procrastination is a beast to deal with during time off, mainly because it seems as though you still have so much time to complete something. Before the break starts, write down a full plan of when you want to complete your assignments and notes. This will lighten your workload by spreading the tasks out over the longer stretch of time, and will hold you accountable for getting just a few things done every day.

3. Wake up early, but give yourself time. If you are in high school, one of the most consistent parts of your everyday schedule is waking up early. Although this may feel like a nightmare during the school year, it is important to keep this habit up when you are looking to be productive during breaks, because it is a part of your internal clock. However, waking up early does not mean doing work immediately at 7 AM. Take at least an hour after you wake up to do things that make you feel healthy and motivated, such as eating breakfast, working out, or reading a book.

4. Plan study dates with friends. During time off from school, many students will spend much more time with family members. While this is of course a crucial part of having time off, it sometimes can be unmotivating, because you do not associate family members with school or working. In order to have a productive yet social mindset during breaks, it is useful to plan study dates with friends. If you and your friends truly have the intention of being productive, not only will you feel motivated by being with them, but you will also get to spend quality time with someone who is not a family member.

5. Discipline your use of technology, regardless of whether you are doing work or not. Many of my peers tend to fall into a technology-induced haze during time off, something that I too have been guilty of. Constantly being online can be dangerous to a productive mindset, and I find that it only makes me feel more lazy during breaks. Instead, spend your free time with family and friends, being creative, reading a book, working out, or enjoying the outdoors. Doing these activities will make you feel fulfilled and motivated, and will help you refocus your energy in the best possible way.

Emma is a 17 year old high school student participating in the International Baccalaureate program at George Washington High School in Colorado. She is in her junior year, and she is currently in the process of writing a 4,000 word mini-thesis that is required for IB. She loves to read and write, and hopes to start her own study blog very soon. Emma’s study Instagram is @studysip.