Student Life

How to Plan a Productive Winter Break

Tiffany Sorensen, Varsity Tutors' Contributor

December 02, 2016

How to Plan a Productive Winter Break
Your winter break is bound to fly by - use your time wisely!
Planning a productive winter break can be easier than ever if you think of it in terms of two simple elements—work and play. Of course, the word “productive” implies some work, so you will have to expend a little bit of energy if you want to get ahead on school-related tasks this winter break. However, winter break should also be used as a time to recharge and relax, so do not disregard this aspect of vacation!
Here is how you can maximize both aspects:

1. Make time for work

Winter break may seem like a long period of time. It is a long period, in fact, when you compare it to the standard two-day weekend students are accustomed to having off throughout the school year. However, winter break is bound to fly by, so make sure you use this valuable hiatus productively. The first step is to assess everything you must get done over winter break. Do you have to read an entire novel for English class? Did your math teacher leave you a packet of exercises on derivatives? Do you have a social studies term paper due when you get back?
Take into account any work that was assigned in all of your classes. If no work was assigned, consider the tasks you could start working ahead on or preparing for, such as upcoming quizzes or semester-long research projects. Next, make a schedule that is suitable to both your needs and preferences. You could dedicate certain days of the week to one class, or you could alternate days.
For example, maybe you choose to read the novel only on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and set aside the remaining days for the math packet. On the other hand, you could read the novel Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and chip away at math exercises on the days in between. There are several approaches that work, so feel free to personalize your schedule to your liking. Not only should you consider your usual weekly commitments, but also consider the times of day you perform at your best.

2. Make time for play

Enjoying oneself is just as important as working hard. If you only spend your free time completing assignments for school, you are sure to exhaust your brain quickly. As such, it is necessary to take breaks and have some fun every once in a while! Think about what it is that gets your mind in the right place. Does taking a bike ride, watching television, or listening to music help you to work more effectively? Whatever your preferred activity is, it is essential that you find time to do it amidst your busy winter vacation. A fun activity can allow you to regain concentration and a positive outlook. Moreover, rewarding oneself for good behavior, known as positive reinforcement, is great for motivational purposes. If you are working hard this winter break, learn to reward yourself in exchange. For example, you could tell yourself that if you finish an assignment within the next two hours, you can continue watching three more episodes of your favorite Netflix series. If you prefer to involve someone else in the process, ask a friend or family member to hold you accountable and allot rewards when you have finished a task. To have a productive winter break, aim for a healthy balance between work and play. The right amount of leisure time can make actual work time much more useful. May your winter break be both fruitful and fun! Tiffany Sorensen is a professional tutor and contributing writer with Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement.

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