How to be Productive during the Holidays

As much as we want to apologize for being a killjoy, we want to remind you about a harsh reality: nothing lasts forever. In a couple of days, the fun that you were having during the holidays will die down as you have to come back to school. When that time comes, you might feel it all hitting like a truck: numerous requirements, trying to avoid stress over deadlines, essay writing, and countless all-nighters, waiting to give you a beatdown as they did before the holidays.

If there is something you learned about, it is that you are suddenly taken by surprise by this post-holiday stress. Its likely origin? You stopped learning how to be productive, and it is understandable: the months before the holiday had been nothing but stress, forcing you to be productive and to always keep on your toes. When the holidays came, you stopped concerning yourself on how to be productive and, consequently, never concerned yourself at all on how to be productive during the holidays.

Learning how to be productive naturally comes during times of pressure, such as being in the face of deadlines and keeping your grades up. Absent those, how can you maintain your productivity, especially in preparation for school? Thankfully, you do not have to constantly surround yourself with reading materials of your past classes—we do not want your holiday fun taken away. Here are ten simple tips on how to be productive during the holidays.

10 tips to go from unproductive to productive during the holidays

TIP #1: Re-orient yourself

Surviving your college parties, going out with friends a lot of times, having days when you sleep for 15 hours and, sometimes, days when you do not sleep at all—where are you now and how are you doing at the moment?

One of the most common side effects of enjoying the holidays is losing where you are. Mostly, this is because you are letting loose after all the stress that you collected over the months. Letting loose is not something bad; in fact, it is something that you should do every once in a while when the stress gets overwhelming.

However, after letting loose and de-stressing, you have to catch up with information that you left out. Remind yourself about bits of information that are basic as well as those that are particular. Here are some examples to help you find your bearings and get you started on learning how to be productive during the holidays:

  • Current date and day of the week - Yes, we sometimes forget.
  • Urgent events - For instance, when will the next semester start? Is there a day when you have to enlist for classes?
  • Sleep schedule - Do you sleep regularly? At what time do you often sleep? And how many hours do you sleep?
  • Your room - Going out a lot at times means your room taking a hit with a pile of laundry on one corner and a couple of worn, dirty socks lying around on the floor.
  • Hygiene - When was the last time you took shower and brushed your teeth? Or a haircut and—for the gentlemen out there—a good shave? How regularly do you check your hygiene?

TIP #2: Improve your sleeping habits

One of the first things that get compromised as you start your holidays is your sleep schedule. Depending on during what time your classes were, you set sleeping habits for yourself to make sure that you stay awake while in class. Often, these habits sacrifice sleep quality and length for productivity. Theoretically, we try to gain lost sleep during the weekends and especially during the holidays, but realistically, though, it is practically the same, minus the stress: 13 hour sleeps sometimes, and no sleep at all in others, due to that raving party last night.

It is important to have good sleeping habits. This is something that you should not take for granted. Far beyond the “nappy time” that kindergarten put us through, good sleeping habits allow us to (1) adjust our body clock to be productive at certain times and (2) give our body the sleep it needs. As a whole, having good sleeping habits is one of the most effective ways of how to be productive. Consequently, you need to have a specific sleep schedule that you should follow consistently. Consistency is key here; without it, you will have a hard time when school comes.

As far as ways of how to be productive during the holidays is concerned, however, you should be highly disciplined with your sleeping habits. This is especially in the face of temptations of staying up late as you watch your favorite Netflix show or embark on a marathon of cute cat videos. To make sure that you follow your sleep schedule and help you on how to be productive during the holidays, try out the sleep tricks below:

  1. Designate a schedule. From what time to what time should you sleep? Particularly, you need to have a schedule that lets you in with daily conventional activities and, especially, with school. Also, remember that “8-hours-of-sleep-per-day” rule? Follow it and make sure it fits right into your sleep schedule.
  2. Set alarms. Of course, you have to set an alarm on when to wake up. However, you should also set an alarm that reminds you when you need to sleep.
  3. Stay away from gadgets an hour before you sleep. Melatonin is the hormone that our body releases to make us sleep. However, it is based on the amount of light that enters our eyes. That is why majority of people wake up in the morning: that is when the sun rises. Unfortunately, any type of light can influence whether or not melatonin is released. The light from our phones and other screens can massively influence our sleep. Thus, stay away from gadgets an hour before sleeping, and switch to dim lights if you can.
  4. Take a warm shower. One of the things that happen when we sleep is that our body cools down. Cold temperature compels us to sleep. With that said, taking a warm shower seems counterintuitive. However, it is actually very helpful. When warm water comes into contact with our bodies, our bodies react by cooling up. The result? We fall asleep faster.

TIP #3: Have a daily routine

Now that you have a sleeping schedule going, it is time to take your energy to good use by having a daily routine.

By daily routine, we mean this, for example:

  • What to do right after waking up: fix your bed, brush your teeth, cook breakfast, etc.
  • What to do at night: lock the doors, sweep the floors, wash the dishes, and so on
  • What to do before sleeping: drink tea, take a warm shower, brush your teeth, plan your wardrobe, then sleep

Having a daily routine vastly improves not only how much you move but also your mindset. You do not have to make do with whatever happens—you make things happen and follow a certain system that is set in place.

How does this translate to being ready and productive for school? Take note that the routine that you set for yourself does not exist in a vacuum. There are other things that you have to do for a specific day alongside your routine. This means that you have to manage your time properly, making sure that both your routine and what you have to do for a certain day are done. In other words, when school comes, you have to make sure to finish both your classes and your daily routine, boosting your productivity by a whole lot.

This is one of the best tips on how to be productive during the holidays. There is not much effort outside of the initial planning, yet you will get your productivity up and going with ease as you get used to the routine. Of course, as with the sleeping schedule, you need to have discipline in following the routine consistently.

TIP #4: Make a to-do list everyday

After you have your daily routine, you then have to make a to-do list for each important day.

A to-do list should contain all of the things that you have to do at certain times of a specific date. Often, a checkbox marks the beginning of each point, and each box is ticked once it is done. The goal of the to-do list is the make you mentally aware and ready of what to do on a particular day. Thus, having a to-do list will help you on how to be productive during the holidays, as it keeps you moving more.

What is the difference between a daily routine and a to-do list? Daily routines are done each and every day and must be followed consistently. A to-do list is only for a certain day. For instance, fixing your bed and brushing your teeth should be done right after waking up, from Sunday to Saturday. Going to an appointment with the doctor, however, would be done only a Tuesday, while going to the beach will be a thing on Wednesday of the same week.

Another question would be whether you can just remember what to do for a particular day. While some people have a really good memory to be able to do this, not everyone has excellent memorization skills. Most of all, there may come a point where a certain task will be forgotten, which would prove fatal at times.

TIP #5: Follow your routine and to-do lists

Now that you have your routine and to-do lists, it is time to consistently follow them. There is a reason why it is called a “routine”: it is done regularly. The same goes with “to-do list”: you need, well, to do them.

One of the greatest mistakes with making routines and to-do lists is that in the end, even after meticulous planning and consideration, people do not even push through with following them. Certainly, there are times when, for some acceptable reasons, it becomes difficult or impractical to do some of the steps. Still, it must be established as a mantra that routines and to-do lists must be finished to the best of your ability.

The reason behind this pressure? It is practice for when school comes: you will be bombarded with deadlines and requirements, which you have to comply with or be punished when you do not. By following through with your own routines and to-do lists, you are setting yourself up well on a path on how to be productive. This applies even outside of school, especially with work and other family matters. As it is now, it starts with learning how to be productive during the holidays.

TIP #6: Be clean and organized

Got some unpaired socks lying around the floor? Or a week-old bag of potato chips under the drawer that is attracting a huge trail of ants? Basically, any clutter around you?

The main gist of this tip: clean and organize yourself whenever you can. Sweep up any trash on the floor and clean anything that is dirty near you. This also includes your shelves, desks, drawers, and backpacks that you carry around.

When you do this, you are actually unconsciously developing the idea of a system that is running around yourself and your immediate surroundings that must be followed: “item A has to be in shelf C,” “items D1 to D5 belong in the top-right corner of drawer F,” and so on. If you find an item that turns out to be out of place, you will recognize that it is right away and put it where it should be.

The main benefit of this manifests when school comes. Say you are rushing to class where you have an important paper due on that day. You sit down, reach into your bag, and find out that the paper you wrote is in your other backpack. It is times like these when you realize that you have to clean out your stuff more often. Who knows that a couple of minutes of organizing yourself can spell the difference between an A and an F?

In another version of the story, you are able to pass the paper and get it back the next week marked with an A. You give yourself a pat on the back for being organized. If you want that kind of future, start now by learning how to be productive during the holidays and being clean and organized.

TIP #7: Do chores

This is in line with the previous tip on being clean and organized. Right now, though, you might be thinking: “Oh, man! Not chores…” Well, learning how to be productive sometimes means getting your hands dirty.

From swiping the floor to washing the dishes, doing the chores revolves around making sure that things are kept tidy. The most important aspect of this tip, however, is the mindset that you develop from regularly doing chores.

After some time of doing chores consistently, you will eventually gain a sense of whether something is dirty or not and, most of all, whether to clean it or not. Mind over matter: your mind will itch your body into moving to take care of the said messes. The result? You become more productive.
Focusing on how to be productive during the holidays, in this regard, will help not only with being more productive in school but also with your future life, as you grow into adulthood. Try it now—maybe there is some leftover ripped gift wrapping from Christmas or confetti lying around from New Year that need vacuuming.

TIP #8: Less watching, more reading

A lot of us want to spend the hours, going through a marathon of the best Netflix shows out there. Just click “play” on a show in the Netflix app and the episodes will automatically play, one after the other. All fun!—but unless there is an entire course dedicated to watching Netflix shows, this cannot help you when school comes.

Trade in a Netflix show for a book and an episode for a chapter. School revolves primarily around reading books and analyzing the materials. While watching shows can be more visually engaging, reading makes you more creative and imaginative. Your brain will be stimulated more, causing you to make mental images of how characters look or events are depicted as they take place in the book.

Of course, these are only as far as novels and short stories go. If you feel like taking it up a notch, you can read books and essays on the social sciences, humanities, or even physical sciences. Engaging potential reading materials in advance will definitely help you on how to be productive during the holidays and, in the long run, directly help you when school comes. Do not worry, you do not have to stop watching Netflix—just to get your bookworm on and set yourself on how to be productive more.

Want to get started with reading? Here is a list of books you can read.

TIP #9: Surround yourself with books

Ever heard of the saying “Out of sight, out of mind”? The opposite is true: within sight, within mind.

By “surround yourself with books,” we mean making sure that a lot of your shelves should be filled with books, tidily arranged and totally visible from regular perspectives.

What this does is that it stimulates the brain, setting into a mode where it will be ready to receive new information, thus making you productive. It is a similar principle behind why some people work better in a cafe. Seeing other people working in a busy environment where coffee is distributed compels the brain, making it engage into a more productive state. In other words, that principle is that the environment can influence your productivity.

Thankfully, you do not have to be in a cafe everyday, spending $20 a week on coffee for productivity. Setting your own personal “cafe” in the comforts of your own home not only saves you more money, but also allows you to be in a more productive state nearly all the time.

Note: You do not have to necessarily read all the books you surround yourself with. Yes, the previous tip, “less watching, more reading,” encourages you to read more, but this tip is more of an environmental, passive approach on how to be more productive during the holidays rather than an active one.

TIP #10: Breathe, keep calm, and stay positive

Yes, go ahead. Let it out: going back to school sucks. The fun is over.

If you are someone who does not like going to school at all, then this is a thought that you might have. No one wants to get stressed; everyone wants to have fun.

However, that is just how it is. One of the best ways to cope with it is to relax. Even better, think about it this way: the fun is not done, just switched forms. You still have your college friends, and there are classes and professors that will be fun. Plus, there are still college parties.

This is the one thing that you should remind yourself to do. No amount of preparation can get you mentally ready for the stress that is about to come. The least, and best, you can do is to change the way you look at it. Say it with us again: the fun is not done, just switched forms.

Once you have all the tips down, you can get yourself up to speed and be as productive as you need to be for the next semester.

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