I get it: summer break is a great excuse for students to lounge around like sloths all day. It’s the perfect season to chill in bed 24/7 and watch your favorite shows on Netflix from sunrise to sunset. Summer is like a getaway from the incessant stresses of school or work, except you’re spending it in the luxury of your own home.
But after several days – or even weeks – of sleeping in and relaxing at home, I find myself feeling as if something is “missing.” I’m not getting anything done, and everything I’m supposed to do for the summer – such as homework and researching colleges – is not going to complete itself. In a way, I’m being forced to be productive.
But being productive doesn’t have to equate torture! I love discovering fun and creative ways of accomplishing tasks around my home.
Here are my favorite ways to stay productive on lazy days (or weeks):
- Do a little bit each day.
When I’m not in the mood to tackle a large project, I start off by divvying it up into smaller, more realistic tasks that I can easily complete. For example, if I don’t want to clean my entire room, I simply start off by cleaning my desk one day, and then cleaning my closet the next. Before I know it, my entire room will be spotless!
It’s all about knowing what you can realistically accomplish in one day, NOT what you can accomplish in theory.
“When eating an elephant, take one bite at a time.”
– Creighton Abrams
- Reward yourself for accomplishing any task – big or small.
As humans, we LOVE incentives, which is why giving yourself a little treat after you finish any task – no matter how big or small it was – will help you stay productive! This encourages you to accomplish more and gives you the wonderful feeling of, “Wow. I did something today. I’m proud of myself.”
One way I like to incentivize myself is with food. For instance, if I were to read and annotate a book, I would tell myself that for every page I finish, I would eat one scoop of Ben & Jerry’s chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream (can you tell how much I love this flavor?). This way, I feel significantly more motivated to read and annotate my book instead of telling myself that I have nothing to earn after completing the task.
- Don’t spread yourself too thin!
This is a mistake I frequently make. Whenever I’m feeling enthusiastic about a project or two, I tend to want to be involved in everything (aka micromanaging). This, however, decreases my motivation to be productive, due to being so “burnt out” by all the tasks I have before me.
Rather than being spread too thin, delegate your tasks (if possible). Instead of sending ten emails, ask two people you trust to send five each. Instead of solving 100 problems on your math homework, ask a friend if he/she can solve the first fifty problems and you can finish the second half. In other words, teamwork will help make the dream work!
- Use a planner for effective time management.
If you read my post about “Striving for Excellent Grades,” this tip will sound familiar!
Using a calendar/planner/agenda to write out every single task you have for the day will help you stay accountable. During the summertime, I do my best to limit each day in my planner to accomplishing only three tasks. I write out each goal in detail, making sure to include the deadline for each one (i.e. “Read and annotate Heart of Darkness up to page 27 by Wednesday).
Being as specific as possible in your planner helps you set concrete goals for yourself as opposed to blindly aiming to complete a task before summer ends, which inevitably leads to procrastination.
- Make it fun!
Nobody likes working in a lifeless environment, so make yours bright and colorful!
For example, I organize all the pens on my desk by color, as well as the books I have sitting on my bookshelf. Initially I thought this wouldn’t make a huge difference in the way I perceived my room, but by brightening my workspace, I felt more inspired and creative. I noticed that I felt more compelled to work inside my room than before, which boosted my productivity levels tremendously.
Another way you can make your tasks fun is by listening to music or incorporating exercise! If you’re starting to feel bored while you’re cleaning your room, start jamming out to your favorite tunes. If you’re working on a four-hour long assignment, consider doing twenty jumping jacks every fifteen minutes to keep your blood flow going. Whatever gives you a giant energy boost, do it!
- Band together with your closest friends.
Sometimes, you’ve got to rely on your friends to stay accountable. Asking your friends to help keep you motivated is one of the best ways of being productive!
If your goal is to work out more often, ask one of your friends if he/she can be your gym buddy (or better yet, your fitness buddy). This means that both of you have to check in with each other every day to ensure that you are on track with your fitness goals. Whenever you’re struggling to find motivation to head to the gym, ask your friend to go with you and to help spot you whenever you lift.
Having someone to push you to do better and vice versa is an incredible way to stay productive on even your laziest days.
I hope you all feel super pumped to work on your future tasks/projects! Remember that summertime is not only for relaxation, but also for staying mentally and physically on track with your goals.
As always, I will write again soon! ♡