If there’s one thing you don’t want to be doing over the Christmas holidays, it’s work. You’ve come home to relax, be with your family and eat as much free food as possible! However, with deadlines and possibly exams looming in January, it’s just as important as ever to be productive.
Do I really need to work?
Yes! Remember at the start of first term when you told yourself that you were going to get ahead of work and do preparation in advance? Well now is your chance. First things first – make a list of the deadlines you have when you go back to university. It may be that you have no deadlines (lucky you, I wish), and if not then now is a great time to plan out your revision.
How do I bring myself to do the work?
Christmas Day is done with now, so it’s feeling like there’s less and less of an excuse for not working. Here are my 5 simple steps to getting the work done as quickly and painlessly as possible:
Make three lists of things to do in your remaining holiday time; must, should and could. The ‘must’s are those looming deadlines that you can’t really avoid, no matter how hard you try. The ‘should’s are your additional bits of revision – maybe organising your lecture notes if they’re on paper; highlighting key words; starting to condense notes; organising your computer filing system. Then the ‘could’s are the aspirations that would put you really far ahead but aren’t particularly necessary at this point – think making flashcards, mind maps, essay plans.
2. Get into the habit of waking up early
You (probably) managed it during term time for your 9ams, so aim to make the most of the morning. Or if you definitely aren’t a morning person and work better at night, set aside a few hours after any family activities have stopped and everyone has gone to bed. If you’re struggling to keep your eyes open once your alarm goes off, reset it for another 15 minutes and get a power nap – I always find when I wake up the second time I’m wide awake.
3. Make a to-do list in the morning
It can look really daunting to have one single list of everything you have to do for weeks, so split it down into what you want to achieve on that day. I find bullet journals are a really nice way to lay out your tasks for the day – look for some inspiration on Tumblr and Instagram. But don’t get caught up trying too hard to make it pretty, at the end of the day this is about productivity! I love squared paper notebooks for this – try this one from Moleskine!
4. Use the pomodoro method
Now you know what you need to do, it’s just about getting the motivation to knuckle down and do it. The longer you procrastinate on it, the less time you’ll have for proper relaxation. One method I find super handy is the pomodoro method – set a timer for 25 minutes and work solidly with no distractions (25 minutes really isn’t that long, you don’t need to look at Facebook). Then have a 5 minute break, physically get up and move around, chat to your family, message people – then repeat. Once you’ve done this 4 times, take a 25 minute break and start from the beginning. 25 and 5 are the best times according to research, but everyone’s brains are different, so adjust this to the length of time you can concentrate.
5. Reward yourself
The holidays should still be a break, nobody wants to spend it all studying. Set aside a few hours a day to work and then make the most of the rest of the day to rejuvenate before term starts again. Don’t spend all day on your phone! Get outside (or at least away from the room you work in) to truly refresh your brain.
Remember that there’s nothing stopping you from doing the work other than yourself! Try to make your work environment as much like your normal one as possible, put your head down and get a timer going – don’t let yourself get distracted until you’ve achieved what you want to!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links