I want to have a productive summer, but I am in need of some tips myself in order to make that happen. I’m hoping today I can help both you and I stay motivated and productive over the summer, and have something to show for it by fall! Since my field school abroad took up half the summer, I decided it would be best if I stayed with my parents until fall because I have no summer job on campus and it’s not worth paying my ridiculous rent for 6 weeks.
So, here I am. I am sitting, jobless, on my parents’ couch trying to continue to be a productive human being while I literally have all the time in the world. Definitely not complaining, but definitely in need of a reboot on my summer routine and how I want to be spending my time. I don’t really want fall to roll around and I have nothing at all to show for it, except maybe some extra pounds from eating so many ice cream sandwiches. (Seriously, someone make my family stop buying ice cream sandwiches.)
Here are the things I want to start doing TODAY so that my summer feels rewarding while still relaxing.
MAKE A LIST of everything you want to accomplish, every goal you have, etc. This could be to get fit during the summer, or read a certain number of books, or save some extra cash. One of my goals is to take the GRE during the beginning months of school, so it’s important that I study for it now. I also want to revamp and produce a lot of content for my blog this summer. Whether your goals are big or small, jot them down so that you don’t forget a thing! Having a tangible list of things you want to accomplish will remind you of how you should be spending some of your time during the summer. You may also want to continue by breaking down these goals into smaller goals, week by week, to accomplish them and keep yourself focused.
CREATE A ROUTINE that will keep you focused and productive. This doesn’t have to be a full day’s routine, and maybe it shouldn’t be. I keep a morning routine because mornings are when I feel most productive and energized. This is my prime time to get things done, so having a routine for this time helps me to stay on track, and then I can have the rest of the day to mess around or work on things as I feel fit. I wake up, get a cup of coffee, and sit in my living room typing away at blog posts and talking to you guys on Twitter, or reading a good Sci-Fi. (Because, no, I still have not gotten around to studying for the GRE at all. That will come ASAP I promise.) I recommend not structuring your entire day if you are wanting an especially relaxing summer, but at least blocking out a few hours for routine so that you can stay on top of your goals.
MAKE TO-DO LISTS if not for every day, at least for the week. I’m a little bit lazy during the summer so I don’t like making daily to-do’s; I much prefer weekly to-do’s so that I can spread them out as I please. Lists will keep you on track with what you want to accomplish, and it feels pretty great to check something off of your list! It feels especially rewarding when you are checking off a to-do list during the summer, and this can boost your motivation too.
FIND A PRODUCTIVE HOBBY such as something creative or active. I’ve been reading a lot of nonfiction lately because my field school gave me a refueled passion for learning random things, so that’s what I’ve been doing haha. Other productive hobbies might include bike riding or doing something active, finally getting back into some sort of art, or playing an instrument. I also include blogging in this category because it is creating content. In my mind, a productive hobby is just anything where you are producing something or bettering yourself in some way, rather than consuming! Productive hobbies fuel our minds and force them to be more active, which in itself is a productive activity. But these hobbies can also help you feel motivated to get things done on your list.
STUDY if you are in school – even if you’re on summer break. If there’s no reason to do this intensely, then don’t! But if you are starting a new class whose material is something you are unfamiliar with, it doesn’t hurt to learn the basics of it! Or if you’re studying a language, reviewing during the summer months is CRUCIAL to retaining what you’ve learned over the last year. For me, my studying will be in the form of GRE practice tests and re-learning math (ugh).
KEEP A HEALTHY SLEEP ROUTINE because constantly staying up later than planned and waking up later than planned will decrease your energy levels and discourage you to work during the day! If you’re a night owl, that’s fine – just make sure your sleep schedule is still regulated! I normally go to bed around 11-12 PM and wake up around 8 or 9 AM. Regulated sleep will keep your energy levels at a high during your awake hours, making you more productive and focused.
STAY ENERGIZED with other habits as well! Having a healthy diet and not relying too heavily on caffeine will help you stay energized for longer. Also, make sure to do things throughout the day that you enjoy and that keep you inspired. I try to go to the gym every morning because it energizes me physically, and it also gives me a feeling of accomplishment that helps me feel motivated throughout the day. Later on in the day, I like to walk my dogs around the block as well because the extra physical activity refuels my energy, as well as being outside and getting some fresh air.
If you want to have a productive summer, it’s vitally important to have a game plan! Hopefully these tips make that possible for both of us, and I don’t spend all summer surfing the web on my parents’ couch haha. Let me know what the best time of day is for you to get work done, I’m curious! For me it’s right when I wake up, before I let all of the distractions of the day get to me. I hope you’re all having a lovely Wednesday!