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How to Keep Spring Break from Derailing Your Semester

Dear Ally,

Today was our first day back after spring break. It was easy for me not to get off track during the break because deans don’t really get a spring break unless they take vacation days. My own personal spring break won’t be for a couple of weeks yet, but yours is next week, so let’s talk about how to stay productive, especially if you have assignments due right after you return.

I recently found this “Spring Break Scedule” (still not skilled at spelling, thank goodness for spell check) in my basement and I think that my 11-year-old self had this pretty well figured out. The problem, of course, is sticking to the schedule.

IMG_1896 (2)

Key things:

  • Keep the same sleep schedule. I stay up an hour later than I did in 1988, but I still have a pretty firm bedtime, even during breaks. It’s the sleeping in that will doom your productivity.
  • Schedule time each day for schoolwork. Set aside the hours you are most productive and alert. Thirty years later, I am still most productive mid-morning and right after lunch.
  • Set aside some “play time.” It is spring break after all.
  • Prioritize.  When you plan your schedule, put the important items in first and, if possible, put them earlier in the day. You might not be able to read it, but in the upper left-hand corner of my “scedule,” it says, “Chores are done in morning before going anywhere.” I assume that’s what I was supposed be doing between 8 and 10am. The chores are on the next page and include “Clean room good” and “clean out gerbils,” which was never checked off, so I assume my room was tidy, but smelled like gerbils.
  • Reward yourself each day. Having something to look forward to, like hanging out with family or friends, is great motivation to get your work done, but it’s up to you to determine whether or not you’ve earned it.
  • Allow for deviation. This is the purpose of the “will do unless other plans” statement at the top. I like to make my plans and schedules, but I’m not super rigid about sticking to them. If I get an opportunity to do something special or spend time with someone I don’t normally get to see, I’ll take it.
  • Set aside some “me” time each day. It’s important to relax. I didn’t read for fun much in college, but I’m glad I’ve picked my reading before bedtime habit back up.
  • Take a Sabbath. The weekend “scedule” is on the back of this page and there is no homework in that schedule.

Well, you probably think that I was a pretty weird kid and maybe I was. I know for sure my parents didn’t make me come up with that schedule and no one was making me stick to it either.

Hope that you have a very fun and productive spring break! I’m going to take next week off from writing.

Aunt Sarah

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