On Campus

How to tackle your winter vacation to-do list

Hint: you’re not going to get all your readings done in two weeks

After surviving a semester crammed with classes, coursework and exams, it’s nearly impossible to stay in work mode over winter vacation.

Every year, many students (myself included) tell themselves that they’re going to be productive with their extra time by getting ahead on readings or assignments. But suddenly it’s January, and they return to return to class with nothing to show for their vacation but a few too many hours watching Netflix.

Though school may be the furthest thing from your mind, you will thank yourself next semester if you do make use of your extra time over winter break. Here are a few tips to tackle that long (or short) winter vacation to-do list:

1. Set realistic goals. Are you really going complete all of your readings and assignments for next semester in two weeks? Probably not.

2. Divide and conquer. Split your list into subsections based on priority. For example, I usually make a list of what I need to get done, what should get done, and what I’d like to get done if I have time. This way, it will be easier to focus on tasks that have early deadlines or that you know are going to take a lot of time and energy next semester. And if you don’t get to your other projects, it’s not as much of a loss.

3. Schedule work hours. When school is in, your schedule tends to revolve around when your classes are, deadlines for assignments and tests. Motivation tends to die out with no concrete schedule or set deadlines during winter vacation, so schedule a couple hours each day when you know you’re most productive to work on projects.

4. Don’t get sucked into being a couch potato. One great thing about winter vacation is having a few extra hours to finish your favourite TV series or catch up on movies your missed, but think back to days or weeks when you were desperate for a few extra hours to work on your coursework. You’ll kick yourself later if you realize you spent your entire vacation on the couch.

5. Relax. Getting ahead on school over winter break is smart, but this time also exists to give students a break from the organized chaos of university life, so that we don’t burn out or make ourselves sick from stress. Remember, it’s called winter vacation, not winter cram session. No one’s going to punish you if you give yourself a break.

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