Tips on How to Stay On Task Before Winter Break
Finals, exams, and holiday festivities, oh my! With the fall semester coming to a close, finding a healthy balance among schoolwork, college applications, and keeping up your holiday spirit can be difficult to maintain.
For some students, the stress and pressure of mounting applications, finals, and papers can cause them to buckle and under-perform, while for others the light at the end of the semester (aka: a nice, long break) and the temptation to throw everything to the wayside for some holiday cheer can cause them to lose focus and procrastinate.
At IvyWise, we know the end of the fall semester is a hectic, and sometimes stressful, time of the year for high school seniors. But there are ways to make sure you stay focused during the holiday season and close out the first half of the year with a bang!
Make a Schedule
It’s important to prioritize and keep yourself on a strict timetable. Determine when certain exams, papers, projects, and applications are due, how long it will take to study or complete them, and which ones will need the most work. Prioritizing tasks and setting a clear schedule for when they will be completed is key to making sure you don’t fall behind.
Aim to Finish Ahead of Time
Part of creating a schedule is to help you set clear goals for your tasks during this extremely busy time of year. Aim to finish your applications and any papers and projects ahead of deadline. This way, you will have more time to study and complete things, like exams, that you have no flexibility with. It also gives you a safety net in case you do get behind schedule; you won’t be scrambling at the last minute to get everything done and end up producing sloppy work.
It’s easy to reach for that bag of chips or package of cookies for a quick snack when you’re crunched for time and under a lot of pressure, but what’s convenient isn’t necessarily going to help you survive this December crunch. Eating healthier snacks, like fruits and vegetables, and drinking water while studying and working will help keep you focused since you won’t be consuming over-processed food with high amounts of sodium and sugar—things that can divert your focus and make your brain feel bogged down.
Take Some Mental Breaks
Time may seem like a precious commodity that you are unwilling to sacrifice right now, but it’s important to let your brain have a little rest every once in while.
Studies have shown that taking breaks while studying or working on one particular task can help improve your focus when you return to it a little later. Go for a short walk, give your grandparents a quick call to see how they’re doing, or just sit and decompress for a few minutes. This will give your brain some time to recharge and you’ll be ready to tackle those calculus exam notes with a fresh perspective.
The same applies to pulling all-nighters. Staying up to study will hurt you more than it will help.
While it seems like your performance in school, and on your applications, these last couple of weeks will determine the rest of your life, don’t fret! You’re likely putting more pressure on yourself than necessary. As long as you stay on task and keep focused, there’s no reason not to have some holiday cheer.
Don’t forget that at the end of the day, you’re still a high school student, and should enjoy these last few months with your friends and family. If the school is holding a holiday party, go! Don’t be afraid of having some holiday fun while closing out the semester. After all, ‘tis the season!