How to do everything…on your list during the summer.

Have you found your academic work bleeding into your summer? Has your time of rest and relaxation been more of procrastinate and ignore? Have you found yourself browsing the Internet instead of being productive? If you have answered “yes” to any of these question, you’ve probably turned into me or you’re just like me.

As I’ve said in many of my posts, I am currently preparing to apply to graduate school. Therefore, I’ve been revising essays, outlining statements of purpose, and studying for tests like the GRE and Praxis. Needless to say, summertime is not the best time to tackle a hefty to-do list. Believe me, I’ve learned from experience. Because of my trials and errors, I’d like to present “How to do everything on your summer to-do list in four easy steps.”

1. Walk away from the computer. When I’m working on the computer, I find myself being lured back to Facebook or Twitter, as if something is going to happen. It’s not. I promise. Take some time to step away from your laptop or desktop and complete some reading or other non-electronic task.

2. Schedule blocks of time for your work. I like to schedule a block for studying for an exam (like the GRE or Praxis) or to research a topic I’m currently working on. This way, you can claim the hour and maybe get things done.

3. Be realistic. I am not realistic. I entered this summer believing I would revise an essay into my greatest work yet, write 195 statements of purpose (slight exaggeration), and then some. No. Summer is difficult to get anything completed, except leisure reading. For me, it is the lack of a deadline or the deadline is too far away. I need more motivation, and I’m still working on this aspect of my life.

4. Take a break. Taking a break is one of the best things one can do in order to get more accomplished. One avoids burnout, frustration, and anxiety by taking time to breathe and do something fun and/or mindless. Also, don’t be too hard on yourself. I’m guilty of this one. If I decide to do something else instead of work on one of my self-assigned projects, I fell guilty. I need to stop (but I’m still learning).

I’m not an expert at getting things done like I want during the summer months. Between the lack of a time frame I have to work with and the allure of other summer activities, sometimes my list falls to the wayside. However, I have found that when I do settle down, these four points help do everything I need I to do.

Happy summer to-doing.

-Sarah

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