Gone are those days when summer only consisted of swimming, friends and sleep. Suddenly it's summer, and we are all working or studying. It seems that much harder to stay focused when the sun is out and the temperature is hot. It may be much more difficult to get your work done when it seems like this is the time for late summer nights, travelling and adventure. So today, I offer you a few tips on keeping yourself focused when it seems hardest too.
One of the best ways to stay motivated, focused and driven in the summer is to give yourself time to relax. Take time to enjoy yourself whether it is with friends, family or alone. Are there a couple long weekends, do you have any vacation time or work-breaks? If so, take time to remind yourself what all your hard work is for. Only by stepping away from our work every so often can we return to it refreshed, renewed and re-energized. Furthermore, taking study breaks will give your brain a rest. Don’t spend the entire summer worried about what you have to do. This is more of a rule of thumb year-round; when you’re studying for 6 hours straight there’s a large chance a lot of the information isn’t being absorbed. Take a couple breaks in between, whether you go out for lunch, take a dip in the pool or grab a snack.
Summer months often mean weddings, weekend trips and parties. One suggestion is to avoid setting deadlines for Friday afternoons or Monday mornings. Schedule your time effectively. If you get in the habit of managing your time throughout the week, setting a deadline to have your paper done by Thursday evening, leaves an open Friday evening. Using a planner or agenda to set sub-deadlines for different components of your projects can help put it into pieces that are more manageable
It is difficult to follow a conventional schedule throughout the summer. Being flexible in your schedule is beneficial. In the fall, it is much easier to get into the ‘study’ mindset because everyone around you is too. When everyone is off school and enjoying their time, it is much more difficult to follow your usual study routine. Try to get a project done by a specific date, but give yourself flexibility and room to move within that deadline. Set yourself sub-deadlines that can be completed plus or minus a day or so.
Another important tip is to forgive yourself. Throughout the conventional school term (September – April) sometimes we often feel guilty for taking time to relax or just do nothing. Often we think about what we should be doing instead; however, it is okay to have lazy days. Sometimes you will be amazed at how productive you can be in a day and how much work you can get done, while other days, you will not be as productive. When you have lazy days, don’t beat yourself up too much.
All in all, don’t forget that it is still your summer. Leave plenty of time for you to enjoy yourself with friends and family; this time can help you come back even more focused and productive than before. Staying on track with goals and integrating productive periods into your schedule will help you remain focused, but give you the time to have fun. Be flexible, manage your time and take time to relax. Happy Summer!