Now the university year has come to an end, students will be starting to fill up their diaries with plans to keep themselves busy over the summer. Some students may be making plans to travel to different countries across the world, to go to festivals and visit family and friends, while others will be thinking how they can stay productive over the summer and get ahead of the game.
With competition for jobs higher than ever, there is a greater need for students to go the extra mile to make themselves more employable. However, it is important that they get the right balance of productivity and relaxation into their summer so that they don’t burn the candle at both ends.
Check out our infographic to discover 7 things students can do to stay at the top of their game during the summer break.
7 ways students can stay productive during the holidays
After working hard all semester, you’ll be looking forward to a well-earned break where you can kick back and enjoy your free time.
But don’t spend the entire break watching Netflix – here are 7 things you can do to stay at the top of your game.
1. Stop being lazy and exercise[i]
- Studies have shown that exercise makes us work better[ii] – in fact, it’s Richard Branson’s top tip for productivity[iii]
- Regular exercise transforms you from a couch potato into a happier, focused learning machine[iv]
- Get out and explore with friends – take advantage of good weather by going hiking or camping in the countryside together[v]
- Or better yet, sign up to a gym together – having a buddy means you can motivate one another to exercise that little bit harder
3. Give your CV a new coat of paint[vi]
- See which areas of your CV can be improved – use the summer break to set goals for your next academic year’
- Keeping one eye fixed on life after university by being productive now will pay off later
- Treat your CV like your social media account – keep it up-to-date and make sure you look good
- Think about life after university – it’s coming! – and what volunteering or internships would help
4. Find yourself a summer job [vii]
- Holidays are the perfect time to get ahead of the competition by adding some valuable work experience to your CV
- Those student loans only go so far, so it wouldn’t hurt to put some money back in the coffers[viii]
- Think about your dream job after university, and apply for work experience that would offer a foot in the door
- Companies like Camp America offer summer exchange jobs abroad, so you can work while you travel the world
4. Get clued up
- New hobbies are a practical way to spend your time – learning to play Immigrant Song is better than reruns of Friends
- Learning doesn’t take a holiday – you should work on new skills to stand out from the herd
- Join free online classes on subjects outside of your degree – putting you on the path to pub quiz glory
- Ask friends for book recommendations, take up lessons in a new instrument or try new hobbies like rock climbing
5. Find a change of scenery[ix]
- Fresh air and greenery don’t just make you feel good – studies show that interactions with nature boost productivity[x]
- Games consoles, noisy siblings, Netflix, smartphones – the list of distractions at home is almost endless[xi]
- Try local coffee shops to scout out a productive place to work (preferably the one with the best espressos)
- Take your summer reading outside to catch some rays while you get stuck into the books – don’t forget the sunscreen!
6. Don’t expect the impossible[xii]
- If you hold yourself to impossibly high standards, you’ll have given up before you even begin. [xiii]
- It’s extremely satisfying to tick tasks off – by setting reasonable targets, you’ll feel more productive[xiv]
- Follow the Seinfeld strategy – spend time on a desired activity every day and, then cross that day off
- As a big line of crosses appears on the calendar, you’ll keep the streak going so that the chain isn’t broken
7. Treat yourself
- If there’s a suitably awesome reward to look forward to, you’ll move the heavens and earth to get stuff done[xv]
- This carrot and stick approach turns productive behaviour into a habit – getting more done means more treats[xvi]
- Choose a reward for yourself – this could be a relaxing bath, eating out or that pair of shoes you’ve been ogling
- Better still, why not plan a holiday abroad and use it as a deadline for getting things done by?
Summer break is a time for fun, but it’s important not to idle the free time away. Always look for new ways to keep growing to keep you at the top of the class.
Dachis, A. (2012). How Seinfeld’s productivity secret fixed my procrastination problem. lifehacker.com
Dembo, M.H. (2004). Motivation and learning strategies for college success: a self-management approach. Mahway, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Enriquez, C. (2014). Student perspective: how to stay productive during Thanksgiving break. nyuwassermanblog.career.admin.nyu.edu
Henry, A. (2012). Surround yourself with nature to boost your productivity. lifehacker.com
Hogan, C.L., Mata, J. and Carstensen, L.L. (2013). Exercise holds immediate benefits for affect and cognition in younger and older adults. Psychology and Aging, 28 (2).
Kalu, H. (2014). Jump into the summer by relaxing, yet staying productive. rutgers.edu
Klosowski, T. (2012). How can I get outside more during the workday? lifehacker.com
The McGraw Center. (2012). Understanding and overcoming procrastination. princeton.edu
NHS. (2013). Physical activity guidelines for adults. nhs.co.uk
Preston, J. (2012). Productivity the Richard Branson way. virgin.com