Tuesday, 22 June 2010

How to Have a Productive Summer

...written by Leia
(warning: lengthy post!)

For those of us that are {jobless} students, "summer" is probably our favorite word. It means an end to formal classes, homework, and tests; and on top of that, good weather (for some of us), holidays, and relaxation time!

I don't know about you, but the novelty of having nothing to do is only great for a short while. Not only do I feel a bit useless, but I get really unhappy if I'm not being productive! This doesn't mean I have to write a research essay every couple of weeks in order to feel like I've "done" something. Simple things like working through a reading list, volunteering, or writing can all give you that satisfying feeling.

Personally, I like to have a schedule for every day (Sherin and I are both obsessed with being organised!) I'm on "holiday" (not quite, as I'll explain in a minute) from June till mid-September, and I want to share my plans - and a few other ideas - with you, in hopes that it will help you have a productive summer, too!

1. Make a List
Raise your hand if you love making lists! There are few things more satisfying than crossing something off a to-do list, don't you think? This list will be the goals you hope to accomplish over the summer. It can be as detailed or basic as you like. Here's my list:

- Finish my dissertation. As I hinted at earlier, I'm not exactly on holiday. I don't have to go to any classes, but I do have to write a 10,000 word dissertation as the final submission for my Masters. It's due on September 15th, which gives me time to plan, research, think, write, and even have a bit of a holiday.
- Exercise 4-5 times a week. These last couple of years have been really stressful for me, and unfortunately, stress = bad eating habits. When I'm writing papers and taking exams, I have very little motivation to exercise or cook healthily for myself. At the moment, I'm about 5 kgs (about 11 lbs) heavier than I'm used to being, but I'm not really concerned about losing the weight, because I feel I'm still well within the healthy range. All I want to do is exercise regularly to keep fit and build up my stamina. I've been using C25K, as recommended by A., which is a great beginner's introduction to jogging!
- Practise piano. I'm taking a piano exam (performance diploma) in November so I have to make sure my pieces are up to scratch.
- Blog! I want to be able to post regularly both here and on Leia's Delights, and it can be hard to stay inspired. Also, as I'm sure you all know, writing and posting for a blog is not the most difficult work - what's difficult is keeping up with all the blogs I love and making sure I leave nice comments on all the blogs that I read! With my slow internet connection, this can sometimes take hours.
- Travel. I'll be going to London for six weeks, and Mum and I are trying to plan a weekend in New York (I've never been!) My parents and I have also been considering a road trip to Dublin.

2. How-To
Now that you've got your list together, decide on how you're going to complete all the tasks. Make sure your list is do-able, or you may get disappointed! None of my tasks are particularly hard, so I prefer making a schedule. Mark dates on your calendar for completing certain tasks (e.g. I want to have a first draft of my dissertation ready at the beginning of August).

Consider making a daily schedule. You might think I'm crazy for living by a schedule on my holiday, but I promise it allows for a lot of leeway and I don't restrict myself from relaxing and having fun! My schedule consists of: exercise and dissertation in the morning, blog (and sometimes dissertation) in the afternoon, and piano before dinnertime. I also give myself plenty of days off, and try not to feel guilty if I haven't managed everything in the same day!

3. Reward yourself
You're doing lots of hard work and this is meant to be a HOLIDAY! Make sure you treat yourself once in a while, by seeing friends, having fun, and deviating from your schedule.

If you're creating your list and are stumped for ideas, how about:
- Read. Create a reading list, or ask a bookworm friend/professor/librarian for advice on what to read this summer. I compiled a short reading list for The Ceiling a while ago of a few of my favorite books. I recommend diving into a multitude of genres and picking things you would normally shy away from - you may discover a new interest!
- Volunteer. Find out about animal shelters, retirement homes, soup kitchens, orphanages, etc. that are in your area. Volunteering is immensely rewarding and fun!
- Intern. Interested in fashion? Journalism? Gardening?! Try to find an internship at a place that is relevant to your hobbies/interests. You will get experience, a CV boost, and you may decide whether or not you'd like to pursue this as a career!
- Learn something new. Always wanted to learn a new language? An instrument? How to sew? How to cook? See if there are any classes near you, buy Rosetta Stone, ask a friend to get involved, buy some how-to books...

I hope my tips have helped inspire you to have a productive summer! Do tell: what are YOUR plans this summertime?


Amy CT said...

Yay! :)

I am pathologically organised, too, so this summer I plan to start learning a new language. Not sure what yet. :)

Natasha said...

I am obsessed with writing to do lists to, although I usually need a bit of a nudge to do them, but once I'ms tarted there's no stopping me! So thanks for getting me started :)

Are you doing DipABRSM in november? Eep, I did mine last summer (pretty much this time last year actually) and it was the scariest thing I ever did! But so worth it. Good luck, and keep practicing! ;) x


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www.janetteria.com said...

I really really love the 1st photo!

Imogen said...

I love this post and its very useful for a lot of us. Summer is definitely my favourite time of year too. Even though it is winter where I am at the moment and I do have a part time job, I still have six weeks until I go back to university and a lot of free time. I have things planned out for myself too. Lots of relaxation but some productive things like cleaning my room, writing, blogging and really trying to work out what direction I want to take with university. These are all things I would like to complete in the six weeks.

Kristen Leo said...

thank you so much for all the advice! i was actually wondering what id do this summer and i am in no mood to work as a salesperson again so your idea for an internship is amazing! im searching for one asap! thanks again!

Kirsty said...

i know what you mean about hating not being productive, ive only been off uni for a few weeks, and im still working my part time job, but already feeling restless! at least i still have blogging :)

Anonymous said...

I too am a jobless student (although I really do want a job right now)..and I am feeling awfully bored! I've started making lists as well to stop me lying in bed all day or playing Sims. It's good to get your butt off the sofa and get going with your life!


Graham I. Haynes said...

I'm so glad you guys are promoting a productive Summer. Too many of us lay around and allow it to amount to nothing. These tips are particularly go-getter. Love it.

PS. Been a while since I've blogged steadily, and I'm loving the new red in your design!

Cindy Whitehead said...

I am all about lists and even more about rewards - umm cupcakes!

Surabhi said...

you have a lovely blog. I used to use this tool called personal brain for setting goals and measuring them time to time.: http://www.thebrain.com/#-53
pretty effective

Tanvi said...

*I raise my hand* - I lOVE making lists ... haha!!

This is a lovely post ... P.S. If you come to US. Come visit me too? ;)

Couture Carrie said...

Fantastic advice, darling!
Hopefully I can now have a productive summer!


Dressing Up For Me said...

I´m not really good at making lists but I have to do it now to stop procrastinating on things. Thanks for the tips! :)

Cafe Fashionista said...

My plans are to work, work, work this summer! Honestly, I am working on a few book projects; and am also taking classes - so lots of busy stuff. Though I'd love to meet a cute boy and have a summer whirlwind romance, as well!! :P

Christie said...

Love your list!! That cupcake picture is making me crave sweets! lol ;)

In Fashion and Style

Elle Sees said...

hopefully find a job!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful! I want to finish editing the fourth draft of my second novel, and advance to a prizewinner level in dance. Wonderful tips!

ana said...

I'm very organized and I love doing lists... I work but for summer I really need to make some excercise and I want to read more! definetely!

Anonymous said...

great post!

Anonymous said...

great post!

Inner Belle said...

omg! there are others like me out there!!!

Jen said...

Love your read & volunteer tips! Those are on my summer list too!!

Kiki said...

Yaay to lists! :) I have a notebook just for my "to-do's"! Hahaha! Is that normal? I hope so.. x

As for making my summer productive...errrmmm....I especially alot a week or two for travel.. and some beach bummin of course.

BonBon Rose Girls Kristin said...

Can I still cupcake it up even though I'm not a student enjoying a carefree summer? Those were the days!

Clare said...

These are awesome tips. Summer is the best time of year. Why not better yourself and enjoy the weather!

Marta from With Love... said...

I think that in the summer time, I all I do is procrastinate....this time around, I am hoping to get some work done and to focus on myself. Great tips, I think that they are very helpful... so thank you for sharing :)


Anonymous said...

I so agree with you! I love lists..and this is a splendid one! it inspires me!

Miss Neira

Elaine said...

This was a fabulous post for all of the jobless homebodies!

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Style Eyes said...

I definitely a list maker. Usually in pretty notebooks.

Thanks for all of those useful tips. Unfortunately I have to work summer as well as looking after 2 children so my summer looks pretty much packed full already.

Hope you have a enjoyable and productive summer.

Anonymous said...

wonderful list darling. You inspired me now...

miss you so much.

Rachel @ The Haute Notes said...

Great post, Leia!
My summer is incredibly productive because I'm taking three classes. But unfortunately, it's keeping me way more busy than I'd like!

BrooklynBlonde said...

Great list!! It goes by so quickly. Gotta make the most out of it :)


Sami said...

great post... it's really inspiring :-)
I love making lists toooooo!!

Sami xx

Angela said...

Reward with cupcakes, I love that idea.

Rachel said...

I wish this was actually relevant for me now!

I have France - Work - France - Exam Results - York & BSB meetup - School!

And I'm actually so excited about having a full schedule!

April said...

I really need to make a list like this on my blog! =S. Summer's half way over and I haven't done ANYTHING!

Bricks in Chennai said...

My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

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