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Ways to Avoid Procrastination During the Holidays

Now that Halloween is behind us, the last weeks of Fall semester will seem to pass in a blur. As you get busy with holiday parties, traveling, and shopping, it can be easy to fall behind on schoolwork. To avoid procrastination, try these tips to keep your schedule on track.

Map it out in advance. If you know special events are coming up, include them in your calendar or planner. Do some of them occur during times that you would normally be studying? You will need to reschedule that study time in advance. Don’t count on making it up later!

It’s okay to say no. It can feel tempting to accept every invitation to every event. But you’ll just burn out on celebrations before the holidays even arrive, and now you’re too exhausted to focus on preparing for exams. Plan to attend activities that feel especially important, but don’t commit to anything just because you’re afraid to say no. Prioritize yourself.

Plan for travel. If you need to travel, long car rides or airplane layovers provide the perfect opportunity to catch up on reading or homework. But you’ll need to plan for these opportunities in advance, so that you have your study materials on hand within a carry-on bag.

Don’t skimp on exercise and sleep. Healthy habits are still important during the holidays, and keep your body fueled and energized. Continue your usual exercise routine and get eight or nine hours of sleep each night, because staying healthy prevents burnout (and the notorious flu).

Ditto for eating habits. You’ll encounter plenty of opportunities to indulge in sugary desserts throughout the holidays, but don’t overdo it. Sugar leads to spiking insulin levels followed by crashes, and you’re more likely to fall asleep at your desk than finish your English paper.

Set smaller goals. When writing down your goals, avoid overwhelming language like “write History paper” or “prepare for Trig exam”. Break each task into smaller, manageable goals that you can accomplish each day.

Put away your phone, and close irrelevant tabs on your laptop. During study time, focus only on the task at hand. If you’re receiving constant social media updates or messages about this weekend’s party, you won’t accomplish as much during the same time period. Get it done, and then switch your attention back to fun activities.

Ask for help. If you get truly overwhelmed, ask a teacher, parent, or counselor for help. Sometimes an outside perspective can help us reorganize and get everything back on track.

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