How to Be Productive Over Winter Break

How to Be Productive Over Winter Break

As both a student and teacher, I looked forward to Winter Break. (Probably even more as a teacher.) I always had big plans for the break. But somehow, most of that stuff just didn’t get done. Instead, I usually bonded with my couch.

It’s sooo tempting to be a slug over Winter Break. There are so many dang days ahead of you. Sure, you’ll get some work done . . .eventually.

But suddenly, it’s the last day of break and you’ve gotten nothing done. Unless you count binge-watching the Great British Baking Show. You totally did that. (Just me?)

If you’re still in a semester, you have papers to write and exams to study for. Or if you’re a teacher, papers to grade and exams to write!

If you’re in between semesters, there is still work you can do for school. This is the perfect time to get your planner ready for the next semester, purge your notebooks from last semester, clean your backpack (just do it!), or learn about some new study strategies.

To make your break even easier, I whipped up a Winter Break Planning Guide. Grab it below!

winter break

How to Be Productive Over Winter Break

Make a to-do list

Either before or very early in your break, create a list of all the things you want to get done. If the list is long, separate the tasks, such as school, home, friends, etc.

[click_to_tweet tweet=”Start the planning process as soon as you can!” quote=”Start the planning process as soon as you can!”]

Then organize your list into 3 categories – must do, should do, would like to do. Place 3 or 4 things you need to get done the most in the first category. Then the rest of the list will fall into the last two categories.

For larger tasks, break them down into sub-tasks. For example, if you have to write an essay, you will need to write an outline, research, write the paper, and edit it. Those all become sub-tasks that can be scheduled separately. For more help completing long-term project, read my post here.

Schedule your list

Now that you have your list categorized by importance, bust out your planner or at least a blank calendar. (I included some blank calendars in my Winter Break Planning Guide!)  Start scheduling a time to complete your list, starting with the Must Dos.

Let’s be realistic about scheduling. Are you really going to write an entire essay in the first 2 days of vacation? Probably not. Instead spread it over a number of days. Traveling over break? Block those days off on the calendar and don’t bother trying to work on those days.

After the most important to-dos are scheduled, see if you have time for the other 2 categories. If you do, great! If not, schedule them for later in the New Year.

Reward Yourself


Lordy, we love rewards. I’m a sucker for gold stars and food, especially ice cream. What gets you motivated to do things you just don’t want to?

Use those as rewards to get you going over break! Figure out ahead of time how you will reward yourself for completing parts of your list.

Have an accountability buddy

It’s really easy to backslide on this schedule. Write the daily plan on a sticky note and place that sticky note someplace you will see it – like the bathroom mirror, the fridge door, or the TV. Make sure it’s obvious, so it’s harder to ignore.

Also, get someone to keep you accountable. Not your slacker best friend who is planning on sleeping all break. But someone, anyone, who will check in with you, will celebrate everything you’ve accomplished or give you a swift kick to get you moving.

winter break

Have a wonderful (and productive) Winter Break everyone!

Related Posts: How to Be Productive When You Just Don’t Want To, Daily Habits for Teens to Start in the New YearHow to Study During the Holidays, How Teens Can Get Organized for the New Year, 8 Ways Teachers Can Practice Self-Care

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