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  • How to Use Your Time Productively Over the Summer

  • The sun is shining, the weather is warm, and... a lot of us feel the summer slump. A productive summer seems like an oxymoron, but when fall comes around, most of us feel like we could have done just a little more. In the past, I used to struggle with two questions: how do I stay productive and what are some things I could do for the summer season?

    How Do I Actually Stay Productive?

    1. Make a plan. Many of us associate summer with fun, and understandably so. I know I have to make lists to stay on track. I try to add fun things to the list too, adding “rewards” here and there just to keep me motivated.
    2. Work hard, play hard. During the school year and the rest of the seasons, we normally treat our work like a marathon. However, during the summer, we should be working in sprints. Put bursts of effort in a short amount of time, rather than a longer period of time, and then enjoy the rest of the day with a fun summer activity!
    3. Spread out the work. I change how I work during the summer by chunking tasks into "bite size pieces." Since you are breaking the work down into shorter times than normal, be sure to make the best use of it and work super hard.
    4. Take advantage of the weather. When the weather is nice, I like to take some work outdoors! Who says you can't be productive outside?
    5. Tackle projects that always get put off. Since summer projects tend to run at a slower pace anyway, take advantage and tackle the important, but not urgent tasks. A few examples include taking care of computer updates, organizing files and desks, and even having an office purge day with your team to get rid of old junk.

    Staying productive is one thing, but how can we spend the summer doing something mentally stimulating? We usually turn to our phones to overcome boredom, and we receive that gratification almost instantly. However, there's always a plateau of entertainment, so I've compiled a short list of other things you can do.

    What Else Could I Do for Three Months?

    1. Listen to podcasts. I love listening to podcasts when I'm commuting to and from school. You can listen to them when cooking, waiting in line, and more. Here is an excellent comprehensive list of podcasts ranging from self-improvement to history to money. One of my favorite podcasts is called “No Stupid Questions” featuring two incredible authors, Angela Duckworth and Stephen J. Dubner.
    2. Read more books. Short stories are a forgotten gem, especially the classics. Here's a website that provides free classic shorts, for those of you interested in trying to read just a little more. If you're into longer books, I really enjoyed The Happiness Equation by Neil Pasricha, which reminds us to prioritize happiness amidst all of our ambitious plans!
    3. Watch useful documentaries on Netflix. My sister introduced me to the sea of documentaries available on the streaming service. It's the best of both worlds if you want to watch and learn something at the same time! She recommends The Keepers.
    4. Learn a new fact. You can find answers to some of the most interesting questions on this website. The questions range from outrageous to absolutely hilarious. I recently enjoyed "How Much Caffeine Would It Take to Kill You?" (by the way, the answer is an excess of 500-600 mg per day for an adult) and I would highly recommend reading it. Another great way to learn new facts is by playing online trivia! I do this occasionally, and it reminds me of how much I still don't know.
    5. Get an internship. For all the students out there, the best thing you can do for your future is to get an internship. I'm sure you've heard it from everyone you know, but I have genuinely learned so much more from internships than I ever imagined. You gain real life experience and you have the opportunity to find your passion. What could be better?

    The most important takeaway is to create various types of experiences for yourself during the summer, in order not to get stuck in the dreaded slump. Although there is definitely value in browsing social media every so often, try to make time for other activities! By the end of the summer, you'll feel accomplished and maybe even inspired!

    Have you tried any of these tips? If so, which one did you enjoy the most? Leave a comment down below!