Do more with your summer vacation than binge watch “Game of Thrones” in a dark and dusty bedroom

If you’re like me, come April, you long for summer vacation. After the last few stressful months of school, it’s nice to finally have some time to unwind.

Every summer I create a list of things I want to achieve in my head, but by the end of break, I look back and realize I accomplished absolutely nothing. I spent my time scrolling through Instagram and binging shows on Netflix instead of taking road trips and being productive.

Don’t be like me. Don’t waste precious vacation time stuck in your room not being productive. Below are a few tips on how you can have a more productive three-month break.

Create a to-do list

First things first, create a list of everything you hope to accomplish during break. Seeing everything laid out on paper is the first step in visualizing what needs to get done and gradually crossing everything off the list. Breaking down tasks in this way is incredibly satisfying and will help you feel more productive. Once you get started, you won’t want to stop.

I recommend trying to accomplish one key thing a day. It could be as simple as doing laundry or cleaning your room or applying for jobs and internships. Calendars and day planners are cheap, great ways to display to-dos and deadlines. Try your best to maintain momentum. Each line you cross off at the end of the day is one more thing to be proud of.

Get a gym membership

Being active triggers productivity in all aspects of your life. Studies have shown that regular exercise improves concentration by 21 percent and motivation to work by 41 percent. So, not only will you be working towards a healthier lifestyle and beach body, but you will simultaneously be motivated to be productive in other areas of life.

If you don’t have a gym membership, invest in some resistance bands, a yoga mat and maybe a few weights. There is a lot you can do with just bodyweight exercises and running. Whether you go to a gym or workout at home, exercise with a friend. Having a partner will keep you accountable by motivating one another to work harder.

If you’re not the gym type, hiking is a fun and beautiful alternative. Find some good local hills, mountains or hiking trails and explore. You’ll be exercising in the best way possible, in nature.

Find a change of scenery

I don’t know about you, but I can only watch so many hours of Netflix or Youtube before I realize that I desperately need fresh air and a change of scenery. I think staying indoors on the couch or locked up in a bedroom watching television is the number one way to waste valuable summer vacation days.

Getting outdoors is important. Game consoles, Netflix and smartphones are unnecessary distractions. You already do enough of that when procrastinating at school! So, go outside for a change. Go on a hike. Set up a hammock and draw, listen to a podcast or read a book. Explore places you haven’t been before, such as local coffee shops or cafes.

I recommend setting aside at least one day a week to do something new and unique. Studies have shown that engaging with nature can boost productivity. You can turn productive behaviors into habits, which ultimately means getting more stuff done and making the most of your summer.


Summer begins right after one of the most stressful times in a student’s life: finals week. You may not know the outcome of your grades, you may not be ready to go home for the summer and you may be stressed about finding a job or internship. All of these things cause anxiety, stress and hinder productivity.

In 2017, More than one-third of working Americans reported chronic work-related stress, 79 percent reported not getting enough sleep and 69 percent admitted to struggling with concentration as a result of stress and sleep deprivation. The bottom line here is to take care of yourself now that you have the time.

Self-care can entail anything that brings you relaxation and joy. Self-care ideas include DIY face masks or other beauty products, self-soothing with a new skincare regime, doing yoga, getting a massage, going to the gym, taking a break from social media, spending time outdoors meditating and SLEEP. These activities will boost productivity and help you feel rejuvenated and ready to go for the day.

Get a job

Literally, any job will do. Of course, it is always a plus to get a job that relates to your major or future career, but honestly, if you’re desperate for money like I usually am, any job will suffice. Not only will you be adding valuable work experience to your resume, but you will also be working towards alleviating some of that crushing student debt.

I recommend setting aside a portion of your checks (the amount is up to you). The other portion can be for fun stuff, like shopping sprees, vacations, road trips or whatever floats your boat. While saving a portion of your checks may seem inconvenient at first, it’ll really help you in the future.

If you can’t get a job or internship in your field, go for something fun like retail. It will help build communication skills, and it’s always fun working directly with customers compared to working a desk job. The last thing you want to do over break is die of boredom in an office, trust me.

The above tips should increase your motivation to be productive in all aspects of life. Have a great (and productive) summer!