Ah, summertime. The weather gets warmer, the nights get longer, and the memories made are all too satisfying.
Summer is in full swing and as students with no real obligation to wake up before noon or do anything remotely productive, it is easy to slip into a state of unintended non-productivity and lackadaisical laziness. Trust me, I’ve battled with this way too many times this summer already.
But, part of growing up and living a successful and healthy lifestyle is learning how to manage our time and do the things we don’t necessarily feel like doing. Learning how to discipline ourselves now and be productive will save us a heap of headaches in the long run and actually help us succeed down the road. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.
Now, am I saying to sit down and meet with a financial accountant and calculate your finances for the next 30 years? No. That’s crazy. A good way to get a handle on life, but at our age, still crazy. I’m saying do the small things now that will help enrich your mind and life and build habits and discipline which will benefit you in the long run and make this the most productive summer vacation ever.
- Learn a new skill
What is that one thing you’ve always wanted to learn but have always made the excuse for yourself that you don’t have the time to do it? Well now you have three months to discipline yourself to really focus on and at least start the process of learning it. It could be something as intricate as learning a new language or simple as learning how to knit. My roommate got a guitar for Christmas and played it nonstop at the most untimely moments. It was the most annoying thing on the planet, but over the months I could see his progress as he got better and disciplined himself to play for a certain amount of time everyday.
2. Perfect your craft
No matter what you want to do with your life, there is always a way to gain experience and knowledge in that area outside of the classroom. Reading up on and mastering the fundamentals of your future career will help you get ahead and stay ahead of the competition. Internships are very helpful in solidifying the skills needed for your intended major but there is more you can do outside of it. Get creative and fall in love with what you want to do so that you are working to get better at it everyday.
3. Maintain your body
So you were confidently in the gym the first of the year to fulfill your New Year’s Resolution but you haven’t been back since January 5th. That’s ok. The cool thing about a resolution is you don’t have to wait until the end of the year to make or renew one. Disciplining yourself to stay with a workout plan or maintain a diet is hard but not impossible. Take baby steps, and once you drill it into your daily routine, you won’t have to have a debate with yourself of whether you’re going to the gym today. It’ll just become a habit. You’ll begin living a healthy lifestyle which will sustain itself for years to come. And as an added bonus, you’ll feel even more energized to do things after your workout. Just don’t strain yourself!
4. READ FOR GOODNESS SAKE! READ!
Just because we’re out of school for the summer, doesn’t mean we should put our learning on hold as well. Whether it’s reading novels, articles, history texts or anything really, something can be learned. Aside from learning the facts of a history text or concluding lessons and morals of a novel you can expand your vocabulary and grammar just by reading. It’s one of the most simple things to do yet many find it the hardest because of the discipline it requires to read for extended periods of time. But even if you just learn one thing from reading, just one, I’d say that’s a pretty productive day.
5. Plan for success
With all the spare time you have in the summer, now is as good as time as any to start planning for the upcoming year. Do you want to start an internship? Maybe add another major or minor to your coursework? If you haven’t planned them already what classes do you want to take? Any new clubs or organizations you want to join? Training yourself to plan ahead now will help you plan better in the future and ultimately make you a more success-minded person. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
Donating to a local charity or non-profit organization is always one of the easiest things to do when supporting a cause. However, seeing that we’re college kids or soon going to be college kids, money is kind of tight right now. The next best thing you can give that may even be valuable than funds is your time. For one, it’s a really productive way to use it. Two, it’ll give a sense of purpose that you may be lacking in right now, but more importantly you’ll be helping someone in need. You have never truly lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you, but the thanks you get or the faces you help brighten are more than enough thanks. Trust me.
The goal of meditating is not to sit an awkward position and obnoxiously "ommm" and hope that you’ll levitate. You can meditate anytime, anywhere. It’s self-reflecting and stepping away from society, spending time alone with your thoughts. Summertime and its glistening sunlight and beautiful scenery provides the perfect atmosphere to start daily meditations. It can be used as a way to rejuvenate and motivate yourself throughout the day or it can be calming and relaxing. Either way, being in a good mental state is key to a healthy lifestyle and remaining productive.
8. Do the tedious tasks
There is always something to be done around the house. ALWAYS. For instance, you can’t see the floor of your room and on top of that your closet looks like a jungle. Well, what are you going to do about? Clean it of course. You may not want to, but you have to and training yourself to buckle down and get the hard jobs out of the way will make it much easier for you to get a lot a done in a short amount of time. Procrastinating puts things off so far that we’re overwhelmed with things we need to do to the point where we spend way more time doing something that could have been done in a few minutes. Train yourself to do this now, and I dare you to even implement this when you go back to school. If you get an assignment that’s due in two weeks, start it that night, that way you give yourself room to finish it if something comes up without stressing yourself out.
9. Wake up early
Seriously, you have no idea how much you can get done in the early morning hours. It’ll make you feel more productive and on top of that you will be productive. Waking up earlier in the morning will allow you to get that morning work done so you can have the rest of the day free for yourself. Or if you find it works better for your schedule, you can get in an intensified early morning workout which will help you feel more energized and better throughout the day. Or, waking up early for the heck of it or to catch the sunrise is fine too. There are plenty of benefits in doing this and once you start to train your body to do so, it will naturally adjust.
10. Have fun!
Contrary to popular belief, having fun is very important in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. However it’s also important to remember to have productive fun. Going out and partying like it’s 1999 is okay every once and awhile, but if that’s the basis for you and friends social life then something has to change. Try something new every weekend. Going to a museum, attending an open mic poetry slam, and similar activities which stimulate learning and positivity are also great ways to have fun. Just step outside your comfort zone and previous experiences and try everything, even if you have the slightest interest in it. The memories made with the people you love will be well worth it.
This is nothing more than a few suggestions and a guideline to get yourself going. Once you implement these you will discover more ways to increase productivity and enjoy a better lifestyle. The most important thing you can invest your time and resources into in this life is yourself. You’re just scratching the surface of your potential. Well renowned author, Marianne Williamson wrote one of my favorite quotes that read, “Our biggest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our biggest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”
Taking this next step into adulthood is scary. I know, because as much as I wrote this article for you guys, I also wrote as a reminder for myself. Implementing these steps into your life will make the transition a little bit easier and hopefully a little less scary. So when you come to the last bit of known territory before jumping into the unknown, take a deep breath, remember your training, take a chance, and jump. Then watch as you fly, soaring to unimaginable heights and coming within reach of once thought an unattainable life.