How to Stay Focused on School Over the Holidays

By CSU Global - November 25th, 2019

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Your family is gathered around you, holiday music is playing softly through the speakers, and the week will be filled with festive activities. Just one problem: You’re stressed out because your study routine has been completely obliterated. 

Staying focused on school over the holidays can feel challenging. Activities and obligations during this time of year, special though they may be to you and your family, can pull you in several different directions and create a scarcity of time. Before you know it, you may find yourself a few days behind on studying, which could snowball into a week or more. 

But it doesn’t have to be that way! With a little planning and some time-saving tips, you can manage festive fun this holiday season and stay on top of schoolwork. 

Plan Ahead

It can seem like the holidays are endless, stretching from early November to early January. The sooner you pull out a calendar and get those key dates written down — paper due, Grandma’s house for cookie decorating, reading and discussion-post deadline, volunteering at the soup kitchen, gift exchange with friends — the better you’ll be able to plan ahead. 

During this busy time, it’s important that you continue setting aside time to study or complete your assignments. While your schedule may change with the seasons, the commitment you make to yourself and your education will not. You’ve worked hard all year, and you owe it to yourself to stay focused on your studies. That doesn’t mean you need to shut yourself in a quiet room for the duration of the holiday season, but try to set aside concentrated study time at regular intervals throughout the week. 

November and December may also bring an increase in after-school activities for you or your children — everything from holiday choral concerts to class parties can easily suck up what little time you may have in the evenings. Planning things like meals and transportation ahead of time can save you a lot of time and stress. Try making some of these casseroles and freezing them for quick, easy, and comforting weeknight meals. 

Planning your studying around concurrent activities can also help you maximize your productivity and stay focused. Traveling for the holidays? Great! That translates to reading and review time. Kids can’t get enough of Elf or The Grinch? Set them up with some hot cocoa, and use the time to plan out your paper. 

Clearly Communicate to Your Loved Ones

As part of your commitment to keeping a study schedule, bring your loved ones into the mix! Share your important deadlines, and let them know the times you’ve set aside to work on a paper or review for a quiz. If you have children who are old enough to plan a simple meal for dinner, ask them to tackle a weeknight meal while you knock out that big project. 

Sit down with your family or partner and determine which holiday activities you should prioritize. If you’ve got a can’t-miss tradition, that’s at the top of the list. But there’s no need to fill every minute with festive fun. Being mindful about how and where you spend your time can make the activities you do participate in all the more meaningful. 

Also ask your extended family ahead of time what their holiday plans are. Large families are wonderful, but they can absorb a lot of your time! Attending gathering after gathering can create undue stress and knock you off your study schedule. Let them know what your school priorities are in the holiday season and what your bandwidth is for events. 

Look for Time-Savers

You’re not going to be in school forever. In the future, you won’t have to consider your study time or assignment due dates during the holiday season. But right now, let’s be honest: You’re juggling a lot. If there were ever a time to seek out and take advantage of time-savers, it’s now! 

For example, this may not be the year you provide five homemade pies for your holiday gathering. Purchase them from a local bakery or offer to make a more convenient contribution, like beverages. 

As we all know, shopping for holiday gifts in person can be time-consuming. Between getting to the mall, parking, shopping, waiting in the check-out line, and getting home, you could spend hours — and that’s just for one trip! This year, try to knock out a larger portion of your shopping online. For those items that absolutely need to be purchased in-person, set aside one or two afternoons to get everything completed. You’ll save time and reduce the stress of fighting holiday crowds. 

You may also find success experimenting with time-management methods like the Pomodoro Technique, which segments active work into 25-minute intervals, with breaks interspersed. This method of studying can save you time by keeping you concentrated and productive. 

With the tips above, you’ll be on your way to balancing work, school, family, and the holidays in no time. There’s so much to celebrate during this festive time of year — especially all of your hard work and the dedication to your future!

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