Okay, I can’t be the only one whose 10-minutes study break always turns into a 40-minute tv show episode on Netflix. There’s nothing wrong with giving your brain a much-needed break, especially during finals week when people are literally camping out in the library—toothbrush and pajamas and all—but the annoying part is that when you get too side-tracked, you aren’t any closer to clearing off your lengthy to-do list. Besides that, there’s more to college students than just college…we’re also interns, photographers, business owners, tutors, poets, travelers and lots of other things. College ain’t the only thing on our plate.
Personally, I feel so overwhelmed when I watch the hours tick away while my projects and assignments still sit in my planner. It doesn’t feel like I’ve done anything fulfilling, although my brain feels like it’s been working nonstop. It’s like I’ve been sitting in front of my laptop for the last four hours just staring at the friggin’ screen! Sound kinda, sorta familiar?
Instead of scrolling through Instagram or Facebook on your next study break, try doing these five things that will actually help you get shit done, even when your nose isn’t in the textbook.
1. Learn something new from a podcast.
Podcasts have been becoming super popular. They’re so easy to listen to while you have a spa day in your room or cook dinner at night. Some of them are really inspirational and can help you learn about the real world. The Classy Career Girl is a great podcast for millennials who want career advice and tips for building brand awareness.
2. Update your LinkedIn profile.
There’s no time like the present to really spiff up your LinkedIn. LinkedIn is so easy to use that fixing things up won’t take you too long. If your profile is already super hireable, look for professionals to connect with.
3. Plan the trip you’ve been dying to take.
Well, don’t plan out every last detail, but take some time to look into plane tickets, possible hotels and activities. Create a spreadsheet to stay organized so you don’t have to re-research everything again.
4. Update your financial tracker.
For the last month, I did an experiment where I tracked every dime I spent, and it was super eye-opening. In fact, since I stopped keeping track of my spending, it makes me nervous to not know where my money is going, so I’m going to start tracking it again. Make your own tracker if you don’t have one, or Google a printable one.
5. Look for an internship.
The internship search is actually really exciting, and kind of relaxing, oddly enough. You’re really just browsing around for possibilities so you can easily put on some music and chill while you do this. When you find a listing, save the link in a spreadsheet so you can come back to it later.
6. Read the news.
It’s especially important to remain informed in today’s society. Download news apps on your phone so you can easily read about what’s happening when you have 10 minutes to spare. Also check out my post on the Best Free Apps For College Students for more useful phone apps.
7. Continue/start reading he book you’ve been dying to pick up.
If you’re like me, then you probably have so many books that you’ve only read halfway. Use your study break to get a little further and read a chapter or two. I also find that reading books helps me re-focus when I feel like my mind is all over the place.
8. Do yoga or a mini workout.
YouTube is a great way to find quick workouts that you can squeeze into your day. And, if you do them regularly, you’ll actually see results. Look for a quick, five or 10-minute workout video and follow along right from the comfort of your dorm room.
9. Learn how to make something.
Learn how to make tonight’s dinner, or tomorrow’s breakfast. If you’ve always wanted to learn calligraphy, start watching an intro video—the ideas are endless. Just think of something you’d like to learn and get started on it while you take a break from math and English.
10. Call your parents.
You’re probably going to have to call them at some point during the day or week, so why not do it now. Parents are great for giving you advice on dealing with your full plate, helping you get your life together, and talking shit about all the people who annoyed you that week.
11. Build a new playlist for studying.
I love listening to music while I study, and most other people do, too. If you really can’t focus on studying for your exam, build a playlist that will help you out.
Related: The Ultimate Study Session Playlist
12. Plan tomorrow’s schedule.
Take a few minutes to think about what obligations you have tomorrow—any meetings, coffee dates, assignment that still need to be completed, etc. Add them to the calendar on your phone or to your planner so you don’t forget.
13. Email your professors thanking them for a (hopefully) great semester.
I think it’s important to send your professors a quick message to let them know how much you appreciated their expertise this semester. You never know when you might need to hit them up for a recommendation, after all. Even if the semester wasn’t incredible, just email them to thank them for their time and knowledge.
14. Make plans to see friends one last time before the break.
The last week is usually hectic for everyone, but if you really want to grab coffee one last time or hang out with a friend before the week is over, take some time to message people for a meetup.
15. Look for new side hustles.
There are lots of ways to make extra money while you’re in college, but they won’t wait for you to finish your finals. If you’ve always wanted to get paid to take photos or get paid to teach people math, look for the opportunities that will help you do that.
What are your tips for being productive even when you aren’t?