Tips for Keeping Focused on School during the Holiday Season

The holiday season is full of distractions. From family gatherings and work parties to shopping and baking. With all of these distractions it is still important to stay focused on your accredited degree programs. Here are 7 tips to help you stay on track so you won’t lose all the hard work you’ve done so far.

  1. Stick to Routines. Keep up with what has been working for you all along. Once a routine starts to break down, it can collapse easily. Prevent your routine from falling apart by remaining committed - even more so than before. To help stave off boredom and restlessness, make small changes such as walking a different route home, going to a different coffee shop to study, or eating at a different lunch stop.
  2. Establish Support. Enlist your friends, family, and classmates to help you stay focused. Being accountable to someone can help you stick to your goals and knowing that others are also focusing on their studies and work will lessen the feeling that you’re "missing out" by staying in.
  3. Get Organized. If you’re not already, now is the time to get organized. Double check all of your assignments, tests, and papers and prepare a calendar with all of the due dates. Schedule time to work on assignments, write papers, and study for tests. Be sure to give yourself enough time for all activities, and double check your syllabus to make sure you’ve missed nothing. US News recommends keeping a calendar with all of your deadlines and due dates.
  4. Plan Some Downtime. Give yourself an extra break during the week to help relieve stress and burn off some of your extra excitement and energy. However, do your best to keep your extra downtime away from holiday activities. Participating in extra holiday activities can only build your excitement and start you down the slippery-slope to full-on holiday cheer. Try an extra workout or walk, or a dinner out with friends from your support system.
  5. Clear Your Head. You might start feeling overwhelmed thinking of the holiday preparations you need to make or worrying about party invitations that are piling up. Rather than sitting in front of your books wondering what you should wear or what gifts to give your parents, make a list of things you want to think about later and put them away. Writing ideas down and putting them in a drawer can help your mind focus and relax knowing that you’ll get to those things when your studies are done.
  6. Reward Yourself. Knowing that it takes twice the work to stay focused during the holiday season; give yourself extra incentives to stay on task. Make sure your rewards aren’t counterproductive or overly distracting, but if you study for and then ace a test, a night at the movies is not out of order. A successful study session can earn a phone call to a friend, a walk across campus for a coffee, or even a nap!
  7. Stay Healthy. It can be tempting to indulge in the holiday treats that surface. Cakes, cookies, candies always make an appearance during the holidays but resist the temptation - at least until break begins and you can relax. Eating sugary and fatty foods can be a drag on your metabolism, energy levels and brain function. Also, don’t forget to get enough sleep. Princeton University reminds its students that all-nighters are not helpful when you’re turning in poor work or sleeping through class.

Staying focused during the holiday season is difficult and requires a great deal of commitment to your goals. Work hard and stay focused knowing that your work will pay off in the long run. And, don’t forget to enjoy the holidays when they arrive-you’ve earned it!

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