With assignments being due and midterm dates coming up fast, I’m sure I’m not the only one who is super thankful that Brock University gave us a fall reading week this year. With the amount of stress and assignments piling up, reading week is a great opportunity to catch up on schoolwork and ease the stress that many of us face on a daily basis. Most students use the opportunity of reading week as a time to relax, go on vacation and take a break from studying. For some students, including myself, reading week is a time to work. Being productive is the key to reducing the stress brought upon by schoolwork. Here are my top five tips on how to be productive during reading week!

Tip #1: Manage your time wisely by organizing and planning your schedule.

My number one tip is to have a plan for your reading week! Set out what assignments or exams you need to study for and when you want to complete them by. Having a to-do list is a perfect example of keeping track of all the stuff you need to do. Start by grabbing a piece of paper, write the date and all the things you need to get done that week. Keep adding on to the list and cross off the ones you finished. This is a simple, yet effective way to make sure you stay productive and get work done. Also, set reasonable sized goals for yourself. For instance, if you are working on an essay, set a goal to work on one paragraph per day and once you accomplish your goal, reward yourself by going for a walk, watching your favourite TV show, et cetera. This will give you a drive to push yourself and accomplish that goal. As a result, this will help you feel optimistic and less stressed out.

Tip #2: Find a comfortable study zone.

Most of us, including myself, head home for the reading week, which is a great as you get to be around family and friends and take a break from ramen noodles and Kraft dinner. However, being at home can be very distracting as your parents constantly want to hang out with you and you have friends from home that want to go to the mall with you. Unfortunately, this makes it more difficult to stay on track with your schoolwork. My advice to you guys is to find a place where you can get focused and will get your work done! For example, maybe going to your favourite Starbucks or coffee shop, going to your local library or maybe if the weather is nice you can study outside. But don’t forget that it may not be all about the place either- you have to figure out what time of the day you are most productive. For me, I like to wake up at 6 a.m. and drive down to my local Starbucks in Scarborough, order a pumpkin spice latte and do my readings. Once I finish those, then I spend time with family and friends for the rest of the afternoon. If you’re not a person willing to wake up at 6 in the morning, that’s fine, as long as you find out what works best for you when you’re studying.

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Tip #3: Take a break!

Trying to get as much as you can in one sitting is not the ideal way of being productive, nor is it healthy for you. In fact, it will probably decrease your productivity because by working for a significant period of time without a break, it will lead you to go into a state of mental fatigue and it will become much more difficult to concentrate. My advice is to take a break every 45 minutes of studying. Whether it’s by doing some stretches, going for a walk around your neighbourhood, grabbing food, taking a power nap or even reading a book for pleasure, do something fun and creative that will help keep your mind working in different ways. Resist from going on social media, because trust me, when you go on Twitter, Youtube, Facebook or Instagram for 15 minutes, that 15 minutes will turn into an hour, then to four hours and then a whole day, and you will be left with feelings of regret AND your work not done. At the end of the day, self –control is the key is ensuring that you are on the right track with your work.

Tip #4: Be healthy by sleeping, exercising and eating healthy.

Reading week is the perfect opportunity to catch up on some sleep and it will probably be the only time you’ll get some snoooooze, between now and Christmas break. I’m telling you, TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS. Not only will 8 hours of sleep help you get work done, but you will also feel refreshed and ready to go when school starts up again. Also reading week is a perfect timing to take care of yourself a little more. My advice is that if you don’t want to spend money on a gym pass, take advantage of their free trial. Many gyms including GoodLife Fitness offer a 7-day gym pass, so maybe this is a perfect opportunity to take some Zumba classes or a yoga class. If you don’t have a GoodLife gym in your area, check out your local community centre and see what fitness programs they offer! It is also an excellent opportunity to try some new recipes or just simply taking the time to master your cooking skills. Once you find your niche during reading week, stick to that routine and don’t change it!

Tip #5: Enjoy your free time off. I always save my best tip for last!

My advice to you guys is have fun on your reading week! After surviving the first six weeks of first semester, it time that you reward yourself by having a “Me Day” (or week). By taking time for yourself, you will feel more refreshed when you come back after reading week and probably will be way more productive than if you were studying like crazy! Everybody deserves a break, including YOU! So take this time of reading week to enjoy with your family, catch up with your high school friends, or visit your neighbourhood. I would recommend that you take the last day of your reading week, maybe a Friday or a Saturday as a day off for yourself, so you are motivated to get your work done prior to your day off. That way you will be able to enjoy your day off, without worrying about not finishing your schoolwork.

Hope my tips help you Badgers have a productive fall reading week! Just remember to have fun and be safe during reading week! Happy Fall Reading Week Badgers!