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The UCSD Guardian

The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

Horizon 2024
Thomas Murphy, Co-Webmaster & Photographer • Feb 20, 2024

How to actually be productive during the holidays

How+to+actually+be+productive+during+the+holidays
Photo by Hana Tobias/ UCSD Guardian

A few weeks ago, I was on the phone with my sister, talking about the upcoming winter break. I mentioned how I wanted to use the spare time to work on a project I’d been meaning to get around to, to which she scoffed, and said, “Bela, you do this every year. You say you’re going to do all these things and be super productive, and then you never do anything.”

Well, thank you for the unsolicited reality check, Adriana. As I sat there on the phone, stuttering my way through my defense that this break would be different, I hated the fact that she was right. Every year, during winter break, I tell myself that I’m going to catch up on reading or get ahead on writing. I’m going to work out and go out to see my friends. I’ll make myself healthy snacks and cook my family dinner. But I never do. 

Productivity has never been my strong suit (whereas laziness and procrastination very much have been). Especially not when December in the Bay Area is cold and windy and gray; not when my bedroom back home has blackout curtains that keep my room dark well into the day; and definitely not when there is something so inevitable about destroying my sleep schedule every day and night of break. Being back home makes me feel like a crazed seventeen-year-old: restless and lethargic at the same time. I can’t help but revert to my old self as I settle in for the next three weeks. 

But I am an adult now. I need to learn how to remain productive even when the temptation to rot in bed is at its strongest. I also need to be able to prove my sister wrong (I hate it when she’s right more than I hate being cold in the morning — which is a lot). 

So I’ve devised a plan of sorts to keep myself on track this winter break. I am predicting it to be absolutely fool-proof, and that I will not have to eat my words when I revisit this article next quarter to see how well I’ve stuck with it. 

The first step: setting alarms. Obviously, I can’t be productive if I’m sleeping all day. So naturally the first thing I need to do is wake up. And sure, do I always sleep through my alarms? Yes. But this alarm will be a special alarm. I will be employing my father for the task. He already does a splendid job at waking me up at the crack of dawn, drilling it into my head that I’m lazy and we’ve got things to do! So this break, I am determined to actually wake up when he barges in and sets my dog on me.

Next, I would really like to start my days off with some light reading. And no, I do not mean Wattpad or any other type of fanfiction for that matter. There are three books I plan on reading this break, in no particular order: “All About Love” by bell hooks, “Alone with You in the Ether” by Olivie Blake, and “Writers & Lovers” by Lily King. The latter two were recommended by a dear friend whose recommending strategy is really just pestering me to read these books at every given chance. Well, she is in luck, because this winter break, I swear to read all three of them! Maybe now she’ll stop yelling at me.

Reading is going to be one of my top priorities this break, but I also must focus on some very important research coming up for me. Not to toot my own horn, but I’ve been approved to do an honors thesis this year, and that means there are several other books I must read in preparation for my thesis. So, as I inevitably stay up to ungodly hours of the night, I will not fall down rabbit holes on YouTube, but rather, I will conduct critical research on the Latin word cinaedus. (I haven’t read any of the books I promised my professor I did, which means I really need to follow through with this.)

To ensure that I don’t just spend all my time inside, rotting away as I read and research, I will also be forcing myself to keep up with yoga this break. I mean, I don’t have that Corepower subscription for nothing, right? (Try telling that to the last three classes I haven’t gone to…) Yoga is a great and mindful way for me to keep in touch with my body, to make sure she’s getting some movement during the cold months when I wish I could hibernate like a bear. It’ll help that my mother also loves yoga and can tag along with me for a week, which is the length of the free trial at Corepower. Now that I think about it … I could even do yoga at home! This will go perfectly. 

And last but not least, I absolutely, one hundred percent plan on touching some grass. You know when you go through a spiral episode so intense, when you get so far up your own a– about school and friends and work and the future, that you genuinely cannot see what’s right in front of you? I tend to hit that rock-bottom point midway through finals week, meaning winter break will be the perfect opportunity to reconnect with nature. I’ll take a daily hot girl walk outside. I’ll take a look out at the view from my house over the Bay, and breathe in the fresh air. If I can manage to ignore the cow poop, it will be perfect and beautiful. 

I want it to be known: I am writing this article, not only for my selfish reasons of holding myself accountable but to prove to all you dedicated readers of The UCSD Guardian that being productive over winter break is possible! Not that any of you would want to be productive — as a matter of fact, why am I writing this article again? Oh, right! To prove my sister wrong. Look out for an update article next quarter, where I talk about how I completely exceeded my expectations and had a splendidly productive winter break. 

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About the Contributor
Hana Tobias, Photographer
Hana is a fourth year Cognitive Science major.
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