Best Ways to be Effective During Time Off

Person sitting on a bed, eating popcorn out of a bowl
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One of the best parts of Thanksgiving is having a couple of days (or a week) off school. You have been working so hard—preparing for exams writing essays; and now some sweet, glorious freedom. We all know that all of the homework you SHOULD be doing, WON’T get done until the night before returning back to classes. Finally you have time to binge watch season two of Stranger Things.

While I am all for taking some time to kick back and relax, I also recognize the value of time. It’s important to find balance between hard work and recreation. So in the spirit of finding balance, what productive things can we do during time off? The list is individualized for each person, but let me give you some ideas of what steps you can take this week towards your career.

Update Your Resume and Portfolio

During the busy weeks of the semester, it can be difficult to stay on top of keeping your resume current. You have potentially changed jobs or at least responsibilities and hopefully have added to your resume. Maybe you completed an assignment or work project that you want to include in your portfolio? By taking some time to update your resume and portfolio, you are setting yourself up for success in the future. Also did I mention that many companies are trying to fill internships for spring at this time of year? Don’t get caught unprepared and take an hour or two to set yourself up.

Read a Book

Something that I am not particularly good at is reading (especially outside of textbooks and blog articles). Having a prolonged period of time off is a wonderful to pick up a book at the library and expand your knowledge. An article from Psychology Today, shared a study that said “Becoming engrossed in a novel enhances connectivity in the brain and improves brain function. Interestingly, reading fiction was found to improve the reader’s ability to put themselves in another person’s shoes and flex the imagination in a way that is similar to the visualization of a muscle memory in sports.”

Reach out to Friends and Contacts

We all have that friend who we want to talk to more often, but oftentimes get too busy to do so. During your time off, consider calling or visiting them. It’s important to kindle real relationships with the people around us because after all is said and done, relationships are what can remain. This applies to professional contacts you have met, but done poorly at staying in touch with. Reach out to them and wish them well or perhaps recommend a good book (see what I did there?). Also write thank you notes…especially if you haven’t thanked people for wedding gifts they sent…

Find a Peaceful Moment

This final suggestion seems to contradict with the rest of the article, but what I am trying to get at is the importance of meditation, pondering and introspection. Taking time away from distractions, in an environment that is peaceful, can help you reduce stress levels and prioritize your life. It may also lead you to good ideas, increased creativity and help you be happier in general.

—Wrap Up—

Whatever it is you decide to do with your time off is something you have to decide. I will definitely spend some time this week watching Suits with my wife; but I will also take this time to recreate my resume, finish some video editing projects and email some professional contacts.

What is it you’ll be doing with your time off this week? Comment below and offer some suggestions on how you stay productive.


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