When the Christmas holidays came about in my final year of the IB, I expected them to go something like this:
In reality, they ended up being a little bit more like this…
The problem with Christmas is that the list of things to procrastinate with suddenly starts to spiral out of control. There’s presents to wrap, cakes to make, cards to write, turkeys to bake and that’s even before you’ve thought about what you are going to by your random 2nd cousins who are coming to Christmas dinner this year.
Even worse is that fact that procrastinating at Christmas doesn’t even feel like procrastinating. It feels like actual hard work you’ve got to get done!
This is how my Christmas holidays pretty much went in both my first and my second year of the diploma. And then, in year two, I work up on boxing day with a wave of horror. My mocks were 2 weeks away and I’d done pretty much 0.
Getting over that Christmas slump
This realisation that I’d just been sitting around eating quality streets and watching Christmas specials hit me pretty hard, especially when I took a look at the amount of biology I had planned to do. My IA lay in a pile of ‘nearly’ finished work, and my knowledge of plant science still amounted to nothing. Not ideal when I had a test on all the compulsory papers coming up.
(Close visual representation of me at Christmas)
So how did I get myself out of my turkey induced lethargy? I had a few clever tricks up my sleeve to help me out!
While fear is a pretty good motivator in itself (isn’t it crazy the work ethic you suddenly find when deadlines are staring you in the face?) I think it isn’t always the most productive way to work. When I was just chasing a deadline, my work was never really of an amazing standard. Instead, I found it super helpful to remember why I was doing the IB in the long run. Why had I chosen to do this to myself? Things like an offer from a university, or a career goal really help me and a lot of my friends motivate ourselves to get working!
I quickly realised that I wasn’t going to get everything I needed to do done. I just hadn’t left myself enough time.
While this wasn’t ideal, I knew it wasn’t the end of the world. I needed to not beat myself up about it but instead try to work productively with the time I had left.
To do this, I decided to be particularly targeted in what I was going to work on. Biology was one of my higher levels and a subject I was having trouble with. I decided, therefore, to focus a lot of my energy into getting biology sorted. That way, when school started again, I’d be up to speed with everything, and able to get on learning my options.
Another thing I did was start working in my local library. Sometimes I’d branch out into a local coffee shop, but mostly I preferred the quiet of the library. It was crazy how much that improved my productivity. Out of my house, where there were constant distractions, and in a calm environment I was able to get so much more done.
Sometimes, I would even go to the library with a friend who lived near me. Because of all the imposing signs that ask for silence, you don’t end up talking that much, but you have a coffee break/lunch buddy there when you need it. It also removes some of the fomo it’s so easy to feel when you’re a studying….
Do something productive thing
Another thing I did, which was infinitely helpful, was go on a Lanterna Winter Course. They let me go over EVERYTHING I needed to know if just two days, but also helpfully forced me to work. If you are interested in coming along this winter, check out our website here for more information. Places are very limited now, though, so make sure you book soon!