The school year is over, which means summer break has finally rolled around once again. Say hello to longer days, warmer nights, and a much-needed rest from all things school. This time of year is easy to get caught up in and with it comes a lack of motivation. Luckily, no one is alone in the search for this motivation, so here are some things you can do to improve your productivity during the summer months.

Create a Routine

Creating a routine to follow every day encourages you to complete simple tasks that are often overlooked (waking up at an appropriate time, making your bed, cooking breakfast, etc.). This, in turn, makes following through with commitments into a habit. A routine also allows you to easily allocate time for extra responsibilities because you will know when you will be able to fit them into your schedule between your usual routinely tasks.

Make Lists

Lists are written off as lame, but they have always been my key to staying organized. Lists are a visual reminder of what tasks need to be completed, leaving no responsibility forgotten. They also give you the satisfaction of being able to physically check them off once they've been done, showing the progress in your work. Personally, my favourite thing to use is the Reminders app on the iPhone, which allows me to dedicate multiple lists to things that must be done, like homework, groceries, or appointments.

Reward Yourself

It can certainly be difficult to get the ball rolling when it comes to being productive. Sometimes, it can be especially hard to follow through with something once you've started—don't even ask me when this article was supposed to be due! Something that will surely see you through to the end is the promise of reward. There is nothing wrong with treating yourself for getting a tedious task done; it gives you something to look forward to and encourages you to finish faster. 

Self Care

Of course, you must be sure not to burn yourself out. You can't function on little sleep, an unhealthy diet, and hardly any 'me time'. Self care is independent of rewarding yourself—it's the time you set aside to check in with yourself to make sure you're in the right headspace. It can be very easy to miss signs of work-induced stress and anxiety until you're deep into a downward spiral. Make a habit of checking in with yourself to make sure all is well before pushing forward.

Some ways you can practice self care are by seeing your friends for coffee, doing light exercise, working on a hobby, or finding anything that works for you to reduce stress. Self care looks different to every person so experiment!

At the end of the day, the most anyone can do is their best. "Your best" does not translate into being over-worked, over-stressed, and overwhelmed. The summer months are meant to be enjoyed, so don't forget to live it up as much as you can before the next school year rolls around!