When its summertime in Los Angeles, there is a lull across the whole city. Maybe it’s the 90-degree weather, or the way the palm trees look more green and the sky more blue, but it’s undeniable that the city sleeps and wakes up simultaneously. As students, the idea of school being out and summer starting is exciting for everyone. Because of this combination, I get lazier and more sluggish in the summer than during the school year when I’m getting an average of five hours of sleep. To combat this problem, I utilize the following tips to force myself off the couch during the summer.
The first tip is easier said than done. Get out of bed and/or off the couch. Just do it. I know for me to write this from the comfort of my bed is rather ironic, but I have found that limiting the time I spend on my bed or my couch has helped me tremendously. If I know I have an hour on the couch to watch TV or be on my laptop, I tend to be more productive. Once I’m out, I get bored, meaning that I am more inclined to run or get ice cream, although it’s more often the latter.
The second tip is in the same realm, but it’s way harder. Wake up at a designated time. I normally wake up at 6:30, the same time I wake up during the school year, in the summer. I gave myself a week right after school ended to wake up as late as I wished, and while those days were glorious, I found that I became lazier and lazier the later I woke up. So I decided to set an alarm and get back to my normal routine.
The idea of having a routine or being productive all comes down to one thing: having a purpose. In the morning when I wake up, I go out to run. Since LA gets unbearably hot after 10, running in the cool morning breeze before the rest of the world wakes up is beautiful. It sucks, mind you, especially getting up and getting out, but once you hit that point in the run when you sweat, the feeling of “maybe I’m getting my life together” is incomparable, at least for the duration of that run.
This one is a no-brainer and has been listed in every article on how to be productive during the summer, but find a job! An internship! Anything that gets you routinely outside of your house for a reason that can develop you intellectually or physically or emotionally is great! In the educational realm, many parents worry that students who don’t continue learning in the summer will fall behind. I always thought that same concern should apply to adults as well, perhaps even more so. Kids at least will return to school, which means their learning is only on a brief hiatus. For adults or even college students, that continuous learning process doesn’t have the promise of forever as it does for younger students. Bettering yourself, whether that be through work, an internship, or volunteering, will bridge that gap.
Summer is the time to tackle everything on your mental list of “I would do this if I had more time.” This season has so much time that we often don’t know what to do with it. So start on the book, develop that app, or go to that exhibition. This is the perfect time to tackle all of all the things you procrastinated throughout the school year. For me that’s writing, because I always hold off on writing for personal pleasure until I’ve completed everything else on my checklist. So I’ve forced myself to write a bit every day, and I feel both liberated and proud. It seems like I’m taking my dream into my hands and palpably forming it into reality as we speak.
The summer slump gets the best of everyone, but it’s actually healthy to give yourself that break for recuperation purposes. However, if that slump becomes a more consistent state, you might have entered the danger zone. So relax (within reason) and work (within reason). By the time you return to school, you’ll have undeniable feelings of utter pride and satisfaction that no amount of green palm trees or Netflix binge sessions can give you.