Holidays – a time with nothing to do but relax from the chaos of school. As lovely as the term break was, with the first week of term two out of the way – welcome back to Macleans! Getting back into the flow of academics and extracurriculars is no easy feat with holiday inertia trying to drag you back, but a new term doesn’t have to be complete chaos from day one. Setting into a realistic routine and productive environment from the beginning can help set the tone for the remaining nine weeks, and make that back-to-school transition just a bit easier.

Create a schedule

At Macleans, a new term means students often hit the ground running with classes, especially with seniors as they get back onto “the grind” with AS, A2 levels, and NCEA. Not only this but there is an expectation to balance it with extracurriculars and personal life.

As a result, scheduling and organising yourself on the go as things go full swing so be sure to do so before you get busy with set workloads. This will give you a daily agenda and hold you accountable for the tasks at hand.

Best of all, creating a schedule is simple (like ABC!) – anyone can do it with just a few steps:

  1. Collect your tasks down on a piece of paper, notebook or device
  2. Make a plan on how to complete each task
  3. Block out realistic times for completing tasks
  4. Space out breaks in between work – get up and move!

For a more in-depth discussion regarding creating schedules, have a look into this article (

Create a productive workspace

“I’ll do it later” – the deadly four-word phrase used by many to put off their work. In addition to creating a schedule that keeps you accountable, it is also imperative to have an ergonomic workspace that provides a comfortable environment without clutter.

It is no good to have an outline of what you want to do if you lose focus due to your environment. Similarly, there is no use in having the best workspace in the world if a user does not have a clear agenda of what they will be doing. These two factors go hand in hand.

An ergonomic workspace goes beyond a comfortable chair and a functional desk; it involves creating an environment that promotes productivity and well-being. This means eliminating clutter, ensuring proper lighting, and arranging tools and resources in an organised manner.

Consider ridding your desk of any clutter like trash or books, papers and stationery just lying around and taking up excess space for starters. Then, begin customising your desk to keep everything neatly arranged while keeping necessities within reach. You can even let your creativity run free with decor, inspiring focus and motivation.

Decluttering your workspace and investing in organisation minimises visual distractions, allowing for improved focus and concentration on tasks. Furthermore, a tidy environment promotes mental clarity, reducing stress and overwhelm.

But most important of all, keep your phone out of reach. The old adage, “out of sight, out of mind” rings true. While you can get away with doing work alongside the distraction of social media, time is scarce during the school term. Hence, derailing your concentration is a waste of valuable time so minimising access to these digital distractions will allow students to allocate their limited time more efficiently, maximising productivity.

Connect with your friends and classmates

As daunting as a new term may seem, it does not have to be work, work and more work 24/7. Consider taking a break on the weekends and having a social outing with friends. Or perhaps integrate connecting with others into school responsibilities with study groups. After all, you’re all in this together (High School Musical reference not intended) – it’s little activities like these that take some of the load from work off and keep you sane.

Take care of yourself

Let’s be real, school can get overwhelming at times, especially when it comes to trying to get out of the holiday slump with exams gradually approaching. School is indeed important but your well-being should be of greatest concern above all else. In the midst of chaos, it is crucial not to lose sight of yourself with deadlines everywhere.

Remember to take breaks, indulge in the activities you enjoy and prioritise self-care to maintain a healthy and sustainable work-life balance.

3rd May, 2024
Written by Aaron Huang, edited by Emma Li
Photo by Kimberly Farmer on Unsplash

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