5 Steps To Plan A Productive Gap Year
June 10, 2018
Written by Barry Sun
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great way is to love what you do.”
– Steve Jobs
The key to a successful and productive gap year is to start planning early on what you want to accomplish during your time off.
Step 1. Determine the purpose of your gap year
The first thing you should ask yourself is why do you want to take a gap year? Do you want to travel and explore the world? Or do you think college is not a good fit for you and you want to spend some time exploring your interests? After you determine the purpose of your gap year, you will also need to consider the length of your gap year.
Most people take a year off from school to explore their interests. Some take a semester off to avoid burning out from school. Whatever your gap year’s length may be, set yourself a date to return to college (or not). A majority of colleges will let you defer your admission for up to 1 year. If you are already in college and decide to take a gap year, you might have to reapply. However, this varies from college to college. For example, my college requires you to reapply if you have taken over 45 credit hours.
Step 2. Plan your gap year in advance
Once you determine the purpose of your gap year and length, you will need to start planning it out in advance. For example, if you plan to start your gap year when summer break begins, start planning for it in spring.
There are tons of things to do during your gap year. From traveling the world and immersing into different cultures. Or gaining work experience and saving up for college at the same time. Just make sure to start planning everything in advance. If you want to travel abroad then start applying for your passport. If you want to gain work experience then start researching and applying to job listings.
Step 3. Decide on what you want to accomplish during your gap year
If you are not sure what to do during your gap year. Sit down, make yourself a nice cup of tea or coffee, and make a list of things that you accomplish. Go online and check out gap year blogs and videos to find inspiration.
Set yourself achievable short term and long term goals for your gap year. Hold yourself accountable for those goals. What do you want accomplish during your gap year? Do you want to learn a new language? Or learn how to cook for yourself and save money eating out?
For Inspiration on what to do during your gap year, check out the link below.
Step 4. Set a budget for your gap year
Budgeting is a way of being intentional of how you spend your money. You are in control of your money not the other way around. Budgeting relieves the stress of suddenly not having enough money to do what you want to do. If you plan to travel during your gap year then start estimating how much airfare, accommodation, food, visas, and entertainment cost ahead of time. If you don’t have enough money saved up to travel, but want to. Think about getting a part-time job to help fund your travels. Or utilize workaway to trade work for accommodation and food.
For more budget tips, check out the link below.
Step 5. Create a morning routine for your gap year
We have a limited amount of will power and decision making ability every day. If you start your day by making too many decisions your brain will get tired and slow you down. Instead create a morning routine that will maximize your productivity. I plan my morning routine/schedule the night before.
Before I got my morning routine down. For many years I would use to wake up, and go on my phone to check snapchat or instagram for over an hour. After checking my phone and staying in my bed for over an hour. I would sluggishly take a shower or eat breakfast, and feel lazy to do important tasks.
Now when I wake up, I habitually start my morning routine and this momentum of productivity would take over me. My own personal morning routine looks like this, during this routine, I also play an audiobook on my speaker. This is also very similar to a to-do list, once you get used to it, it become routine.
1. Wake up at or before 7:00 am, don’t stay in bed or look at your phone
2. Feed my dog Nikko
3. Make my bed
4. Journal 3 things I am grateful for
5. Record my dreams
6. Take my vitamins and eat breakfast (carbs)
7. Walk my dog for 20 minutes at 7:45 am
8. Cold Shower
9. Drink a tall glass of cold water
10. Stretch for 5 minutes and go to the gym at 8:30 am
11. Mindful meditation for 5 minutes
12. Second breakfast (fats)
13. Clean up, wash dishes, etc
14. Start working on my to-do list for the day