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As you head towards the end of the spring semester, (and if you haven’t already), now is a good time to plan for the summer and begin plans for the fall. Yes, I know. You are really busy right now. Still, it is possible to focus on this semester AND get a head start on what comes next.

My advice for making the most of your summer? Start planning now to take at least three breaks. If you have to work most of the summer (full-time or part-time), planning breaks in advance gives you something to look forward to and helps ensure that you take valuable time to have fun and recharge.

First, plan for some fun and relaxation at the beginning and end of the summer.

I once heard about a study that said the optimal commuting time to work is 30 minutes. That time span allows you to get ready for your work day before it starts and put it aside after its done without the negative effects of a long commute. I think the same principle works for summer breaks. Whether you are studying, working or volunteering, take at least some time to transition into and out of your summer.

Next, with the fun part in place, you can use mid summer to finish planning for your fall.  For example, to you want to apply to colleges in the fall? Mid summer, draft a calendar of deadlines and key application components. Returning to school? Review your requirements and draft your course schedule and work plans for the year. Not sure what you will be doing in the fall? Gather information about your options, including people who might help you. The relaxed, summer you may surprise you with some creative and efficient ideas for you.

Finally, if you don’t have plans for the rest of the summer. Here are some tips on planning for summer break: