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Ways to Stay Productive During Winter Break

For many families and youth, it is the time of year to take a break from school and work.

While this might seem like a great time to catch up on sleep, you don’t want to waste opportunities for personal growth by sleeping away the entire vacation.

Sure, take some time to relax and have fun, but there are plenty of productive things to do during your winter break.


To begin, take some time to reflect on this past quarter, whether in school or at work.

Do you feel like you met your personal, spiritual, and professional goals? Be honest with yourself.

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Please take out some pen and paper or use your phone’s notepad, think about the areas you have the most room for improvement in, and write down 3 examples.

For example, you might write down “procrastination on assignments, focus in prayer, organization of work area.”

Whatever your areas are, don’t see them as weaknesses; see them as potential.

These are areas with so much potential for improvement, and right now, you have extra time to focus on them. Alhamdulillah.


Getting organized is about more than just clearing away clutter; it makes everything more efficient and easy to access, which means greater productivity.

In addition to that, an organized environment promotes calmness, aids in concentration, and can help your creativity.

Here are a few ideas for organizing.

• Use aesthetically pleasing storage solutions. If you really love blue and geometric shapes, get blue storage boxes with geometric patterns.     

Ways to Stay Productive During Winter Break - About Islam

You will be more motivated to maintain organization if you like how it looks and makes you feel.

• Vertical shelfing for smaller areas.

• Utilize filing cabinets or binders for paperwork that must be kept.

• Invest in a whiteboard for your wall or a large desk calendar.

These can be used for writing down appointments, due dates, upcoming events, and any other useful reminders.

Visual cues in your environment help keep you on track.

• If you have a busy schedule, take the time to explore phone apps related to Google Calendar, Evernote, etc.

You can set your phone to give you reminder alerts and keep you mentally organized.

This is perhaps the hardest part about organizing your home areas; you must pick up after yourself to keep it that way.

Ways to Stay Productive During Winter Break - About Islam

If you spend a few minutes after your tasks to put things back where they belong and clean up any clutter, it saves you from having to deeply organize later.

The more you practice maintaining this type of environment, the more it becomes a habit.

Setting Goals

Set measurable and specific goals.

What I mean by measurable is that instead of saying “I will read a book over winter break,” you can say “I will read 10 chapters by this date and the remaining chapters by this date.

Give yourself actual dates and guidelines; it keeps you more accountable.

Think about what you want to accomplish and write it down.

Get out that pen and paper again, and write down at least 3 specific goals and make them detailed.

Read over your reflections and use that as inspiration. Your goals can be related to the areas you already identified as needing improvement.


When was the last time you read a book? I am not talking about reading paragraphs that were assigned to you or browsing a how-to guide; I mean really reading and immersing yourself in a book.

I will admit I am biased about reading and writing because, naturally, I am a writer.

Ways to Stay Productive During Winter Break - About Islam

Reading on a regular basis can be linked to stress reduction, cognitive development, vocabulary expansion, critical thinking, and helping you gain a deeper understanding of a subject matter.

The seeking of knowledge is beneficial foreveryone; once you find a topic or author that you enjoy, you’ll find reading can be relaxing.

“…say, “My Lord, increase me in knowledge”[Quran 20:114]


This time of year has a range of holiday celebrations, and while you may not be participating in those, you can take an idea from them that is promoted throughout Islam: charity.

Many people will tell you that this is the time of year for giving and generosity.

Ways to Stay Productive During Winter Break - About Islam

Of course, this idea is year-round, but why not use some of that extra time to do good for someone else.

While you are organizing your desk or bedroom, put any items or nice clothes you don’t wear in a box.

You will see many sales going on locally; stock up on warm socks and scarves or other needed items.

Once you have a box of items prepared, take it to a homeless shelter or the local mosque.

If your neighbors are elderly, offer to shovel the snow for them or rake their lawns.

“The example of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is like a seed [of grain] which grows seven spikes; in each spike is a hundred grains. And Allah multiplies [His reward] for whom He wills. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.” [Quran 2:261]

Connect to Faith

Set aside some alone time for you and your faith. This can be at the local mosque, an outdoor area, or your home, wherever you will be the most focused and relaxed.

You want to let go of what is around you and focus.

This looks different for some people; perhaps you will find that connection to Allah (the Most Revered and Most Honored) in reading Quran quietly; for others, they want to listen to a recitation while reciting along with it.

Ways to Stay Productive During Winter Break - About Islam

Some will resonate more with reading about Islamic character, while others will spend time in voluntary prayer.

Your personality is unique, so of course your worship style may differ from those around you.

There is nothing wrong with one person resonating more with dhikr while another prefers to study tafseer, both are forms of worship and beneficial to our faith.

“So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me.”[Quran 2:152]

If you have the space at home, create an area you devote to praying and worship.

Remove distractions and make it a simple space. Even a devoted corner of the room with a prayer mat and Quran.

Final Family Thoughts

Throughout all of this, while you are organizing, planning, and doing charity, do it with your family.

These are times to grow deeper together in your bonds and create lasting memories.

It is not often throughout the year that people have time off at the same time, so make the most of it and be grateful.

If the entire family works together to organize a room, then it reduces the work and promotes healthy communication as you are working as a team, inshallah.

Going out to feed the homeless with your younger siblings is more beneficial than going alone and sets a great example.

Ways to Stay Productive During Winter Break - About Islam

After spending some time connecting in worship, bring up a spiritual topic with your family and have a discussion.

Your winter break is a time to relax, unwind, and recoup, but it is also a great opportunity to focus on personal improvement, your connection to Allah (swt), and quality time with family.


The article is from our archives.

About Monique Hassan
Monique Hassan graduated with honors in 2012 with her BSc in Psychology and a minor in Biology and is certified in Crisis Prevention and Intervention. She has years of professional as well as personal experience with trauma, relationship struggles, substance abuse, identifying coping skills, conflict resolution, community outreach, and overall mental health concerns. She is a professional writer specialized in Islamic Psychology and Behavioral Health. She is also a revert who took her shahada in 2015, Alhamdulillah. You can contact Sister Monique Hassan via her website ""