Your spring break project could be to imbue Playmobil figures with souls. Photo by flickr user orangeacid. Photo licensed under CC BY 2.0.

I haven’t usually been one to head south during spring break. My freshman year, Lesinski and I took an epic road trip around the states of California and Nevada. My sophomore year, I did a project on campus. Both my junior and senior year, I went to South by Southwest, where it rained. This year, I’m heading out to New York. I think I’m doing it wrong.

But times are tough. Plane tickets are expensive. Maybe it would be better to travel during the summer instead. If you’re hanging around campus or just going home, spring break is a great time to get started (and perhaps finish) that one project that has been bugging you.

Here are some tips.

Plan – 1 Day

Obivously, the first thing to do will be to decide exactly what you want to do. Lifehacker has a great list of DIY weekend projects. Or maybe you would like to do something a little more electronic. Start a blog? Or a Web show? Who knows? With 5 days and not much to do, the sky’s the limit.

During your first day of the project, which will probably be the first Sunday of spring break, you need to plan out exactly what you’re going to do. At this point, chronology is not important. Just like in GTD, you want to break down every single task as much as possible. You should have a laundry list of things to do by the end. Let’s take a look at the blog for example.

First, we start off with our goal: “I’m going to start a blog this spring break.” Next we ask, “What do I need to do to get a blog online?” A few things that you might respond with would be buy a domain name, research blog hosting platforms (or just go with our favorite, Squarespace) and figure out a title for each blog. Then you’ll need to write some posts. Then you’ll need to reach out to other blogs. And so on and so on. Try to make a list of 100 different things to do. Reward yourself with a beer.

Execute – 5 Days

Over the next 5 days, your task will be to execute on that laundry list you’ve assembled for yourself. It’s easy, start at the top and work towards the bottom. Who’d have thought?

Here is a great point to mention your sanity. Breaking up the work over the week does not mean that you should work 10 hours a day on this project. Keep yourself sane. This is your spring break. Work from 10 ’til 4 and then grab dinner with friends. Go out but make sure you don’t knock yourself out of commission for the next day. You’ll inevitably have friends sticking around campus as well, so take advantage of that. Get into a groove for the week and stick to it.

You will be surprised at how much you can get done in 5 days!

Assess – 1 Day

The second weekend of spring break will be a great time to assess your project. With the example of our blog, you’ll need to decide if you enjoyed the process. Can you continue doing it week in and week out? Or was it just not that interesting to you? Or has the blogging fire been permanently placed under your buttocks? It’s important to asses progress a day or two before you return to school mode. If you’ve just created a new hobby for yourself, it’s important to stick with it!

Hell, I got plenty done on HackCollege my sophomore year during spring break!

Are you sticking close to campus for spring break? What will your project be?