How to plan the "perfect" gap year (aka how to create structure!) with CanGap Ambassador Claire
Updated: Jul 15
Claire - 00:00
If you are taking a Gap Year right now and you're finding it difficult to structure your time, or you're considering taking a Gap Year and you're worried about how you're going to be able to structure your time without school, then this video is for you.
Welcome back to the Canadian Gap Year Association YouTube channel. My name is Claire and I'm an ambassador for the channel. I hope you enjoy this video and that it leaves you with some helpful tips for structuring your own year.
If you're feeling bad or guilty, you know about not being able to find yourself or make your own structure within this time during your Gap Year, please don't because you know when you think about it and you look at the statistics of how much time you've theoretically spent in school. You know by the time you reach 18 years old you have spent over 105,000 hours in a structured school and this school environment was not up to you and nor was the structure.
Claire - 00:53
It's very different to suddenly go from spending 8 hours a day in this structured environment and then having that amount of homework that you have to do are, you know, a task to move forward to. It's very, very different and very difficult to move from that structure to suddenly being basically on an endless summer all the time.
Now I know your students work during this time during their Gap Year and that is absolutely great. But it's for that time that you aren't doing anything where you're not constantly in school, but you're also trying to get things done that we will start to see difficulties in time management. For me, it was getting things done for me, it was, you know, I was kind of procrastinating because I didn't really give myself any pressure or any goals to work towards.
So yeah, it's completely understandable if you are struggling or you think you're going to struggle. Because yeah, when you look at it, we have spent a lot of time in a structured environment and you know, we haven't necessarily always defined that structure for ourselves in a way that's like looking at it from a third person.
Claire - 01:59
So yeah, this is what I'm going to do in this video, and I really hope it's helpful for you to structure your own Gap Year, because so far I'm finding it a pretty effective way to kind of go about life at the moment.
Alright, so the first thing that you want to do is set out some SMART goals. I'll leave a link to them what they are down in the comments, but typically I like to choose my time frame for monthly because I find that's a lot more realistic with the pacing of my Gap Year.
Now we do want to make a bit of a disclaimer. I've been saying the word SMART goals and I realized that sometimes it will actually be pretty difficult to set SMART goals if you haven't planned your Gap Year out first.
Claire - 02:48
So I'm gonna go ahead and recommend you get the Gap Year planning toolkit from the Canadian Gap Year Association. That will be a really useful guide for you for beginning your gap. Your journey and setting out your priorities within your Gap Year.
So once you've done that and you've actually started to set some SMART goals, the next thing you're gonna wanna do is establish your office hours. Now your office hours are basically the amount of time that you want to dedicate to working on your goals or do anything else productive. So what I like to do is I like to say, well, you know I'm gonna work on my goals for 32 hours a week because my job doesn't take that much time and I have lots of areas in the day where I can do work now once you've established these office hours, you need to figure out how much time everything else takes.
Claire - 03:36
So this is things like your work, your sports, your extracurriculars, how much time you want to dedicate to things that aren't your goals. Once you do this, subtract it from your office hours and then you'll find out how much time you really have to get productive work done.
So the next step after this is to make your schedule around your goals. Try and focus on your priority list and which goals are more important than others.
And then finally you want to establish how much time each week you can work on the task.
Now what I like to do is make myself a bit of an agenda like I'm in school and write out how many hours I want to dedicate to the task this week.
Claire - 04:14
For example, this week I had the task of making this video, and so I dedicated about 6 hours to it. The next thing you want to do is look at your schedule with everything else that isn't your goals and find out each week where you can slot in your goal focused work time.
So for me, I'd like to do it based on when I focus best in the day and right now I'm finding that's right after I wake up. So this past week I've been doing my video editing right after I wake up.
My tips for actually getting your structured work done is to find what works best for you by trying out different things. If you know something worked really well for you when studying for school.
Claire - 04:53
Try and employ that method, but if you actually struggled to find a way to get work done in school, then use this time to try different methods. For myself, right now I'm trying the Pomodoro method and the 321 go trick.
If you found these tips useful, why not consider liking and subscribing to the Canadian Gap Year Association YouTube channel for more? Thank you so much to our RBC Future Launch for sponsoring this video.
Take care. Have a great day and stay tuned to the Canadian Gap Year Association YouTube channel for more tips and tricks and how to have a successful gap here?