Spring break is nigh, and I just emailed my students some advice that applies to all of us.

All college students enter the gates of spring break with high hopes. They have a few hours of homework to do (hopefully not much more than that), but they have plenty of time to do it and thus no specific plan for when they’ll do it.

As the week creeps by, they often find themselves pushing the work back—I’ll do it tomorrow—and each day of spring break is less enjoyable than the last. The worst-case scenario is a long Sunday drive back to campus under a cloud of despair, hounded by the guilt that comes from having wasted something precious.

Sound familiar? We’ve all got items on our to-do lists from weeks and weeks ago that we can’t seem to tackle. Here’s the remedy:

If you really want to get something done, schedule it.

Keep a to-do list, yes, but schedule the most important or most difficult tasks for specific times. As I’ve embraced this strategy over the past year, I’ve watched my productivity increase substantially while my stress levels have fallen. If something’s hanging over your head, grab your calendar and assign it to a time in the next few days.

And like a student returning to campus after a relaxing and productive spring break, you’ll be glad you did.