Holidays are often a good time to get stuck into your study, to catch up or even to start a course. This can prove difficult when trying to get motivated, particularly after a tough year. Let’s face it, there haven’t been any tougher years than 2021!

No doubt you probably want to just put your feet up, get cracking on that well matured bottle of red and binge every streaming service you can (tip: check out “Ted Lasso”).  As a professional investigator (or indeed trainee investigator) you never know when the work is going to come in. Experienced investigators working sub-contract know they have to ‘make hay while the sun shines.’

As a student, it’s probably best not to let your studies completely slide.

Here’s five essential things for you to focus on over the Christmas break.

1  Rest up! 

Holidays are for a reason. This year was a difficult year with lockdowns, home schooling, mandates, working from home, Zoom fatigue and a whole host of challenges. Christmas 2021 will be a time to rest and recuperate, spend time with family and reconnect with friends. Don’t beat yourself up for having a well-earned rest.

2  Get yourself organised

Have a plan for what you are going to achieve during your break. Set aside some time (after you’ve recharged) to ease back into a study schedule. Importantly, try not to write off the entire holiday period then find yourself scrambling to get caught up when work recommences. For example, if you’ve got five weeks off, perhaps think about having the first two weeks rest free of any study and the remaining weeks set aside to build up your hours gradually. Figure out the time that best works for you; morning, afternoon or night. Try and get into a routine.

3  Get ahead while you can (if you can)

If you have some spare time, think about using this time to actually skip ahead with your studies. This could take the load off you later on and – who knows – you may be able to finish that certificate to start the new year!

4  Start to invest in your own knowledge

I wasn’t completely joking when I recommended streaming service  bingeing. The holidays are a great time to watch, read and research investigation, whether that’s Law and Order SVU or any one of the hundreds of documentaries (I can recommend “Making a Murderer’ and “The Staircase”). There are also many great non-fiction books worth reading about investigation and investigative practice.

It’s also a good time to look at the many micro-credential courses available (check out our skip tracing course at www.pica.edu.au/skiptracing). These are short, video-based courses that can provide you with important knowledge and skills.

5  Set your goals

Take the holiday time to think about where you want to be and how you are going to get there. Do you want to be a licensed investigator by     the middle of the new year? Do you want to get a government investigation job? Apart from studying, what else do you need to do?

This is a good time to look at professional associations and networks like the Australian Institute of Professional Investigators (AIPI), the Australian Association of Workplace Investigators (AAWI), the World Association of Detectives (WAD) and many similar organisations.

Probably the worst thing you can do is nothing. It’s likely you’ll regret it if all you have at the end of the holidays is a hangover, a few extra kilo’s and a mountain of study to catch up on. A bit of planning and preparation will see you start off next year on a positive and productive note.