It’s officially that time of year. The time to cozy up inside with friends and family and reminisce about old memories while making new ones. The holidays are just around the corner and it’s the perfect time for family bonding and a wonderful opportunity to disconnect from everyday stresses while reconnecting with what really matters.

We spend so much time and effort preparing ourselves for the future. We go to school to get an education, in order to enter the workforce, in order to provide financially for ourselves and our families in the future. We carry on towards these goals, and we lose track of what is important. We forget that the most cherished gift we can give our family is time.

Amid the busyness of the season, we discover this essential reminder that the most important part of the holidays is to spend quality time with those you love. But it can be especially difficult to balance the already hard to manage school-life balance when there are so many added opportunities and a greater desire to spend time with family during this season. So how can you make family time a top priority, and still keep the up the momentum to study? Managing the multiple demands can be challenging, but you can be successful if you keep a few tips in mind:

Get organized

Build a schedule that incorporates time for studying and time for family. Involve your family in this process and plan school and work schedules first, then sit together to plan out the time you have to spend together. Find more time with one another by building family time into everyday tasks like grocery shopping, cooking dinner, cleaning and decorating for the holidays, walking the dog, etc. Be careful that you’re realistic with the schedule, though. If you need an hour to get something finished, budget an hour of time and stick to it, don’t try to get it done in 30 minutes. You’ll be rewarded when you can feel at ease later on while spending quality time with loved ones, rather than stressing about the quality of work you rushed through earlier.

Use your support system

Remember, your family wants you to do well, and they can help you stick to your goals. Discuss your expectations for school with your family, and inform them about your schedule. That way, everyone knows when you can’t be disturbed and when they can expect your full attention.

Be where you are

Don’t worry about what you aren’t doing. Stay focused when you’re studying, and don’t let schoolwork interfere with quality family time. You could suggest to your family that you choose a day to have a family night – every week. When it’s family night, there are just two rules: 1) Be there. 2) No work.

Adopting these tips into your family’s routine can improve your ability to maintain a good school-life balance all through the holidays and into the new year ahead. Research indicates that you don’t need to sacrifice one for the other, because families who spend time together share stronger emotional bonds, and spending time together fosters a sense of belonging and enhanced communication, and is associated with higher academic performance. So this season when you give your family the cherished gift of time, you’re really giving them (and yourself) much, much more.