Whether you’re studying for a big exam or working on an assignment, taking study breaks is a must. Your brain is like any other muscle, it can’t run a marathon without pacing itself. Even though it may seem counter-intuitive to stop working, forcing yourself to take a ten minute break might actually make you more productive.
I will admit that there are times when I’ve just found my groove and my alarm goes off, letting me know it’s time for a study break. When that happens, the last thing I want to do is take a break but it really is important. Even if the only break you take it standing up and going for a short walk around the library before sitting back down, you need that break.
Finish your sentence or finish your thought, then put the pen down and walk away.
Now, I’m not saying that you should take ten minutes to go on social media. That’s not a productive break. These breaks shouldn’t be used as a procrastination method or as a way to avoid doing the work. These breaks should be used to give your brain a second to relax, not to shut down completely.
It’s important to use these breaks wisely. That’s one of the reasons you should limit the time span of your break. Don’t completely disengage from the work you’re doing, just give yourself some time to think about something else.
One of the most important tips I have regarding your study break is to set an actual timer. Don’t trust your ability to feel out how long you’ve been on your break, set an alarm to remind you when it’s time to go back to work and stick with it.
On your break, consider doing things like:
- taking a walk (or any light physical activity)
- having a dance party
- cleaning up your study space
- chatting with a friend
- checking your text messages (only if you have the willpower to put the phone away again afterwards)
- eating a healthy snack
- preparing your dinner/lunch (this may be a longer break than 10-20 minutes)
- coffee run
On your break, you shouldn’t be:
- checking Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or any social media accounts
- watching Netflix
- catching up on your youtube subscriptions
- eating junk food
- replying to all your text messages (don’t start a million conversations before you go back to studying, check your phone quickly to see if anyone urgently needs you and then put it away again)
- taking a nap (while you might think taking a nap is going to rejuvenate you and make you more energized, it won’t. Of course this varies for everyone, but even a quick power nap is more likely to disorientate you then keep you on track to continue studying)