Friday, April 24, 2009

The art of the study break #1 - name your break

Mastering the art of the study break is one of the more important strategies in terms of helping you maintain your energy, focus, and motivation over the long term.

I believe that the first step is knowing what kind of break you want/need, so that you take just enough of a break to help you re-energize, without getting too distracted.

So to help you think about this... here is my arbitrary taxonomy of study breaks:

Mini-break: a quick (five minutes or less) diversion from your work. This is most useful for those moments when you realize you are trying to read or write but that you have lost your concentration. This is the brief trip to a YouTube video or a very quick email check or something similar that simply helps you refocus on something other than your work... and then you bring that focus back to the work.

Medium break: 30-60 minutes away from the work. Use this when you aren't completely out of energy and focus, but need to step away to refuel. This might be a walk, a workout, an hour of tv or whatever.

My brain needs a rest! This is a half-day or full day respite. Take this break when you feel completely saturated or exhausted. Reflect on what kind of break will most help you refuel -- is it a long hike, lunch and shopping with a friend, a day at the ballpark, an afternoon on the sofa with snacks and favorite movies? Whatever it is, do what you love!

Vacation! Self-explanatory.

See you tomorrow for Saturday morning cartoon. And back on Monday with The art of the study break #2!


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