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LEARNING HACKS Breaks while working are important – we all know that. Our brain needs this time to switch off and regenerate. But what most people do not know is that they are often done wrong and have a counterproductive effect on the learning process. You wonder how to do this? Read on and find out.
I used to do the opposite of “healthy breaks”, so to speak, or rather: I hardly took any of them at all. Even today, I still find it difficult to tear myself away from tasks because I think that after an interruption I can no longer find motivation to work. But that’s not because I’m taking a break at all, but because I’m doing the break wrong.
The right concentration of motivation
I hear from many friends that they hang around all day on YouTube until they remember at about 10 pm that they have to prepare an important paper for school tomorrow. So they work through the night. Not really a good basis for a paper. Although my own unhealthy ambition wasn’t really any better.
I wasn’t under time pressure, I was so obsessed with certain tasks that my parents had to ‘force’ me to stop working. I felt trapped in a vicious circle. On top of that came frustration because something didn’t work out the way I wanted it to. So I became more and more unhappy and insisted even more on finally finding a solution. This behaviour was very counterproductive for my work success and brought me the opposite of what I actually wanted.
Two extremes: too much and too little motivation. And both lead to an unhealthy work style through wrong ‘taking breaks’. I admit: I am not an expert – even after 11 years of school. So I still often ask myself:
Is it even possible to take a proper break?
Yes! To make the most of it you should follow these tips:
Plan your rests. Set time limits for yourself, which you should roughly follow. Not all breaks need to be the same length. After two hours at the latest, there should also be a longer break of at least 15 minutes.
Tip: This all sounds very rigid, but believe me: a well-structured work plan sometimes works wonders. Nevertheless, listen to your gut feeling and don’t work until you’re completely exhausted because your plan doesn’t provide for a restyet. In time you will get the hang of it and you will be able to assess yourself and your performance better.
Breaks are a central part of learning. Realize that they are good for your learning success, but also use them as motivation. For example, you can say to yourself: “Only 10 more minutes, then there will be a 5-minute break! When the 10 minutes are over, you will be all the happier and know to appreciate the interruption.
Reward yourself after the hard work. Let go mentally and put all your knowledge to one side. Drink something, open the window, do some sports. The important thing is to get away from your rigid desk position and take the strain off your eyes. Sorry, YouTube videos, you have to stay outside!
Don’t overdo your breaks. I know the feeling. At some point, you’re gonna break the time limit. Even if at that moment you try to find as many excuses as possible to extend the rest for another 5 minutes, you’re just dragging everything out. Either you completely lose concentration on the task or you don’t start at all. One should rather avoid both, although I too like to talk to my inner bastard. It helps me then to put myself before an ultimatum: Either you continue right now, Maja, or your next break is cut to two minutes.
Finished your break? Find out more about your perfect learning routine here.
For more good advice look at https://www.onlineschools.org/science-of-study-breaks/. Apart from that, I really hope that these tips will help you get ahead, at least they have led me to a good learning and working atmosphere. But in the end everybody knows himself best and has to develop his own learning concept over time. And until then: Hold on!