Your brain is constantly working, whether you’re cramming for a deadline, doing research or simply going about your daily activities, your mind never stop processing information. Our brains need occasional break – not only to store and categorize the newly acquired information, but also to get ready for the next round of data intake. Studying without breaks can be very taxing on your brain making you much less efficient and unproductive. Here are a few practical tips on how to effectively use study breaks to improve your learning.
1. Make a Schedule (And Stick to It)
Schedule your study time and include a 15-minute break at least every hour. When on a break, keep up with your schedule – in today’s reality filled with many opportunities for procrastination like Facebook and Twitter, you’ll need your schedule to get you back on track. Having your study planned ahead not only helps to organize your study material, but also gives a welcome promise of a regular time-off.
Video: How to Study Effectively – A Few Quick Tips
2. Snack Your Break Away
When on a break, it’s a great idea to prepare some delicious treats to get your mind off your study subjects. Don’t think about fast food, potato chips or chocolate cake – it’s best to eat a healthy, light meal that won’t negatively affect your concentration (or your stomach). When it’s not mealtime, resort to healthy snacks – nuts, fruit, or a yogurt should do the trick.
3. Exercise Your Body
Take a moment to exercise – this will refresh not only your body, but the brain as well, making your study time even more effective. Try to sit still and take a few deep breaths, stretch your arms, stand up and do a quick cardio session to get your blood flowing through your body and straight to your brain! If you’re not up to it, you can stay by your desk – you can still do some tricep dips or step ups by your chair. It’s best to move around though – sitting position is definitely not beneficial in the long run.
4. Let Your Mind Wander
Take a moment to think about things completely unrelated to what you’re studying. You can grab a magazine or a book to get your imagination going. The best way to get your mind off your study is to take a walk – some fresh air can only do you good as the intake of oxygen will stimulate your brain for much more efficient studying. It’s great to schedule these things – if your friends meet for a coffee every day at a specific hour, mark it on your schedule and join them to relax your mind and gossip over a delicious mocacino.
5. Reward Yourself
Try to keep yourself alert by prospective rewards like this: if I finish Chapter 1, I can spend 10 minutes browsing through Facebook or my favorite website. By rewarding yourself after completing a given task, you will automatically structure your study time. Studying a small portion of information at a time is the best strategy – by taking regular breaks, you’ll make sure that you never stay in front of your books or computer for too long.
Kelly Smith works at CourseFinder.com.au, an Australian online courses resource. She also provides career advice for students and job seekers and works as a freelance writer.