Why Taking Breaks While Studying are Beneficial

Especially with finals week right around the corner, we aim to be more productive in order to not waste any time. A lot of us believe in chugging coffee or energy drinks and gluing ourselves to our laptops, textbooks or whatever other materials we need in order to study. If someone comes up to us and interrupts, we feel like they've wasted our time.

According to an article in The New York Times, taking breaks actually promotes creativity and productivity. An assistant management professor at the University of Toronto Scarborough compared mental concentration to a muscle. After overuse, the mind will become fatigued and exhausted, just like muscles if we work them too hard at the gym. This is why people rest before doing a second round at the gym; they will perform better after a pause. 

Often when I take breaks, I will feel extremely guilty. I'll feel like I could be using my time more productively and I'll have to be awake even later due to my break. If you take too many breaks, than yes, that is the case, but if you take a few minutes to go for a walk or get some fresh air or listen to music, you will feel more awake and motivated to get your work done.

Professor Trougakos says that if you are on a roll and feel you don't need to take a break, then don't. There's no sense in stopping if you feel you don't need to stop. Don't let guilt prevent you from taking a break though. If you're hitting a roadblock, instead of struggling to pass it, take a pause, collect yourself for a few moments and get back at it. 


I agree that this topic is perfect given that finals week is rapidly approaching. I would also have to agree with you on the "Often when I take breaks, I will feel extremely guilty." However, if i take a reasonable break, I do feel refreshed & ready to work. I found this page on the MIT Center for Academic Excellence website. It summarizes when to take breaks & how to use those breaks wisely.

I would think of this as good news but my version of 'taking a break' is spending five hours on Netflix so I don't think that's too beneficial for me. For others though that actually have self control, this would be nice to know. I wonder how long it takes people to get to that breaking point in studying where their brain becomes completely fried. It has to be different for everyone I guess and I suppose amount of sleep and amount of caffeine would have something to do with it. Keeping with the theme of studying, here's an article I found about study techniques: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/08/27/study-techniques-that-work-and-surprisingly-dont/

This is just what I needed to read with the stress of the next few weeks approaching. Its good to know a break here or there is ok for you. When I take breaks during studying I often feel relaxed and once I get back to work I feel the quality of my work is better. (I like to play Candy Crush during my breaks hehe). One article states "Ultimately, the goal is to let your brain to break up the monotony, just so you don’t get stir crazy sitting on the same subject for hours on end. Every hour or so, depending on your attention span, try to switch gears on your study guide website and take advantage of a different features it offers." This can be found on http://study-guide-services-review.toptenreviews.com/the-importance-of-taking-breaks.html

I found this to be interesting in that even though you're taking a "study break" you're still keeping your mind going and learning.

This is excellent info to have going into our most stressful period of the semester. My dad always made fun of me for taking a lot of breaks while studying, but I always felt they helped me to retain the information better. I always studied as much of the information as possible ahead of time, so that I could just casually review the materials before the test. It's good to know that taking a few breaks isn't the worst thing I can do for my grades. Although, like Carolyn, my breaks tend to be more on the long side than the short. It's relaxing, but maybe a little bit too much so.

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