When I was a full-time student in school, I would have to sit in front of my computer writing or sit at a desk reading for hours on end. When trying to stay productive for long hours, it is important to take breaks. However, sometimes, depending on how long the break is and what you do during the break can, taking one can interrupt your flow and momentum.
For me, I learned that it was best to take a break by doing something else that is productive but not in the same stream of work. To put it in other words, I would change the task at hand but I would make sure whatever I’m doing is either mentally or physically stimulating, energizing, or productive.
If you vary the type of work you are doing in a session, you can make your mind and body believe you are taking a break, even though you are still being productive, one way or another.
Below are six suggestions on types of productive breaks you can take that won’t kill your momentum!
Do a low intensity workout. It really doesn’t matter what the activity is, but if you are doing a long study session, it’s always a good idea to get up and get some exercise.
Play a mentally stimulating video game. I play challenging video games like Civilization and X-Com, these are both games that encourage strategizing and problem-solving. Skills that are important to develop no matter what you plan to do in life and working on these skills is stimulating enough to keep your momentum going. After about an hour of gaming, I go back to my essay or studying feeling like I’ve just taken a break, but my brain hasn’t gotten fogged up or listless after consuming passive entertainment like TV or scrolling through social media.
Go for a walk. This is a wonderful option because it means your going to get some light exercise and fresh air. If you take a walk while the sun is out you’ll even get some added benefits of Vitamin D. Vitamin D can fight disease, reduce depression and boost weigh loss (Healthline, 2017).
Use your creativity. Creative outlets like painting, drawing, colouring, knitting, and other mixed media and crafting, can have the same effect as playing a stimulating video game. Studying for two hours, taking a thirty minute break to use your creativity, will feel like taking a break without making you to return to the task at hand.
Learn a language. If you are hoping to learn or are trying to learn a language or two, you know that it can be quite difficult if you don’t stay consistent and ensure you are working on it in some capacity every single day. It can be easy to add it to your study sessions without having it feel like work. For example, don’t pull out your beginner language textbooks if you were just studying for your English class. This will feel far too much like what you were just doing and you won’t feel like you just took a break. Instead, pull out a language learning app, a book, TV show, video game, whatever type of media it is, as long as it’s not in your first language your brain will find it stimulating and you won’t get sluggish or unproductive.
Refuel. Eat a snack and have some water. Keep in mind, it is important to have only small snacks or a light meal mid-session, eating heavy food or too much food can cause you to become lazy and lose momentum.
The great thing about shaking up how you take breaks, is that it gives you an opportunity to keep things fresh and make every day different. This can increase your overall, long-term productivity becasue it will take longer for you to fall into a rut. Every work session will look different and that is great. When I was a full time student, I would get an essay done, infiltrate an alien base, and paint all in one hours long session. I’d take short five or ten minute breaks to have snacks, go to the bathroom, or stretch my legs. This is the reason I was always working ahead. I would be well-prepared for most due dates well in advance. Unlike a lot of my peers, I would start studying for an upcoming test for weeks in advance.
I think it is so important to keep how you work fresh so it is easy to stay inspired and motivation to keep on keeping on!
Thanks for reading folks!
Healthline. 3 Surprising Benefits of Vitamin D. Last medically reviewed November 13, 2017.