Taking study breaks is essential to be productive. By refreshing your mind with a study break, your focus and memory of the study material will increase when you start working again. It can be separated into short breaks and long breaks, which are both important. I will give you some ideas on short study breaks and long study breaks.
How many study breaks should I take?
It is difficult to say how many study breaks you should take and how long these study breaks should be. This depends on the intensity and difficulty of the study material and way your are studying. Therefore, it is best to see what works the best for you. However, it is important to keep a structure in these breaks. This means that after every x minutes (for example 30 minutes) a short break and after x amount of short breaks (for example 3) a longer break. The same goes for the length of the short and longer study breaks. This will create a routine, which makes it easier to get back to studying after a break.
A popular method of alternating study blocks with study breaks, is the pomodoro technique.
Pomodoro Technique for study breaks
The Pomodoro technique is a popular method of increasing productivity. You alternate blocks of (intensive) studying with little blocks of breaks. The official method is:
3 – 4 x (15 minutes studying – 5 minutes break)
30 minutes break
All over again.
Another method is more useful when you like longer blocks of studying and breaks:
3 -4 x (40 / 45 / 50 minutes of studying – 20 / 15 / 10 minutes break)
Short study break ideas
In a short break, it is good to avoid screentime on your phone and computer, to give your eyes some rest. It is also good to move away from your desk, to really separate breaks from studying. Get some movement, let your brain relax and create some energy for yourself.
You can drink some water and coffee and eat fruit/chocolate/cookies for some energy. You can also go for a short walk to get some fresh air and movement. Furthermore, you could take a short nap to get some energy, if this works for you. If you are tired, but you really need to study, an idea is to drink coffee, go to sleep (cafeine takes a few minutes to kick in) for 10/15 minutes, and wake up refreshed because of the coffee and sleep.
Longer study break ideas
For a longer break, you can have a meal, meet up with people, exercise, clean/do some chores (less fun, but it needs to happen anyway), have a shower/bath etc.
My favorite long break, which I nearly always do when I have a studying day, is after a (good) study session running and eat. Depending on the season, I will go for a run at the end of the morning (when it’s cold) and then have a long shower and lunch, or at the end of the afternoon/beginning of the evening, then have a shower and dinner. After this I feel fresh again to study more (or meet up with people).
It is good to plan longer breaks in your daily planning. In this way, you have a clear overview of your study blocks and when to take a break. If you want to download a daily planner, click here.