Gift yourself a break

For many, the Holiday season is a time to step away from day to day tasks and take some much deserved time away from work-related responsibilities. For students, it’s not always so easy. 

Many students feel the need to utilize the time off from school to catch up on work, pad their resume, or get ahead in their studies. While it can be helpful to use time off to your advantage, it’s also important to understand the benefits that come with taking a few days to unwind and reset. If you’re feeling drained from  final exams, taking a few days to recharge can actually be the more productive choice in the long-run. 

December is often the cumulation of a year’s worth of hard work. If you feel your creative drive depleting, that might be a sign that your brain needs a hard reset. Studies suggest that employees who do not regularly take time to relax are more likely to experience burnout – and students are no different. 

Research finds that creative muscles are not so different from physical ones. Personal trainers will tell their clients to take an exercise break between workouts to avoid straining muscles, and help see better results in the long-run.  Similarly, a complete break from the creative process can help inspiration strike later.

Implementing productive breaks can be a great strategy to improve your overall mental fatigue, and simultaneously improve your quality of work. The Pomodoro Technique is a well-established, tried, and tested time management method that many find useful. The method was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. Cirillo suggests that you work for 25-minutes with no distractions and then take a 5 minute break. Then every hour or two, you take a longer, 15-minute break to maximize work efficiency. 

Not all breaks are created equal 

It’s important to note that the nature of your break actually does make a substantial difference. While it may seem tempting to return text messages or scroll on your computer, this is not an effective break. Experts suggest that taking a walk is a great way to maximize productivity when you return to your assignment. 

Don’t get distracted while working, and don’t overdo your breaks. With this combination, you’re more likely to see long term success. And don’t feel guilty for spending some well-deserved time off during the holiday season! 

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