During this magical time of the semester known as finals week, I once again find myself forced to stay up past that special time of the night, 2:00 am (grrrrr….). But as long as I must break my own rules and continue to write papers even though I am now officially stupid, I figured I’d take a break to talk about establishing a work schedule for your studying.
Back in freshman year, I read somewhere that a good way to maximize efficiency when you’re doing any sort of mental work is to spend half an hour working and half an hour taking a break, alternating between the two. Back then I thought that this was a brilliant idea; partially because it offered me a good way to increase my efficiency, and partially because it gave me excuses all the time to goof off during study time.
But honestly, I do think that there is some wisdom here. Working at an exact rotation of half an hour never ends up working for me, but I do find that I’m most productive when I work in short bursts alternating with periods of rest. Sometimes my bursts last only ten minutes, sometimes up to an hour.
Generally, when I start to get in the zone, my brain will monitor itself and let me know when it’s time to take a break and when it’s time to get back to work.
Right now, for instance. I am taking a quick break from finishing up a final paper for Science Writing because I got to the point where I have to cite sources for my bibliography and I hate citing and bibliographies I mean I understand why we need them without them people plagiarize and steal credit but they’re so annoying to write and the formatting is so stupidly strict—
Forgive me. I’m stupid right now, after all.
Anyway, my point is, if you spend your study time plowing through textbooks and papers nonstop for hours on end, give a more light schedule like this a try. You might like it.
(And if it makes your productivity go down, well, congratulations to you. You’re a super person who can stay productive for hours on end without a break. Please don’t hurt me.)