Back-To-Uni: Part 2 (Taking breaks and unwinding)

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I'm a firm believer in taking regular breaks while studying. Perhaps my attention span is shorter than most - but it's a given that I'll burn out, become unmotivated and find it difficult to absorb any new information if I don't take breaks. I tend to work on somewhat of a goal-reward structure: setting myself reasonable and achievable study goals and taking a break once I've met them (e.g. "If I can finish the rest of these tutorial questions (assuming I've already made good progress) then I can watch an episode of ____"). Though I will admit... it does take a fair amount of self-control to resist watching the next episode after that. 

By nature, I'm someone that gets easily stressed and overwhelmed. Once I start getting anxious, I can't focus on what I'm supposed to do and end up wasting time and effort trying to force myself to learn. Last year, during my exam period, my typical kind of break (from 10-45 mins - depending on how long I've been studying/how productive I've been) was either walking/dancing around my little studio, watching an episode of Bones/Grey's Anatomy/Nashville, playing guitar or reading. This might seem unproductive but it worked for me and helped me to unwind during study sessions. 

So, I hope you find what works for you. If not, do things differently and see if that makes you more/less productive and go from there. Setting challenging (but reasonable and achievable) goals might help you to focus your efforts.

  1. Know what you want to achieve, one day at a time, and break it down into smaller goals that you can easily work through.
  2. Take regular breaks so that you don't get overwhelmed and spend it doing what you love - there's no reason why you can't be a different kind of productive during your breaks!
  3. You are your own worst enemy, and your own best friend. Only you are stopping yourself from being productive and only you can work out what works, and what doesn't. Stay self-aware and be open to change!

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