I encourage people to keep their study breaks low-tech, and to pursue activities like exercise, listening to music, yoga, walking, eating a proper meal, or just plain doing nothing at all. Punctuating your study with activities like this will help to militate against cognitive overload. On the other hand, if our break is spent reading emails, going on social media, sending text messages, keeping busy on our smartphones, then the neurological benefits of the break can be diminished.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t check your smart-phone for messages when you enter one of your strategic study breaks. But what I am saying is that the majority of your down-time shouldn’t be consumed with these things. If you have a smart-phone, leave it behind when you go for a walk, listen to music, or do yoga (or whatever it is you do to refresh your brain).
I’ve dealt with this in more detail (including the neuroscience behind these suggestions) in the following blog posts:
- Resist the Tyranny of the Urgent (part 1): http://blog.taylorstudymethod.com/?p=471
- Resist the Tyranny of the Urgent (part 2): http://blog.taylorstudymethod.com/?p=488
- Long-term Memory and the Dangers of Multi-tasking: http://blog.taylorstudymethod.com/?p=468
- Three Skills for Online Learning that Nobody is teaching: http://ow.ly/GXoBS
- When you’re not studying: http://blog.taylorstudymethod.com/?p=590