Making Breaks Productive

Disha Ananthula
Published on
December 18, 2022

Breaks are the perfect way to cool off from a long study session or school day. To make sure you are doing them right, here are some things to think about in order to ensure that your break will keep you energized for the rest of the day.


Sometimes, the best breaks can be when we merely stop doing anything. Taking a nap can be a hit or a miss when it comes to getting back energy lost throughout the day, so to make sure your naps help more than they hurt, give yourself a set amount of time to rest for. Whether that is 10 minutes or an hour, you ultimately know your brain and body best. One key aspect to note is to make sure you do not have any urgent deadlines or lists to complete that can be hindered. If you find this to be the case, try to finish what you can and sleep earlier altogether rather than in short increments of time.


Study snacks are always good to have on hand, but which ones should you pick over others? It all depends on the tasks you plan on accomplishing following your break. For example, if you wanted to stay up late to study for a math test, it would probably be a better idea to drink something caffeinated like coffee, over something like a soda. It is also a good idea to have at least a meal or two during your break. The meal doesn’t have to be fancy or special, it could be something so simple as a PB&J. Working while hungry is not the best feeling, and will leave you more drained at the end. 


Yup. This includes any device that has nothing to do with your productivity. Your phone, iPad, TV, smartwatch, or anything that could distract you for a long period of time. Since it is your own break, these things are perfectly okay to use- on the condition that they are done within limit. Using our devices for longer than we want is often something that happens as an unconscious decision, but can be prevented. For instance, use a timer to regulate your electronic usage or put your phone in a different room after you are done using it to eliminate any chances for distraction. 


A checklist of any kind could be an immense game changer. Traditionally, a planner is a common way to sort daily tasks, but even keeping a mental checklist can be very helpful. Before taking a break, think about what steps you might need to take afterward to complete the next projected task(s). Have those things ready at hand so that you can be stress-free during your break. With a checklist, you can also give yourself an estimate of how long or how many breaks you should take. For instance, it might be ideal to take multiple short breaks if you are reviewing for a final exam. That way, you will be able to stay focused without getting bored.


Everybody will ultimately choose to spend their breaks differently, which is why it is so important to find the way that works best for you. Test out multiple options and see how you can best complete your work without feeling overwhelmed after. You should also want to think about the environment you are in. Is it ideal to get things done or to take a meaningful break? The library is a great place to do both of those things because of the peace. Start there if you're not sure. A good break gets you re-energized. Taking a walk or staying active right before continuing to study could be more effective than a nap for yourself, so see what generally tends to help you the most.

Two final tips

  • You DO NOT have to start your work again at an even number of times! For example, creating a false sense of security and saying to myself, “I will start studying again at 6:00, or 2:30,” is something that has discouraged me from taking breaks that would end up in me wasting more time than I anticipated.

  • Find something to do in your next break that you can look forward to! For example, watching an episode of your favorite TV show or eating a snack. This might help give you the motivation to get your work done and have a break after as a reward.

With finals season approaching, it is especially important you are allowing yourself to relax and unwind amidst all of the stress. Keep these things in mind, and you will set yourself up to be as successful as possible. Good luck! 

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