The secret to productivity: not working?


The time we all know and love.


We have all been there. The assignment is due at 11:59 p.m., yet we stare for hours at an empty Google doc until 11:10 p.m. rolls around. Then we are in the zone. Words start flying on the page at a rate that can only be achieved when under pressure, and even though we might succeed at sneaking the assignment in before the deadline, the result is almost always sub-par work. Now, OBVIOUSLY this article is not an example of that *cough* *cough*, but I am speaking from experience.

Recently, I watched one of those inspiration videos on YouTube, and it gave me an idea that has completely changed the way I view completing assignments. It said that every time I felt that I was looking at ink on a page rather than words, I should walk away. I was skeptical, but it worked. When I felt bored after 45 minutes or so of studying or working on an assignment, I would walk away. I might get some fresh air, eat a snack or even just lay down on the couch. After 5-10 minutes, I would start again.

When I sat back down and reopened my book, I felt recharged and realized that I was reading and typing much faster than I was before. If I began to felt bored again, I would simply take another break. Before I knew it, I had worked for four hours and honestly felt that I could go even longer. As a serial procrastinator, this shocked me.

I later found out that there is a scientific explanation for this. According to an article by the New York Times, taking regular breaks from mental tasks reduces stress and boosts productivity. The brain functions a lot like a muscle in that sense, it gets tired and needs breaks in order to function close to its best. By forcing ourselves not to put down a book until our eyes get sore, we are actually working against our goal of efficient studying.

So to all my fellow procrastinators out there, let us show the rest of the world that we are not lazy…at least not all the time.