By this time of the year, you might be busy with one or more of a multitude of school activities:
Preparing for exams
Preparing for a presentation
Preparing for an interview
Preparing to submit an assignment
To complete any of the aforementioned activities, you need motivation. Motivation often comes from watching inspirational videos on YouTube; in addition, it comes from taking breaks. Watching YouTube videos is one thing many of us do to find motivation in between, or during, our study sessions.
The problem, however, is that we are not watching YouTube videos in the right context. Most of us take our breaks on the same technological device that we use to study. By not separating the technologies we use for studying and those we use for taking breaks, we are failing to distinguish work from play.
Let’s say you are someone who likes to work by a timer. You set up a 40-minute timer on Google, taking up one browser tab on your laptop. Then, in a separate word document, you work on the assignment you have to submit next week. When the timer goes off, you are happy you have successfully worked through one study session and now have a well-deserved 15-minute break. Now you open up another tab on the same browser in your laptop and go on YouTube to watch a few videos from your favourite beauty guru. What happens next is that one video quickly turns into some double-digit count. You look at the time and think to yourself, “Oh shoot! I just wasted another good 40 minutes!” Worse yet, you’ve lost a bit of your momentum. The rest of the story doesn’t matter as much. What matters is that we are failing to maximize our study time with this kind of break-taking approach.
I have a simple suggestion to tackle this discipline problem that many of us deal with. Start by working for one study session. The session can last for as long as you choose. The difference is that you take your 5 to 15 minutes YouTube break somewhere else on a different device. If you were working on your laptop at your desk, take your phone with you and go to another room. You could be surrounded by people or it could be by yourself. Now you can joyfully watch 5 to 15 minutes’ worth of videos. Yes, count your break-time minutes in videos. Either you tell yourself “I will watch one 15-minute video” or “I will watch three 5-minute videos.” Once you mentally decide upon this use of your break-time and finish watching the videos you thought of, head back to your previous study device, such as your laptop at your desk, and work for another study session. With this approach, you associate the various technological devices you own to a particular purpose. Your laptop becomes solely for the use of studies. Your phone, on the other hand, becomes your primary source of break-time entertainment. Try adapting this study-break approach to devices for a few days and see the difference in your productivity. If this approach works well, or even if it doesn’t, share your findings with us here at HC!