By Nathan Chen
We’ve all done it.
It’s 7:03 p.m. and you start some assigned reading. You think optimistically, “I’ll finish this reading by 8 p.m! An hour is surely enough.” Maybe you even get ahead of yourself and think about a 10 p.m. bedtime. But, the next time you check the time is when you accidentally glance at the top of your phone because somehow you switched to browsing Instagram midway through; the clock reads 8:15 p.m and your assignment is half finished.
Why does this happen? Perhaps it’s because we lie to ourselves. Even if it’s theoretically possible to complete your homework in an hour, there are few instances where we can actually apply ourselves with maximum efficiency for such an extended period of time. Personally, no matter how much I want to stay focused, after too long my brain will always find a way to get distracted and take an involuntary break. So, my message for those people budgeting their time is make sure to account for the human need to take the occasional break!
On a more general note—especially to the students who have back-breaking coursework or extracurriculars—the same advice to taking a break applies in the long-term. Allot the occasional day to simply relax. Play video games. Watch YouTube. As the saying goes, work hard, play hard. Treat yourself healthily and be realistic about how much work you can do. You will certainly feel better than if you had the expectation of needing to work 24/7.