That’s what the breaks are for

High school students face a scheduling challenge most adults haven’t faced since they walked their own high school hallways—most can’t start doing their work until the afternoon or evening. After attending school and participating in activities, it’s not unusual for many students to find that their first opportunity of the day to do homework and study comes after the sun has already set. How can you make the most of that time while still leaving enough hours to get a good night’s sleep?

The answer just might be to take more breaks.

This article shares the latest scientific findings about how regular breaks actually boost rather than interrupt productivity. If you read through, you’ll find three different research-backed recommendations for your work/break balance.

  1. Set a timer for 25 minutes. Work. When the timer goes off, take a 5-minute break. Repeat three more times, then take a longer (30-minute) break.
  2. Work in 90-minute blocks, taking short breaks in between.
  3. Work for 52 minutes, then break for 17 (the article explains not only why the specifics are important, but also why research shows this might be the most effective approach).

But no matter which version you choose, it will only work if you commit to focusing intensely during your work time, which means eliminating all distractions and getting into your work zone. Answering texts, responding to emails, checking social media, etc.—that’s what the breaks are for.