The Break Effect

I’ll be the first to admit it: I procrastinated with homework this spring break.

Now, I’m positive that I am not the only one, but as I was working on some statistics homework, I thought I would make a chart to illustrate the connection between a college student’s productivity level and the amount of time that passes over the 10 day spring break.

Reading from left to right, each day is labeled with a number. The numbers are annotated as follows:

1. The “I’m going to get all my homework done today so I have all of break to relax!” mode.
2. The “It’s Saturday, I can take a break. I mean, I have all week!”
3. “I can’t do any work, Sunday is a day of rest… and video games.”
4. Sleep in until 2 p.m.
5. “Eh, I have plenty of time left. I’ll hit it hard tomorrow.”
6. Slight increase in productivity until what little resolve you started with is gone.
7. “Oh boy. There are still so many things I want to do before break is over. To the lab!”
8. “Last weekend. It’s as if I never had break, I’ll just do my homework on Saturday like usual.”
9. Small amount of work gets done before friends text you with last weekend plans.
10. “Oh crap. It’s all over. No need to worry though, I’ve been in this place before and emerged victorious.”
11. Up until 3 a.m. finishing all the work you had forgotten about and only remembered because you actually opened you books instead of using them as coasters for the past 10 days. Effectively killing all sleep you regained over break.

Happy Monday.

While this was meant as a joke, and I have been more diligent than this, I believe we have all been in this mode or felt similar as days roll by on an extended break period. It is hard to get up the motivation to start work during leisure, but often I realize that I had built how difficult the actual work was in my mind. Once I started and got rolling, I was able to finish most of my assignments with little pain.

Something that I use to help with my slight tendency to procrastinate is called the 30/30 Minute Work Cycle. The basic idea around this work cycle is that you spend 30, uninterrupted minutes (turning off your Internet helps) working on a task. When that time is up, you can have 30 minutes to do whatever you like. Using this system, I was able to get all my work done in a single day, along with finishing the campaign of one of my favorite games. You can read up on the whole idea here.

Here’s to a productive end of spring break!

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