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How do you switch your brain off?

  1. Nov 9, 2009 #1
    Hello,

    I am having a little problem at the moment. I am working in a library, have been here for 5 hours now and I am losing focus, for example I read a paragraph 3 or 4 times and did not digest any of the information at all. So I think I need a break. The challenge is, if I get up I will lose my spot, and my computer is here so I can't leave for lunch (I have packed lunch). I need something to turn my brain off for 20 minutes or so, to refresh everything.

    I am sort of asking for suggestions in this situation, but more generally interested in what you do when you find you cannot concentrate, and need to have a break.

    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 9, 2009 #2
    Just take the ''nothing'' box.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  4. Nov 9, 2009 #3
    Five hours!No wonder you're losing focus.I think you need to take regular breaks,perhaps every fourty minutes or so.Get away from your studying ,go for a walk,have a cup of tea ,read the newspaper,do a crossword.................Some of these may mean that you lose your place in the library but it may prove to be beneficial in the end.
     
  5. Nov 9, 2009 #4

    Chi Meson

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    The best brain refresher would include some physical exercise while listening or watching some diverting music or video. Mild, not wild.

    If you can't leave your spot, maybe situps/pushups, but it's kinda hard to keep that going for 20 minutes, and you can feel like a bit of a dufus in a library doing that. A 20 minute jog would be ideal (but that's me talking).
     
  6. Nov 9, 2009 #5

    Danger

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    Drugs?
    Losing focus after only 5 or so hours was a foreign concept to me when I was young; I frequently read 2 books in a day. That faded away as I aged, until I got to the point where I noticed your problem of having to re-read things half a dozen times. It turned out that I have ADD, and the meds for that eliminated the problem.
    Note that I am not at all recommending a pharmaceutical remedy. It's just something to consider discussing with your doctor if the condition continues.
     
  7. Nov 9, 2009 #6

    Moonbear

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    I agree! What's the point of hogging a spot in the library when you can't focus because you've been sitting there too long anyway? And, eventually you're going to have to get up to eat that lunch anyway (at least every library I've ever been in doesn't allow eating or drinking). It's not normal to have even close to a 5 hour attention span.

    Give the student who's been waiting 5 hours for a free computer a chance to use one, and come back after you've had a decent break.
     
  8. Nov 9, 2009 #7
    A hammer would do the job.

    I also face similar problem. But, I just keep on going.
     
  9. Nov 9, 2009 #8

    lisab

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    Like Chi said, a short jog does wonders.

    Another thing I liked to do to wake up my brain when I was in school: I'd wander down into the archives of the library, to the old Scientific American section. Pull out a random magazine, find Martin Garder's "Mathematical Games" column :!!). But I had to be careful doing this, I could easily lose an hour or two.
     
  10. Nov 9, 2009 #9
    It's always hard to determine how effective you will be after taking the break (time being effective after break , amount of time lost in refreshing, and time being effective without the break ratios). I never really able to find how much time I should lose to maximize the efficiency. And second problem is finding activity that takes minimum amount of time to re-energize you.
    So, I always take the easiest approach that I am better taking no break at all.

    (P.S. now that I am working so I only need few appreciation words from my supervisor that re-energizes me to the max)
     
  11. Nov 9, 2009 #10

    Danger

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    Really? I mean, really??? :confused:
    That seems pretty short to me.
     
  12. Nov 9, 2009 #11

    lisab

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    In my prime (college years), I could hope for 2, maybe 2.5, very focused hours. Five hours? No way.

    But with breaks...about 15 minutes every 2 hours or so...I would routinely do as much as 12 hours on a weekend day. Usually more like 9, though.
     
  13. Nov 9, 2009 #12
    Go for a run or ride a bike around campus. If there is snow, go outside and make a snowman.
     
  14. Nov 11, 2009 #13
  15. Nov 11, 2009 #14

    Moonbear

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    A normal adult attention span is about an hour. I don't know how anyone could sit at a desk for 5 hours anyway. I'd at least need to get up to use the bathroom 2 or 3 times in that span of time.

    I can always tell which faculty are working on something that needs a lot of thought. They're the ones pacing the hall about once an hour. I do that too. I don't necessarily need to go do anything special, just walk once around the corridor (my section of the building has the halls arranged in a square, so I can just walk around full circle back to my office). Partway through the afternoon, I usually need my caffeine refill, so walk down to the 1st floor and get the "high octane" coffee from the cafe (I used to get more exercise when I had to walk all the way to the hospital for coffee).
     
  16. Nov 11, 2009 #15
    Depends on what you are working on also too. If someone is performing an 8 or even more hours of critical operation, s/he wouldn't lose attention span even for few minutes interval. It also works if problem is very interesting and required to be solved in a limited amount of time. I have been in that situation for few times. But normally, my attentions span lasts only few [STRIKE]minutes [/STRIKE] seconds :(.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2009
  17. Nov 11, 2009 #16
    Try meditating.
     
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