Ah studying. It’s going be hard to get through college without having to do it at least once. You know what they say: You can’t spell student without studying minus the “ying”. But sometimes all those calculus problems or Hamlet readings can start to fry up your brain. The best way to get back into the game is to take a little break; get loose, shake it out, take a deep breath and get ready to re-focus. Unfortunately, once you stop studying it’s very easy to stay out of the game. You take a quick 5 minutes to scroll around on social media, then decide you might as well grab a little dinner, then you’re inspired to watch a full-length feature film, and next thing you know you’re taking a quick 5-hour nap. Then BOOM, your whole study day is gone. So here it is, a list of 15 15-minute (the perfect length for revitalization but not procrastination) study break ideas.
1. Make a study playlist
I’m a lazy lady, so I always just type in “study” to the Spotify search bar and play whatever playlist comes up first. But, don't be like me! You want a break anyway, so spend a quality 15 minutes curating your favorite, no distractions, focus music. Maybe it's classical, maybe it’s some soft, melodic pop, maybe it’s 90’s sitcom theme songs. You do you.
2. Make some origami
Grab a loose sheet of paper from your backpack (or if you keep your papers in folders, get it from there), and do a little google search, and follow the step by step instructions. At the end of 15 minutes, you will have either crafted something amazing or learned that, perhaps, your natural talents do not lie in origami. Either way, pretty productive break!
3. Watch a 20 minute TV show and fast forward five minutes
Most shows (The Office, Friends, Parks and Rec, Brooklyn 99, need I go on?) on Netflix are about 20 minutes long, but you only have 15, so just pick any 5 minutes to skip, and hope they’re not too crucial to the plot.
4. Try to get a hashtag trending
Can you go viral in 15 minutes? With the right hashtag, you just might. Start tweeting or Instagramming, or posting on whatever platform you dig. In addition to a pretty high volume of posts, if you really want to go viral, you have to have a great hashtag. Here are some of my best ideas:
5. Micro nap
I know you’ve heard of 20-minute power naps, but pair that down even more. Do a quick 15. Look around for some good napping chairs or couches in your library. Or just face plant on whatever book is in front of you on the desk.
6. Get a coffee and hope the line is long.
It’s time to juice up for that Freud reading, so take a leisurely walk to your nearest coffee shop, usually located in the very library you’re studying in. Sometimes getting a coffee can be quick, so if you’re in the predicament where there’s no line and they’re ready to make your coffee ASAP, here are some things you can do to make sure you get your whole 15 minutes of break:
- Read the menu slowly, like really slowly
- Ask if they have any specials
- Read the brand of everything in the cooler and continue asking “is this an in-house product?”
- Ask everyone passing by the cash register or sitting near it if they are in line
7. Online shop (without shopping)
You probably don’t have a 3-D printer and an electric toothbrush in your budget, but that doesn't mean you can’t browse. Take your 15 by scrolling around and adding all your dream items to your cart- who knows when a banana-shaped bean bag and a 30 ft long iPhone charger might come in handy? But let's be real, you should probably clear that cart and hit the books.
8. Fill up everyone’s water bottle
Filling up one water bottle is may be a good 5-minute break, but you don’t want to just rehydrate your body, you want to rehydrate your mind. So politely ask your study mates if you can fill up their bottles and become the library water person.
9. Run a mile in your plain clothes
15 minutes isn’t quite enough time to go home and get in some workout clothes and then walk all the way to the gym. But have no fear! There’s no dress code for hitting the open road and pounding some pavement. All you have to do is stand up from your desk and go run a quick mile (or slow mile, honestly, you have 15 minutes). Then return, sweaty, to your seat ready to focus.
10. Leave a singing voicemail for your mom
Or your dad, or sibling, or that one kid you met at some summer camp in 5th grade. You can craft your own original song, maybe throw in some details about how studying is going and how your life is. Or if you’re a little less musically inclined, you can sing along to a song already written like Smash Mouth’s “Rockstar” or Mozart’s Symphony #41 “Jupiter” (You can sing along to music with no words OK)! If they pick up, don’t panic, just sing for 15 minutes straight as planned and then hang up.
11. Text all of your friends “Hey” and see who replies.
Remember this fun tactic from back in middle school flip phone days? Do it again! See how many of your true friends will get back to you in the next 15 minutes. If “hey” is too bland (and let’s face it, it is) you can try a different conversation starter like, “QUICK!!! GIVE ME A RIDDLE!” or “The principal called. Things are looking bad,” or “Step 7: unlock the treasure chest with the key from step 4, you are almost there young pirate.” But remember! This is only a 15-minute break, so any replies you get after your break is up have to be deleted forever.
12. A quick game of tag with your friends
At the end of 15 minutes, make sure to say, “You’re it; I quit!”
13. If it is snowy, make a snow angel, if it's hot, make a grass angel
People love the four seasons of Chicago, but very few people are taking full advantage of them. Some narrow-minded folks think you can only make an angel marking in the winter -- but they are wrong! Grass can be a little harder to sculpt with your back, so you’ll really have to get moving. Become one with nature, and wiggle like a starfish. It’ll be the perfect thing to get you ready to focus back up. Rub your back on a tree or something to clean off before you head back in.
14. Use the books from everyone sitting near you to play a fun game of Jenga
Depending on the quiet rules of where you are studying, this could be a very high stakes game. For the sturdiest of structures, put your neighbor's heavy books on the bottom.
15. Do a mini-episode of Chopped using your nearest vending machine
Scrounge up a couple of dollars, and head to the vending machines! Quick, you only have 15 minutes to create a mouthwatering creation. Maybe stick some Goldfish into a rice crispy bar, or sprinkle some trail mix into Diet Coke. We’re playing with texture and flavor, baby!