Does Your Study Plan Include Frequent Breaks?

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September 5, 2023
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Patrick J. Karol,

The virtual world is upon us, and there doesn’t appear to be any turning back. According to research by Microsoft, the virtual world, specifically virtual meetings, comes with the potential for high stress.

Stress is both good and bad. It can spur us on to accomplish goals or hamper our ability to perform our job, study, or even concentrate. Chronic stress can lead to mental health problems.

The study “Research Proves Your Brain Needs Breaks” by Microsoft Human Factors Lab (2021) found that when workers attended four consecutive half-hour virtual meetings without a break, beta-wave activity, an indicator of stress, increased (see graphic). Beta-wave activity remained low when the same workers were given 10-minute meditation breaks between meetings. In short, frequent breaks reduce stress. Although the study did not conclude that reduced stress improved productivity, if we extrapolate the results, we can assume performance was higher when breaks were provided.

So, what are the implications for safety professionals studying for a BCSP exam? One takeaway is that more evidence shows that cramming doesn’t work well. I guess unless the stress drives you to learn more. I bet that the added stress hampers our ability to study effectively. Longer study hours do not always equate to more productive study time.

The biggest takeaway is that your study plan, particularly your study schedule, should include frequent meditation breaks to relax and reduce stress resulting in more productive study time.