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Take Breaks

When you’re learning, it’s important to step away and absorb the concepts. The Pomodoro Technique is widely used and can help: you work for 25 minutes, take a short break, and then repeat the process. Taking breaks is critical to having an effective study session, particularly when you’re taking in a lot of new information.

Breaks are especially important when you’re debugging. If you hit a bug and can’t quite figure out what’s going wrong, then take a break. Step away from your computer, go for a walk, or chat with a friend.

In programming, your code must follow the rules of a language and logic exactly, so even missing a quotation mark will break everything. Fresh eyes make a big difference.

00:00 Take Breaks.

00:05 Taking breaks is an incredibly important part of learning. One of the most commonly cited techniques used by people who are learning on the internet is the Pomodoro Technique.

00:15 Now, this is actually only named after a tomato-shaped timer that the person who invented it used,

00:21 but it consists of merely setting a 25 minute timer to work, and then taking a 5 minute break, and then repeating. There’s lots of evidence to illustrate that our brain only has a finite learning span and needs breaks.

00:36 25 minutes may not be perfect for you. You may find you need less time, you may find you can take more, but trying this and finding out what works well for you is an important part of learning and taking a break. Next, I’d strongly suggest timetabling breaks into your schedule. If you’re fortunate enough to have an entire day you can dedicate to learning Python, you’ll need to take breaks during that day.

01:03 There’s a reason why schools have breaks, as well as the main lunch break. Your brain needs time to take in the information, and also needs a rest. I would strongly suggest that you do take a real break—you don’t spend the time looking at your favorite Python sites on the internet, no matter how great they are, or reading Hacker News, looking through YouTube, Instagram, et cetera. Really do take a break. It’ll give your brain a chance to reset, and also you’ll often find that ideas will come to you when you are in this resting state. This is really important.

01:36 Sleep is also really important for memory formation. Plenty of research has shown that a good night’s sleep after a day’s learning really helps cement that information and lock it into longterm memory.

01:48 So if you can, make sure you do get a good night’s sleep after you’ve spent some time studying. And linked to all this, we all know that fresh eyes spot obvious errors.

02:00 Many has been the time when I’ve been working on something difficult that I just can’t solve, and you leave it. The next day you come to it, and instantly the answer comes to you, or sometimes it just comes to you overnight.

02:11 Your brain works on things and it will be refreshed during that break, and when you come back to it, many will be the time when you’ll see something you just hadn’t thought of, and away you go.

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