John Edensor Littlewood wrote in page 197 of Littlewood's Miscellany

"For a week without teaching duties - and here I think I am preaching to the converted - I believe in on afternoon and the following day off."

"At one time I used to work 7 days week (apart, of course, from 3-week chunks of holidays). I experimented during the Long Vacation with a Sunday off, and presently began to notice that ideas had a way of coming on Mondays."

  1. What's the optimal frequency at which math students take complete days off math? How many days off? By "break" I mean at least a whole day away from math, and not just a break every hour. Is there any research on this?

  2. What's the optimal frequency at which math should be paused for long breaks/vacations? Is there any research on this?

  3. Is there any research on the subject of breaks/rest periods for math students? I'm very interested to hear what other mathematicians have done as students.

  • $\begingroup$ terrytao.wordpress.com/2008/08/07/on-time-management $\endgroup$ – Elchanan Solomon Jan 22 '14 at 6:16
  • $\begingroup$ While certainly of interest to mathematicians and mathematics students, this is either off topic (the research you seek is not mathematical one, and in fact can be asked about any discipline; try a cognitive science website for that) or primarily opinion based (my experience may differ from other people's experience with taking breaks shorter and longer). $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila May 22 '14 at 16:49
  • $\begingroup$ @JacquelynLi: Thanks for the bounty and sorry for misusing this comment section. I didn't see another way to send you a note. Regards, Markus $\endgroup$ – Markus Scheuer May 22 '14 at 21:28

as a High School student I find it helpful to take about one day off maths a week if it is advanced theory (complex number system) but for easier theories (cosin+sin+tangent...etc.), I take about 2-3 days off a week. There is bound to be research on this, but I think that if you take on board the proven fact of "canoeing upstream" then you might think that at the most only pause/take off 15 days for a vacation or 20 max for a holiday. (If you don't stay still or continue to canoe against the stream you will gradually decrease in skill) And for 3., I don't think I've earned the right to answer that, so hopefully you find the aboe block text useful! _Wangipapa

  • $\begingroup$ I got the suggestion to take a day of a week from studying at university, and not studying for an exam the day before (perhaps study other subjects, not for the exam; that only makes you nervous and tired, you won't learn anything significant anyway) $\endgroup$ – vonbrand May 11 '14 at 14:09

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