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Take a break. You’ll be better for it. | Courtesy Carmel Kookogey

When a machine stops working properly, the first thing you do is turn it off and turn it back on again.

Stu­dents should reboot as well. Instead of waiting until we break under stress, we should take a weekly sabbath — and do no homework for a day — to reset our mental machinery and rest.

I mean actually rest.

Stu­dents are good at mul­ti­tasking. Too good, in fact. We think we can work and rest simul­ta­ne­ously, by doing homework in bed late at night or browsing for shoes on the Internet in the middle of writing a paper. Even when we take a break, it’s a dis­tracted kind of rest: tapping through Snapchat stories, squinting at news articles on our tiny screens, or reading Pres­ident Donald Trump’s Twitter feed.

We’ve blurred the line between work and rest to the point of nonex­is­tence, and like the alarm clock you set for 6:30 a.m. and then snooze until 8 a.m., the trick hurts rather than helps. We’re too tired to be effective and thus too inef­fi­cient with our time to afford taking a mean­ingful break.

What’s more, we feel guilty for doing some­thing truly reju­ve­nating, like taking a nap or curling back the pages of a paperback novel for fun, telling our­selves any free time spent on some­thing other than homework is time wasted. Never mind all the time we waste on social media while doing said homework.

To do good work, we need to take breaks. Every night we sleep so our brain can rest and digest, and we work better the next morning because of it. A sabbath works the same way: it’s a nec­essary reset period at the beginning of the week.

New York film­maker and YouTube sen­sation Casey Neistat arrived in the “city which never sleeps” with little more than a camera and the clothes on his back. Only by working mul­tiple jobs during the day and editing films by night did he even­tually profit enough from his cre­ative work to quit his day jobs. His story — and the “do more” tattoo scrawled on his forearm — are an inspi­ration to artists every­where, a tes­tament to his success.

But even at the height of his pro­fi­ciency as a film­maker on YouTube, when Neistat pro­duced a new video almost every day, he took a two-day break every couple of weeks and didn’t post any­thing.

The ben­efits of inten­tional leisure are immense. Often, it takes us a full day of sleep when we go home for a break before we feel rested enough to do any­thing. By taking a day off from homework weekly, not only do we reju­venate our minds to be more effective when we return to our studies Monday, but we also slow the snowball effect of sleepless semesters. When the next break rolls around, instead of spending it sleeping, we can read that book we’ve been meaning to read or apply for the next job or internship.

Iron­i­cally, the reason many of us don’t take a sabbath is because we need it the most. We feel we have no time to take a full Sunday off, and rush out of church to con­tinue picking at the paper we slogged through all week and still haven’t fin­ished. If we had taken a sabbath, however, we would have been rested, and therefore more pro­ductive during the week. As a result of that rest, by the time Sunday rolls around again we’re in a better position with our respon­si­bil­ities to con­tinue using the day as it was designed.

Nev­er­theless, taking a whole Sunday off from homework still sounds daunting. No matter how much we know we need it, most of us still don’t believe we have the time.

But if former editor-in-chief of the Col­legian, Nicole Ault, ’19, can do it for all four years of her college career, while bal­ancing an eco­nomics major, choir, teaching Sunday school, and even­tually running the entire school news­paper, we are without excuse.

If anyone had a reason to work through Sunday, it was Ault. Instead, she rested.

It’s not about having enough time. It’s about man­aging your time well, so your work hours are pro­ductive and your rest hours restful.

Turn your machine off and then on again. Take a sabbath.

Carmel Kookogey is a George Wash­ington Fellow and a junior studying pol­itics. She is the Culture Editor for The Col­legian.