What I inadvertently discovered, is that I learned very well when I was baking cookies. Many of you probably think it was the sugar rush that went with eating them nice and warm and soft right out of the oven but that wasn't it. Rather, while I was studying, I would take short breaks when a batch of cookies had finished baking while I took the baked ones off the pan, and rolled out twelve more balls of dough to replace them. Back into the oven they would go for 20 minutes, while I continued to study.
Little did I know that those twenty minutes I spent in focused mode, were being supported by the 5 minutes I spent in diffuse mode focusing on my cookies. I found that I rarely had to review the material that I had studied during that time and it just seemed to 'stick' better in my brain than material did when I was sitting by myself in the library completely focused for hours studying alone.
Now, I don 't bake as much as I used to, as my neighbors no longer come over to visit when the smell of cookies is wafting through the neighborhood, and there are only so many cookies that my family and I can eat! There are other ways I use the focused and diffuse modes though in my learning, mostly through multi-tasking. I study until I start to feel like there is a slow down on my processing, and then I get up and do something in the house that needs doing, whether it is vacuuming, stacking the dishwasher, or fetching a healthy snack.
Video source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6z_uDW1aQo