Unless you have a strong desire to learn the information or develop a skill, it can be hard to focus all of your attention in one place. Television, smart phones, social media, friends, and family can all distract you from your goal of doing well in school. Create an environment that helps you focus. Ongoing distractions while trying to focus have been known to have a negative impact on IQ. To ensure that studying takes place when mental energy is at its best be sure to work with the body’s circadian rhythms. Set a schedule that maximized your study time. Try different study techniques and take breaks so you don’t become too overwhelmed. Here are some of the best tricks that scientists have come up with to help you increase your focus in studying.
Basically, Resistance is that evil thing that makes us procrastinate and stops us from doing our work. It’s not tangible. We can’t shake it off or fight it physically. And we sure as heck can’t ever be complacent and think we’ve beaten it for good.The problem is, there are so many distractions these days that we’ve unconsciously trained our brains to not be good at focusing.So how do you stay focused on one thing at a time when there are so many other, equally urgent tasks demanding your attention?
- Pick One Thing the Night Before:
At the end of each work day, ask yourself, “If I could only get one thing done tomorrow, what would it be?”Make sure you focus on just that one thing in the morning and, if all goes well and you finish that task, feel free to ask that question again and get started on your next task.
- Just get started on work, and
- Build momentum so you at least work for a little bit everyday
- Get rid of distractions:
Choose the right spot. In order to concentrate, you must eliminate those things that you know will distract you. Put up mobile devices. Turn off the TV. Close other pages in your web browser. Sit away from people making loud noises.
- Study in a brightly lit room. This will protect your eyes from straining too much at a book, your notes, or a computer screen. Bright lights will also keep you from dozing off.
- You want a comfortable chair. There should be no strain on your back or Pain is a terrible distraction.
- Have a Weekly Plan
This is a habit that I developed that not only helped me get organized – it also helped calm my anxious monkey brain.Every Monday morning (or if I’m especially strapped for time that week, Sunday night), I’ll take 60 – 90 minutes to map out what my week will look like in an DailyTask123 file. I update the file at the end of every day to quickly plan out what I want to do the next day.And that’s the beauty of a weekly plan having everything you need to do time-blocked out helps you focus on the assignment in front of you when you’re studying, because you don’t have to worry whether you have time for that other thing you need to get to. You know that, as long as you follow the plan and finish the task, you’ll have more than enough time for everything else.
- Protect Your Focus Blocks
Shallow work includes things like sending emails, posting a new photo of your coffee on Instagram, and buying more instant noodles from the campus grocery store – things that anyone can do without much thinking.
iFocusModebrings these apps block certain websites and apps on my laptop and my phone for a specific length of time. I totally swear by them because without these, I wouldn’t get as much done as I do. I’d still be in the infinite app-loop of checking YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and my email.
- Play music without lyrics:
Some people cannot stand silence. They need to have background noise to help keep themselves motivated. Consider playing classical music softly. For some people, music helps them concentrate. For some, it doesn’t. Try it out and see what works best for you. A little something in the background can make you forget that you’re studying instead of out having fun.
- Keep in mind that study music might not be the music you listen to in the car for fun. You want to fill the room with sound, but not to the point that it becomes distracting or stressful. Experiment with different genres and figure out what helps you focus.
- Find a place where you can unplug:
One of the biggest complaints that teachers have about their students is their inability to concentrate on a subject. Our constant use of social media and personal devices like cell phones divides our attention and makes it more difficult to concentrate.
- Know what distracts you most on a computer, if you need to use one. There are websites and software blockers like SelfRestraint, SelfControl, and Think that can keep you away from the websites and software that are the hardest to resist.
- Find a place where there is no internet or your cell phone doesn’t work. Alternatively, you can choose to study in a place that doesn’t allow people to use cell phones, like in a quiet section of a library.
- Try the “5 More” rule:
Sometimes, it is necessary to play mind games with yourself to ensure that you’ll study. Tell yourself to do only five more things or five more minutes before quitting. Once you’ve finished those, “do another five”. Breaking tasks up into smaller chunks makes things easier for those with shorter concentration spans and it keeps your mind going longer.
- Do the least pleasant tasks first:
This sounds backwards, but if you complete the most difficult tasks first, then every subsequent activity will seem easier in comparison. Don’t let tough problems turn into time-wasters. Figure out quickly whether or not you will need additional help to learn something.