5 Tips for Staying Focused While Studying
It’s a Saturday afternoon, and you’re ready to get some serious studying done. You’re alone at your desk, you’ve got your mug of coffee beside you and all your books spread out around you. Filled with ambition, you open a book and begin to read.
But then your phone buzzes, and it’s a friend texting you to ask what your plans are for tonight. And while you’re on your phone, you might as well see what that Facebook notification was about, and then you figure you might as well see what’s new on Instagram. Then you remember that you wanted to ask someone a question, so you text them and decide you might as well flip through this slideshow of funny animal pictures while you wait for their response.
Does this sound at all familiar? While this might not happen to us every day, there’s a good chance that some smaller variation of this scenario happens to you on a regular basis. We’re never as productive as we want to be, and it’s no wonder. At any given moment, there are hundreds of things around us, demanding our time and our attention. At times, it can feel like focusing is almost impossible. To help, you need some tips for staying focused while studying.
Here’s a quick list of tips for staying focused while studying. Try them out and see if they don’t help you get the most out of your designated study time.
1. Minimize Your Potential Distractions
This is a somewhat obvious one, so we’ll lead with it. The fewer things there are around to distract you, the better. At the very least, that means turning your phone on silent, hiding it in a bag or on the other side of the room, or leaving it behind altogether.
However, this includes other things that might distract you. Turn on some music loud enough that you won’t hear the movie your family is watching in the other room, or the conversation going on outside your window. For an even more distraction-free environment, listen to instrumental music so that not even the lyrics can distract you. Movie soundtracks and classical music are great for this, as are ambient noise generators.
2. Choose a Good Time
All of us are at our best at different hours of the day. Some of us are most alert in the mornings, while some of us find we do our best thinking in the evening. Figure out what time you’re the most alert and clear-headed, and try to schedule your studying for these times.
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3. Take Care of Your Physical Needs
Physical needs are huge distracters. It’s all too easy to get up for a drink or a bathroom break, distract yourself and lose an entire hour. So try to take care of these things before you begin studying. Use the bathroom, put on comfy clothes, grab a blanket or a sweatshirt if you think you might get cold and make sure you have a drink and snacks nearby in case you get snacky when you study.
4. Make Your Studying Physical
Sometimes, having something to do with your body can keep you from getting too antsy. There are plenty of creative ways to do this, and you can invent your own ways as well. Here are a few to get you started:
- Try actually underlining or highlighting important words and phrases in your books.
- Physically copy down important notes from your books instead of just reading them.
- If you’re working to memorize something, try pacing or bouncing a ball against the wall in time with the words.
5. Train Yourself to Focus
At the end of the day, realize that no one can stop you from distracting yourself except you. You can lock up your technology, play relaxing music and sit in an empty cubicle, but if you don’t make a conscious effort to focus your efforts on concentrating, you’ll be distracted.
Try to train yourself a little bit at a time. See if you can work for 10 minutes without distracting yourself once. Then, reward yourself with a short break. Once you master this, see if you can go for 15 minutes. Continue like this until your brain is used to buckling down and focusing on the task in front of you.
Study Like a Pro
By mastering these essential study tips, you’ll set yourself up for the best study experience. Got any study tips you’ve come up with yourself? Let us know below.
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