“How can I focus better when I study?”
Preparation is half the victory.
1. REIGNITE your motivation.
- Revisit why you are studying in the first place.
- To one day save someone’s life as a nurse.
- To protect vulnerable children from abuse.
- To create a business that will employ displaced workers.
- Your future self will thank you for the sacrifices you make today.
2. BORE yourself silly before you study.
- Studying pales in comparison to relaxing on a comfortable couch watching your favourite tv show on Netflix.
- Which is one more reason to do nothing (no television, no internet) long enough that hanging out with textbooks sounds like a party!
- For example: Stare at a blank wall until you are so bored that all you want to do is study. No kidding!
- The quieter your mind becomes, the better your focus will be.
3. Create a SACRED SPACE for studying.
- The physical act of preparing a space can be very calming for students.
- Clear all visual clutter. Clean your room. Organize your desk.
- Make your space a welcoming, energizing, inspirational place to be.
- Add in vibrant colours, fresh notebooks, lightly scented candles, bright overhead lights.
- Your studying deserves this level of respect.
4. Prepare yourself PHYSICALLY before you study.
- Think of yourself as an academic athlete!
- Fuel your mind. Energize your body.
- Drink more water. Hydrate!
- Research has tied dehydration to lack of focus, low energy, and negative moods.
- Eat small meals frequently throughout the day.
- Get a good night’s sleep. Exercise. Meditate.
5. Clear out MENTAL CLUTTER.
- Empty your mind of your to do lists, worries, and what ifs before you study.
- Write them down and put them in a worry box to be tended to once exams are complete.
- Repetitive thoughts running through your head could be your biggest distraction.
6. Remove ALL distractions.
- Shut off your phone. Hide it away. Just looking at it takes up mental space.
- And if you can’t trust yourself – lock your phone in the trunk of your car and give a trusted friend the key until you are done studying. No kidding!
- You’ll miss it for the first 20 minutes of your study session, then you’ll forget all about it.
- Bonus = you’ll get twice as much work done in half the time.
7. Be an ACTIVE studier.
- Do not passively read the textbook – you will fall asleep, I guarantee it!
- Instead, engage with the material.
- Get active. Make the chapter come alive!
- Do practice tests. Read the textbook chapters out loud.
- Have a classmate or friend quiz you.
- Teach the subject to someone, anyone!
8. Be slightly UNCOMFORTABLE while you study.
- Do not sit or lie on your bed when you study.
- Sit up straight in an office chair.
- Keep the temperature cool.
- Be slightly uncomfortable.
- This will help keep you alert and awake.
9. Take frequent MOVEMENT breaks.
- Study breaks are optimal at 5-15 minutes in length.
- Study sessions should not be longer than 45 minutes at a time.
- And when you take your breaks aim to burn off your restless energy.
- Move! Sing a song. Draw a picture. Clap out loud!
- Open a window. Smell fresh air. Go outside. Hug a tree!
10. REWARD yourself… eventually!
- Use the Premack Principle to reward yourself.
- Delayed gratification can be an excellent tool for sustaining attention and motivation.
- Make a list of all the things that are distracting you from studying and use them as rewards once all your studying is done.
- Go to Starbucks as a reward for studying, not as your location to study. (Too many distractions!)
- Bonus = you’ll get twice as much work done in half the time and you’ll have a special treat to look forward to when all your hard work is done.
- Your success is worth the wait!
Great timing! As I prep for my math final.
Awesome! Sending you good study vibes & an extra dose of focus.
These are great suggestions, Andrea! So creative and fun. 🙂 I particularly like the one about boring yourself silly before you start. Completely made me smile! So smart.
Many blessings and thank you for your wisdom…. it brightens up my day,
You’re the best! Thank you for your uplifting feedback.
You always encourage me to write from the heart.
Wishing you a beautiful night in California! 🌠💫
This is wonderful!!!
I was inspired by my students to write this post. Students today have so many more (technological) distractions than we did. Which is why the ability to focus is a life (study) skill that is essential for success, now, more than ever.
Excellent post, great cartoon and advice. Luckily not studying any more ..well some professional stuff from time to time. The one thing for me personally is if I bore myself before studying then try to get motivated to study, I would probably fall asleep.
Great point! I should have added: Make sure you’re standing up while you’re getting bored staring at a wall.. or maybe you can sleep standing up. 😉💤
I would have curled right into bed…
Oops! Tip #2 is definitely not a good one for you! 😴💙
Great list of tips and love the images.
Many thanks for the support ☺
Thanks for the feedback & your support too! After so many class discussions helping students with their study strategies, I thought it was time to put pen to paper. 📝🤔
Great advice. Solid, usable stuff!
Thanks Mitch! I really appreciate your feedback.
The topic of focus is so far reaching. Especially with the influx of technology.. Without focus, life becomes a series of sound bites. Surface & superficial. With focus, life (and school) takes on a much deeper meaning. Purposeful & intentional.💫
I absolutely needed this post in my life. I think I’ll print this list and put it in my planner. Thank you!
My pleasure Stephanie! Especially since I wrote this post precisely for nursing students just like you.🏥💉📚
Thanks so much!
Will apply these tips. 🙂
Thank you, the timing for this as I have suddenly found myself struggling with lethargy and motivation (it’s a health thing and a winter thing). This is a very practical and useful template that I can include in my template. Gratitude, Harlon
Thank you for the feedback Harlon! Feels good knowing these 10 focus strategies will be of help to you. Especially now. Sending you an extra dose of positive energy & healing vibes during this challenging time for you. 💛💫
I never thought of #2 before! I don’t study much anymore for school, but I’ve learned that to get work done on my book, it’s best not to open Facebook, blogs, or even emails until I’ve spent x number of hours on the book. Sometimes I cheat and look at something on my phone though.
Thanks for taking the time to read & comment Joanna! 😊
I came up with #2 “focus tip” of letting yourself get bored was by watching my students get so entertained / sidelined by technology that studying was the antithesis of motivation / purpose.
Yes ↔ Cheat & sneak a peek at your 📲 but not until you’ve finished 45 minutes of work. Make it a reward, not a distraction.
Great tips! The only other one I can think of is treating study like a 9 – 5 job, this allowed me to spend time guilt free in the evening doing what I wanted.
Thanks Jonny! Especially for sharing your personal success tip. Coincidentally, I did the same thing when I was in graduate school. All my friends had graduated & were working regular jobs. So, I made the choice to align my study patterns with 9-5 working hours. Worked wonders! Motivating me to focus, knowing my reward was time off with my friends. Win-Win.🌟