This post was inspired by the one question students ask year after year:
“How can I focus better when I study?”
Focus has as much to do with what happens before you study as what happens while you are studying.
1. Remove ALL distractions.
- Shut off your phone. Better yet — put it away. Just looking at it takes up mental space
- Research shows the mere presence of a smartphone on your desk impairs intellect and reduces brain power.
- And if you can’t trust yourself to hit the switch – 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.
2. 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!
- Have a classmate or friend quiz you.
- Do end of chapter tests.
- Read the textbook chapters out loud.
- Teach the subject to someone, anyone!
3. 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.
4. Take frequent MOVEMENT breaks.
- Burn off pent-up, restless energy during study breaks.
- Get up. Walk around.
- Do not grab your phone.
- Move your body! Sing a song.
- Draw a picture. Clap out loud!
- Open a window. Smell fresh air.
- Go outside. Hug a tree!
5. 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!
Related Post: I believe in you.