Learning is hard. If you are an experienced student with a Ph.D. or discovering how to focus on high school education, studying is a problem we all face. Whether your biggest problem is social networks, slumber, time management, or a combination of all three, we have a range of tools and techniques that can help minimize the stress of education and focus you on what matters.
Location, Location, Location. Finding where you work best is an integral part of a successful study session. For some, the silence of a library is required, but for others, the light-gathering in a cafeteria can be the right amount of background noise to focus on.
But regardless of your background noise preference, your workplace must have some things:
Flat, clean surface with enough space to conveniently store all your materials and laptop
Outlets: If you need your computer to work, making sure you have a nearby power supply can avert the need to get up and stop your flow.
Comfortable seats (or standing place): When choosing a place to work, it is important to try to select an area with the furniture necessary to maintain good posture for long and sustainable work.
When it comes to staying focused during studying, it’s important to create a routine that will help you find your flow and concentration. The perfect place to start has a pre-work ritual that includes things like cleaning your desk, closing the door, grabbing all the materials you need, wearing headphones, and making a to-do list.
Taking five minutes to organize your workspace will not prepare you to work physically, but it will also help you train your brain to transition to an effortless focus state. Free from distractions around you, your mind is open to concentrate on what matters most.
If you’re like most of us, diverting websites and apps can be the death of any productive and focused work session. You sit down to work, and you get a notification before starting, or a headline draws attention. Apparently, small distractions like these quickly steal minutes. Once disturbed, it takes an average of 23 minutes to focus on your business.
Research has shown that splitting your work into multiple, intermittent sessions greatly improves retention over time. Therefore, although cramming works for the exam the next day, the information is more likely to be forgotten immediately. It is also much easier to maintain focus for 30 minutes at a time, rather than an eight-hour session.
The Pomodoro technique is perfect for dividing your study sessions into manageable time slots. It’s simple: choose a task to work with, set a timer, work until it sounds, and then take a break.
Only you can decide which time frame is best for you. Still, generally, the Pomodoro Technique requires you to work for 25 minutes on a singular task, completely uninterrupted. Once the timer rings, take a three- to five-minute rest. Then complete the cycle three more times before taking a 25-30 minute break. This helps stop burnout and keeps you focused, motivated, and prepared.
No matter how much you have to study, it is important to plan downtime in your study sessions. Self-control and mental energy are limited resources that will eventually run out as the day progresses. It is important to plan small breaks to check Facebook, find an off-topic question, or drink a cup of coffee to prevent burnout and keep it focused for longer. Also, getting a small reward to wait at the end of each session can help keep you motivated.
In short, there is no quick and unique solution to focus while studying. Different procedures and tools will work more for some than others. However, with some trial and error and the above tools and techniques, you can create a focused work routine that works best for you.