2020 has been a peculiar year for students, especially since distance learning has brought unique challenges for them. For one, the motivation and positive pressure that comes from being with your colleagues in-person are no longer there. In addition, always being on the Internet because of remote studying has made it harder to combat social media distractions.
Whether you’re in high school, college, or even getting your Ph.D, focused studying is a challenge. This is a hurdle that we have all faced at one point or another in our lives. Of course, this can affect your grades and performance in school. Even so, we understand that most students still want to acquire knowledge along with a certificate with good recommendations.
For some of us, the recurring nightmare of being unable to focus can occur for several reasons. Here are some of the common things that cause students to struggle in concentration:
- Social media distractions
- Poor time management
You can have difficulties focusing because of any of those three or a combination of all of them. Whichever it is, there are tools and techniques that you can use to reduce the stress of studying and focus easily on the task at hand. In this article, we will show you how to improve focus and concentration with some foolproof methods.
How Can I Focus Better During Distance Learning?
If you’re looking for tips on how to focus on studying for exams, these solutions are for you:
Look for a Suitable Environment
When it comes to studying, location is everything. For some, the quiet ambiance of the library is what gets their brains ready to imbibe knowledge. While for others, it’s the soft, lively bustle of the coffee shop that gives them the right background noise to stay focused. Whichever it is, finding what works best for you is essential for a successful study session.
When choosing a studying spot, here are a few things to look out for:
Flat and Clear Surface:
It should be comfortable and have enough space to hold your books and laptop.
A Power Outlet within Reach:
If you study with your computer, you need to ensure that there’s a power outlet nearby. This way, when your battery is low, you don’t need to break your study flow by standing up to look for a power source.
Having a comfortable seating position is necessary for sustainable study sessions. Not only is it good for your body, but it also increases your energy levels and overall confidence. Sitting upright has been shown to keep the brain healthy; you need a healthy brain for good focus and learning.
If you are learning or working remotely, you might face challenges such as:
Zero Access to Coffee Shops and Libraries:
In such a scenario, create a learning or workspace in your apartment. The chosen area should be free of clutter while your most-used tools must be organized and within reach. In addition, it should have easy access to a power outlet.
Noisy Neighborhood or Roommates:
Get yourself noise-canceling headphones. You can use this to listen to music while studying. Also, consider downloading some study-music online. Study-music is designed to help you focus while you study or work.
Do you prefer the sounds from a coffee shop? You can download simulations or real-life coffee shop sounds online. You can also get other sound types, such as rain or beach sounds.
Create a Study Routine
To settle your brain into a cozy area of focus, you’ll find that a pre-study routine comes in handy. You could go through an ordered habit of closing the door, clearing your desk, putting on your headphones, and creating a to-do list. Taking five minutes to go through this routine each time you want to study is a way of telling your mind, “It’s time to focus.” After a few study sessions, your brain will get the message, and your mind will get ready to concentrate every time you perform your pre-study routine.
If you start getting bored with this, spice it up by going for a walk or getting some fresh air before each study session. You can also go for a glass of water or dance a little. Any activity you find enjoyable and can get the blood flowing, such as stretching or meditation, is also a good idea.
Use the Best Tools
When it comes to taking your study focus to the next level, you need to use the right tools.
To Manage Time:
Time management is a problem for a lot of students. Poor time planning will affect your focus and ability to study properly. To manage your time correctly and improve productivity, you need to monitor your time. You can use a time tracker that acts like a virtual supervisor. The tool will monitor your on-screen activity quietly in the background and then show you the report later.
When you know there’s an app tracking your time and what you’re doing, you’re less likely to allow distractions. You’d want to focus and study.
A priority list is a great way to set your priorities and simplify your goals. Using a to-do list app like Todoist will help you with this.
Schooltraq is an online academic planner tool that helps you sort, plan, and, organize your assignments for easy access. You can use it from any location across multiple devices.
Study with the Pomodoro Technique
Studying for long hours at a stretch is a bad idea. Research has shown that you can be more productive and assimilate more when you take short breaks in-between study or work. By studying for short periods at-a-go, you will focus more without distraction.
The Pomodoro technique is a breaking method where you set a timer, read for 25 minutes uninterrupted, and then take a five-minutes break. Do this for three more cycles. After completing the third cycle, take a 30-minute break. Then you can repeat the technique all over again from the beginning. Using this studying technique keeps you focused and motivated.
The thought of studying for two hours without pause can be intimidating. Naturally, this can cause distractions. On the other hand, 25 minutes is short—it’s not a scary length of time to focus. Knowing that all you have to do is focus for a short period of time, it makes you want to concentrate and not waste time.
As we’ve seen, short breaks are important. However, long breaks are necessary too. So, dedicate a day to forget everything and just relax. Once a week or once in two weeks, kick back and give yourself a well-deserved rest. On your chosen rest day, don’t think of studies or work. It’s your rest day, spend it with friends or get some alone time. This prevents burnouts and helps you focus for longer.
Regular exercise has been proven to benefit the mind and body. Short-term exercise improves your focus by up to three hours. This is because exercise increases blood flow to the brain. In addition, regular exercise helps you sleep better. It also reduces stress and anxiety while improving your mood.
In the long-term, 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least thrice a week improves memory and reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s.
There’s no shortcut to improving your focus while studying. While the tips in this article will help enhance your concentration, you also have to follow through. Above all, you have to be patient and dedicated. In time, your focus will improve, and your study life will be a whole lot better.