Focus is critical for effective studying. But with so many distractions most of us find maintaining that focus a challenge. Below you will find how you can eliminate those distractions, manage your time effectively and create a laser like focus on the material you need to study.
Step One – Choose The Right Study Environment
The environment where you choose to study can have a big impact on your focus. Ideally you want a quiet environment where you won’t be disturbed. Typically a quiet room in your own home is usually best or a desk at a college library. You should also turn off any personal electronic devices such as smart phones. If you can’t find a place that is quiet enough you may want to consider investing in noise cancelling headphones. These eliminate ambient sounds from the room and will allow you to remain focused.
Step Two – Set Yourself Up For Success
Before you begin your study session make sure that you have everything that you need nearby. If you have to look for a textbook or notes it will break your train of thought. Organize your materials so that you have all of the resources ready that you are likely to use during that study session. Also make sure that you have resources such as stationary, paper, notebooks, calculator, etc that you will need. At the same time remove any clutter from your study area that you are unlikely to use.
Step Three – Eliminate Multi-Tasking
According to a study conducted by David Strayer, director of applied cognition at the University of Utah found that only 2% of people can effectively multi-task. The chances that you are in this 2% are obviously incredibly likely. Therefore, if you want to improve your study performance you need to concentrate on one task at a time. Choose one thing and one thing only to work on. And remember that if you are watching a video lecture, you can concentrate properly if you are also checking out Facebook.
Step Four – Use The Pomodoro Method
There are many different types of time management techniques that you can use but one of the most popular and simple is called the Pomodoro Method. Essentially the Pomodoro methods is a technique for concentrating on only one task at a time. To implement the Pomodoro method you only need a clock timer (there are many online timers if you don’t have one available) and list of the tasks that you want to complete.
Each task that you want to complete should be able to be completed in approximately 25 minutes. So for example one task might be to read a chapter. If you cannot fully read the chapter in 25 minutes, then the task might be to read the first five units of that chapter. Prioritize your list of tasks so that you place the most important to study material at the top of the list.
Once you have your list set your timer. You study in periods of 25 minutes. During this 25 minute period you must focus on one task and one task only. At the end of 25 minutes you should stop no matter where you are up to. It is important to keep to the timer period because this is a way of training your brain to concentrate. Once you have finished a 25 minute session take a 5 minute break doing something completely unrelated to material that you are studying.
This could be reading a magazine, talk a quick walk around the room or making yourself a cup of coffee. At the end of your 5 minute break you start on another task during your next 25 minute session. Once you have completed four 25 minute long study sessions you should take a slightly longer break of around twenty minutes to half an hour. Keep performing study sessions until you have finished your task list or it is the end of your study day.
The key principles of how to increasing focus while studying are:
Choose a quiet environment where you won’t be disturbed.
Prepare your study area so you have the resources you need.
Concentrate on one task at a time
Use a time management technique like the Pomodoro method
If you follow these four simple steps you will find that they can have a huge impact on your focus while you are studying.
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