Constantly losing focus while you study be frustrating. We will go through some of the top study tips that can allow you to focus and study effectively.
Remind yourself why
One of the key things that help us maintain focus no matter what, is by getting really interested in whatever we are doing. So find a way to make your topic interesting, relatable and practical in your life.
Remind yourself that you want to study to expand your worldly knowledge, to graduate, get into a field that you can flourish in, and provide some value to the world with your awesomeness. Also try thinking in metaphors and whatifs. It’s your mind, no one else has access to it, so think of wondrous things to make yourself want to devote the next few hours of your life to the task at hand.
- Plan out what you want to accomplish and give yourself a time limit. For example, I will read 10 pages from my psych textbook in 30 minutes, or I will spend 1 hour researching the key words for my report.
- Get enough sleep. Ideally around 7-9 hours. If you sleep earlier, you may need less sleep, but please never do less than 6. Constant sleep deprivation is deteriorating for the brain and body.
- Eat foods that help you focus. Which include blueberries, green tea, avocados, spinach, kale, salmon, nuts and seeds. I often have a spinach, banana & kale smoothie with matcha green tea powder, but you can combine some of the ingredients in a quick sandwich if you like.
- Your brain mainly works on sugar, but you need to temper it with a protein or something with low GI, to reduce any blood-sugar problems which can lead to sudden tiredness. A quick way to find a a balance is to opt for a fruit or healthy smoothie.
- Be aware that if you study right after having a heavy meal the blood circulating around your brain reduces and goes to help with digestion, so you may feel less alert. Smaller meals can help.
- Take supplements that help you focus: fish oil, omega 3, Ginko Biloba, vitamin B12, Co-Enzyme Q10, and iron.
- Identify whatever distracts you and find a way to minimise it. So perhaps you can go to a non-distracting environment, if that is an issue. I prefer libraries or coffeeshops.
- Surround yourself with motivated people. If you can befriend the top few students in your class, or at least be on nicer terms with them, hopefully their studiousness will rub off on you.
- Have all the stationary and materials you need at hand.
- Set up a reward system, but avoid food as a reward as it can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food. Instead try a relaxing activity, or hobby. Pretty much any incentive you can think of that will help you cross the finish line.
- Prime - Spend 2 minutes skimming or figuring out what you will be going through.
- Drinking game - Keep a bottle of water or two next to you. Drink a cup or a half cup worth every time you get distracted for more than 5 seconds.
- Put distractions in their place - Write down any distracting thoughts in a small notebook. But remember it’s not supposed to act as your pretty bullet journal, but you can make another spread for if it you like. I made a small notebook the other day to write down quick thoughts that I would otherwise dwell on. It helps me direct my thoughts appropriately to what I’m studying, and still have those important ideas to refer to later.
- Motivate yourself - Write out exactly why you want to be a [insert awesome career position] in detail with examples. Keep that page or post-it on hand and look at it when you feel yourself losing focus. It can give you a motivational boost and can inspire you to keep going. Sometimes I like to visualise specific scenarios of how I could help people once my finish my studies.
- Take strategic breaks - Remove yourself from your study space and think of something else for a few minutes. You can get a snack, walk around, do a quick workout, look outside, and notice nature. Practice being present in the moment. Listen to of the world around you and get out of your head.
- If you feel you can not sustain your concentration on a task for too long, you may switch between two different yet equally important tasks. But try to do a big task for at least 20 minutes, you never know, by then you might like it. Some studies show, it takes 20 minutes to really get into concentrating on something.
- Reduce as many distractions as you can, including turning off notifications and wifi, putting you phone on do not disturb or airplane mode, and try blocking apps.
- Track how you use your time. I like the apps ‘Now and Then’ and ‘Moment’ for iOS. So you can see how much you have accomplished or slacked off.
- Write draft first. Edit and prettify later.
- If you’re in the final stage, focus on the fact that you have made it this far and that you’re almost done.
- Try to make it fun somehow, perhaps with strategies you used when you were a kid.
- Use as many senses as you can.
- Record your voice and say whatever you are reading or writing in different accents.
- Draw quick doodles next to whoever you are doing to help you remember it better.
- As long it’s not your first draft, feel free to use colourful pens, highlights and tape to keep you engaged.
- Revise whatever you have accomplished just before your break, by quickly skimming through your most recent notes or readings.
- Consequent revision schedule. The best way to remember what you have worked on is to revise it in specific intervals, after you have studying it. So after five minutes, in that evening before bed, the next day, at the end of the week and then in three weeks.
- Reward yourself, as long as you feel like you ended up accomplishing something you couldn’t before.
You can try out each step for two days each to see which strategies work best for you.
I hope these tips can help you, and feel free message me if you would like more details for one of the points :)