wikiHow to Focus on Studies

Four Methods:Creating an Ideal Working EnvironmentScheduling for SuccessStudying EfficientlyTaking Breaks

Unless you have a strong desire to learn the information or develop a skill, it can be hard to focus all of your attention in one place. Television, smart phones, social media, friends, and family can all distract you from your goal of doing well in school. Create an environment that helps you focus. Set a schedule that maximized your study time. Try different study techniques and take breaks so you don't become too overwhelmed.

Method 1
Creating an Ideal Working Environment

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    Get rid of distractions. Choose the right spot. In order to concentrate, you must eliminate those things that you know will distract you. Put up mobile devices. Turn off the TV. Close other pages in your web browser. Sit away from people making loud noises.
    • Sit upright in a chair at a desk. Don’t lay on a bed or in a position that you know will lull you to sleep. Pick a space that is solely used for studying. Before long, your body will associate that space with that activity and it will be easier to concentrate.
    • Study in a brightly lit room. This will protect your eyes from straining too much at a book, your notes, or a computer screen. Bright lights will also keep you from dozing off.
    • You want a comfortable chair. There should be no strain on your back or neck. Pain is a terrible distraction.
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    Play music without lyrics. Some people cannot stand silence. They need to have background noise to help keep themselves motivated. Consider playing classical music softly. For some people, music helps them concentrate. For some, it doesn't. Try it out and see what works best for you. A little something in the background can make you forget that you're studying instead of out having fun.
    • Keep in mind that study music might not be the music you listen to in the car for fun. You want to fill the room with sound, but not to the point that it becomes distracting or stressful. Experiment with different genres and figure out what helps you focus.[1]
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    Come prepared. Be sure to have all the materials needed to work. Have pencils, pens, highlighters, paper, textbooks, calculators, or whatever else will help you finish the task. Organize the area. A clean space will mean less distractions too. Your goal should be to take care of everything outside of studying before you sit down to focus. If not, you’ll just end up getting up repeatedly. Having to stop and start takes more time than continuously working.
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    Find a place where you can “unplug”. One of the biggest complaints that teachers have about their students is their inability to concentrate on a subject. Our constant use of social media and personal devices like cell phones divides our attention and makes it more difficult to concentrate.
    • Know what distracts you most on a computer, if you need to use one. There are websites and software blockers like SelfRestraint, SelfControl, and Think that can keep you away from the websites and software that are the hardest to resist.[2]
    • Find a place where there is no internet or your cell phone doesn’t work. Alternatively, you can choose to study in a place that doesn’t allow people to use cell phones, like in a quiet section of a library.

Method 2
Scheduling for Success

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    Learn when to say no. Often times, people find it difficult to concentrate on their studies because they are overextended with other obligations. If this is you, don’t be afraid to tell people no. Just explain that you need to study and won’t have the time or energy to do so, if you help them out.[3]
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    Make a schedule. Aim to work for 30-60 minute periods with 5-10 minute breaks in between. It is a lot easier to push yourself for a set period of time, if you know you have a break coming up. Your brain needs the break to recharge and to process the information.[4]
    • Schedule yourself to study different subjects. Studying the same thing for too long is a recipe for boredom. Know yourself. Do you get bored easy? If so, schedule your time strategically.
    • When are you most productive? Working when you have a lot of energy makes the work easier. If you know that you get tired at a particular time of day, schedule tasks that require less attention then.
    • Some people are early birds. They wake up early before most people even begin their days. They take this peaceful time to catch up on their studies. Other people are night owls. They thrive after everyone else has gone to bed. Their home is quiet and they can concentrate easier. Some people don’t have the luxury of waking up early or staying up late. Maybe you are one of them. If so, find a time in the day that you can devote to studying that works for you.
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    Make lists. Write down your study goals for that day. What do you want or need to accomplish?
    • Make sure they're doable. If you need to write a 10 pages in a week, schedule yourself to write 2 pages a day for 5 days. The task will no longer seem daunting and discouraging. This works for any assignment, whether you need to read a book, study for a test, build something for science class, or whatever. Break the task into manageable parts.

Method 3
Studying Efficiently

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    Vary your study techniques. Don’t limit yourself to one study method like reading a textbook. Make study cards. Quiz yourself. Watch informational videos if they are available. Rewrite your notes. Variety will keep you interested in your studies and make your time more efficient.
    • Your brain can process information in several different ways. By studying with different techniques, your brain will process the information differently, thus increasing the chance of retaining the information.
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    Make studying more active. To make your studying more effective and to make it easier to concentrate, use active reading techniques. Read your textbook aloud. Write your notes and read them aloud. Your brain will process the information differently and it will keep you on task.
    • Get others involved. One of the most effective ways to learn information is if you try to teach it to someone else. Have a significant other, roommate, friend, or family member play the student. See if you can explain the difficult material to them.
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    Put your notes into your own words. School is not about rote memorization. It is about understanding meaning. Try to rewrite your notes from class or homework sections in your own words.
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    Try the "5 More" rule. Sometimes, it is necessary to play mind games with yourself to ensure that you’ll study. Tell yourself to do only five more things or five more minutes before quitting. Once you've finished those, “do another five”. Breaking tasks up into smaller chunks makes things easier for those with shorter concentration spans and it keeps your mind going longer.
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    Do the least pleasant tasks first. This sounds backwards, but if you complete the most difficult tasks first, then every subsequent activity will seem easier in comparison. Don’t let tough problems turn into time-wasters. Figure out quickly whether or not you will need additional help to learn something.

Method 4
Taking Breaks

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    Take breaks. Your brain is like a sponge, if it gets to much information, it "leaks" out information. Take breaks to rest your mind.
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    Reward yourself. Sometimes we need an incentive to keep ourselves going. If good grades aren't enough of a reward, create something else to keep you concentrated on your studies. Maybe some sweet treats and some time in front of the TV? A shopping spree? A massage or a nap? What would make studying worth your while?
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    Eat a snack. Nutrition is key to keeping you awake and motivated to study. Have a snack nearby. Try to keep it to something simple, like a handful of nuts, blueberries, or dark chocolate. Keep water nearby, too; don't drink too much coffee, caffeinated teas, or any energy drinks (you'll be up all night long). Eventually, you’ll build a tolerance to them and they won’t help as much.
    • Eat super foods. Research shows that blueberries, spinach, squash, broccoli, dark chocolate, and fish boost brain activity. Avoid eating junk and sweets with little to no nutritional value. Your body will expend energy breaking them down, but won’t benefit for them. A healthy diet will keep you more energized and make it easier to put your mind to the test.[5]
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    Exercise to decompress. Exercising does wonders to the body and the brain. Exercise helps with memory, mood, alertness and feeling. Do stretches that work out areas of your body that might have grown stiff during your study session. Touch your toes. Lift small weights. Go for a jog.
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    Take a nap. Sleep allows your brain to store information that you study. Without proper sleep, all that studying is for nothing. Getting ample sleep helps to regulate your hormones, which will keep your temper in check. [6]

Article Info

Categories: Learning Techniques and Student Skills