Do you have trouble focusing? Can you find the motivation to study?
After 5 years of post-secondary education, I will admit that maintaining focus can become difficult when all you can think about is anything but studying. After 5 years, I’ve come across a few tricks to keep going. Hopefully they help you!
1. Start Off On The Right Foot
If you know you’re entire day will be a jam-packed studying session, stop dreading it. That only makes things worse! Make your morning great, so when it comes time to focus on school-related items, you’ll feel refreshed and prepared. Start the day with your favourite breakfast food or latte, coffee, smoothie, whatever it is that you enjoy. Make sure it will keep your stomach satisfied so you are not thinking about food while you’re supposed to be studying. Food is always my number one distraction.
Listen to your favourite song while you get ready for the day. This will set you up to be in positive spirits. When it’s time to study, you can use music to keep yourself focused and avoid distractions around you. Try listening to classical or instrumental songs. By losing song lyrics, we are better able to focus on the words we are reading while we study.
We usually need approximately 6-8 hours of sleep in order for our brain to function at its peak the next day. Less than 6 hours may leave you leering towards your bed for a nap. Don’t stay up late binge-watching a TV show or movie. No, Netflix we will not continue watching.
Get enough sleep so you can absorb the information you’re studying tomorrow! Otherwise you may end up reading, rereading, and re-re-reading the same set of notes without remembering what you just learned.
4. To-Do List
Make a list of everything you have to go over. It’s been proven that every time you cross something off your checklist, it releases small amounts of dopamine, which will have you feeling good about what you’re accomplishing. Make sure that your list is specific, measurable, realistic, and “doable.” This can help increase your positive mindset.
5. Treat Yourself
It’s easy to lose focus when your tired, so reward your hard work by treating yourself to something you love. Whether that’s your favourite food, beverage, or taking a well-deserved 10 minute walk, do something that will pick your spirits up. It’s okay to give in to a small indulgence if it will benefit your piece of mind.
If you are a studying snacker (like I am!), come prepared. Bring healthy options that offer nutrients to help your energy levels instead of eating empty calories. Fruits, almonds, veggies, oatmeal, string cheese and granola bars are examples of healthier snacking alternatives to that bag of chips you’re eyeing.
7. Inspirational Quotes
Do you have a “dream board” or “inspirational wall” at home? Are there quotes that leave you feeling inspired to fulfill your goals? Use them! Keep them in a viewable location. Maybe you display it by your study desk or use one as a screen-saver or have it printed on the front of your notebook. Quotes can inspire us all the time; to be our best selves, to reach our goals, to redefine our limits. Why not broadcast quotes that will drive your motivation to continue studying and reach your educational goals?
8. Natural Light
Try sitting by a window or a skylight while you work. Natural light can increase our body’s production of Vitamin D and this exposure can make us feel happier, enable us to get more done and help us to better focus. It’s a quick and easy habit to obtain. Try it out!
9. Productive Breaks
Take breaks. We all need them! But I’m not talking about a 3-hour hiatus from studying, however, 15 mins can make all the difference. If you feel like you’re going cross-eyed from staring at your textbook for too long, go for a short walk or exercise. Do something to relieve your building anxiety and stress. Don’t let it ball up inside you by watching TV or going online. You’ve probably been sitting for hours, which is not great for your muscles. Get some fresh air and move around! Get those muscles moving, even if it’s only for a few minutes. You’ll feel less stressed and more focused on the information in front of you.
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*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.