Distractions are Everywhere. Be it your phone, or your favorite series calling out to you, distractions are everywhere. We know it is straightforward to get distracted while studying. Distracted studies are terrible for you. They can lead to a poor understanding of the concepts you are learning, or sometimes not understanding anything at all!
Nod if you are a victim of this scenario: you follow a sentence with your eyes repeatedly while simultaneously thinking about something exciting. Until after half an hour, you realize you have just wasted limited time being distracted.
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You might think you have spent hours and hours studying, but in reality, it comes down to mere minutes. And it is not enough. Instead of wasting any time, sitting in front of your desk daydreaming, we are going to tell you how to study with your full concentration comprehensively.
First, let us talk about the reasons why people are so easily distracted while studying. Understanding your flaws will let you decide on the best way to solve the problem.
Reasons Why Students Get Distracted While Studying
1.Lack Of Interest
You might feel that you will complete all your work today and sit down to study with great enthusiasm. Then, gradually after ten minutes of concentrated studying, your mind begins to trail off to the wonderlands of Narnia.
Where did you go wrong? You had the intent, so what was off? Your interest. You might be more interested in what is going on in the 3rd season of such and such show, or who was talking about what.
2. Unclear Goals
You go to your room to study and think that you will complete as much syllabus as possible in one sitting. Sound familiar? Many of us do this, and this leads to trailing off into your thoughts. It is best not to take too much into your plate at once. It makes you overwhelmed, and you tend to get distracted easily.
3. Do not study in specifically designated areas.
Students think that they can study while their sibling is busy playing in the same room or studying in front of the television. Studying in unsuitable areas ruin your concentration, and make you submit to your distraction.
4. Fail to Strategically block out distractions
You know what your distractions are. You are cautious and aware of them. But you find yourself acting out on one.
5. Focus on getting long term goals instead of the task beforehand
You sit down to study and imagine yourself becoming a successful person in your field. You think about what your speech will be when you win the Nobel Prize. In the meantime, your exams are drawing nearer, and you are no further than you were when you began.
6. Have no tracking system
You look up the question answers for your syllabus and become indulgent in working out the questions. Suddenly you realize that you have been working out the answers you already know, and are avoiding the ones of which you are unsure. Hence, instead of moving forward, you are circling the portions you have already completed.
7. Relying on smartphones instead of traditional study materials
You believe that the current generation should ditch the traditional note-taking and practising, and can effectively substitute hours of studying with your book for a quick video on YouTube about the topic. You open the app with positive intent and end up watching hours and hours of cute dog videos.
To sum all the points, you get trapped in endless loops of mind wandering. According to scientists from the journal NeuroImage, most learners have no strategy to help them focus on the task.
Not only do people have multiple tabs open on their browsers to allow themselves to endlessly distracted by notifications on their phones, but they cannot enter into the ‘flow’ of studying.
Many simple tricks can effectively help you to focus on your studies. You can calm your thoughts with simple breathing techniques during studies to help you concentrate.
The distractions that keep you from studying maybe both internal or external. Internal distractions are bodily or physiological needs. External needs are things like technology, people, etc.
1.Keeping Distractions To A Minimum
Sometimes study time can overlap with other family activities. You might need to participate in other tasks while you wish to study. But, you can make sure that you concentrate by making sure the room is quiet. Play some classical music, and ensure you have proper, bright lighting.
2. Eat Something Beforehand
Sometimes you may feel hungry after getting into the flow of studying. Instead of getting out of your flow, eat something before sitting down to study. But make sure not to overeat, since overeating will make you sleepy.
- Just like eating, make sure you have an empty bladder beforehand so that you don’t need to worry about it for at least an hour.
3. Put Your Phone On Do Not Disturb
For obvious reasons, students need to put their phone away, or at least put them on Do Not Disturb mode. Your phones have all the tempting applications possible. With games, social media, and a selfie camera, the possibilities of getting distracted are endless.
- The easiest way to avoid your phone is to put is out of reach, in another room. Then, you can study with lesser temptation.
4. Installing Ad Blocker
Many students need to use the internet for studies. While using the computer, there are a variety of ads and notifications that may pop up, trying to grab your attention. Avoid these by installing the free chrome extension, the Ad Blocker.
5. Maintain A Distraction Sheet
Professionals believe in doing only one thing at a time. When they are writing, they only write. They do not stop to look for missing information. It is because if they do stop for a few minutes to look up any information, their focus is broken. They will destroy their flow. It is much more challenging to build momentum than to stay in momentum and continue.
- Every time you stop to look at your phone, you are breaking your momentum. When you start to study again, you will waste several minutes just to go back to the flow.
- If you are getting distracted continuously, maintain a distraction sheet. Write down all that is bothering you during a particular session.
- After you finish your task at hand, look over at the distraction list and see what bothers you the most.
- Since you know what distracts you, you can much easily avoid those the next time.
6. How To Focus On Studying
Believe it or not, there are hoards of reasons why people are distracted apart from the reasons above. Surrounded by the sea of distractions, let us discuss how not to drown in it.
7. Set Clear And Achievable Goals
You already know that getting too much on your plate can become a disaster. It never works. You get overwhelmed and boycott the task altogether. What you can do is that you can create goals you can achieve within a fixed time. Fanciful overreaching does not work, and it needs to change.
- If you look at your studying pattern, you will notice that you are probably trying to mug up the entire page instead of focusing on the most relevant information.
- Rule Of Redundancy is a fancy name which means that most of the words in the book have nothing to do with the core points. They are needed for context.
- Hence, instead of trying to memorize everything, try to extract only the critical information from the book. If you try this technique out, you will notice how efficient you have become, and how quickly you are going through a chapter.
8. Make Learning Fun
Studying can be plain and boring. To make it fun to study, you can incorporate what you learn in real life. For example, you can find apps to input answers to questions from the subject you studied.
9. Create a Routine
You might often have trouble keeping all your notes and printouts organized. For such a situation, you can maintain a strict routine.
- Make a list of what tasks you need to be complete for the week.
- Make a routine where you write the due dates in your free time. Try to stick to it, and you can check off a task once completed. Trust us. It is gratifying.
10. Stay Organized
Another thing you can work on is organizing your study material. If you have different pieces of information scattered throughout the computer, it becomes difficult to go through them. Make it a point to store information according to the chapter, book, etc.
- You can make a folder about the respective topic and store the information there.
It is not difficult to create a routine. It is much more challenging to maintain it. Try not to deviate from it. You can ease yourself into the process by keeping easy tasks in the beginning and putting plenty of breaks. You can later modify it to as required. Either way, it is best not to put too much at once in the beginning but make sure to follow the routine strictly until it becomes second nature to you.
12. Work In A Space That Works For Everyone
When you are with your family, they can be a significant source of distraction. Whether it is by being distracted by children or your relatives, they cannot always appreciate your study time. Hence, find the perfect time when your family is least likely to disturb you. You could move to your room and study, or you can be more productive when you are near your mom and dad while they are busy working. Select the ideal environment to make the most out of your study time.
13. Use A Calendar
You can use a calendar and write down your routine in it. Suppose you have a deadline for a project coming, or have an upcoming exam. Mark it in the calendar. You will find it much easier to organize your materials and complete your work on time. This way, work won’t pile up, and you will not be overwhelmed by it.
- Leaving homework, projects, etc., to the last minute, can mean disaster.
- Use a calendar, and divide up your project into manageable pieces.
- Mark them in the calendar and complete the assigned pieces on time.
14. Space Out After A Study Period
It is important to space your studies, and have time to zone out after studies. Experts say that if you let your mind wander after studying something, it is incredibly beneficial.
- Your brain percolates the information at a neurochemical level when you are taking a break.
- For example, if you go for a short walk after studying, your understanding of the matter becomes deeper.
- Walking is not an intellectual activity. Hence your mind gets the chance to think better, while it is left to wander.
15. A Fixed Studying Place Or Places
Your brain is used to match the information you learn with your surroundings. For example, you might have heard about the Memory Palace technique. It is based on this very fact. If you use a fixed set of locations to study, your mind will have a change of scenery, while still being able to connect to space and the information.
- Scientists have proven that having a few locations where you can study can help to improve memory.
- You will find you can remember more by combining walking in between sessions to a new place of study. Try it.
16. Studying With Books Instead Of A Device
If possible, you can try and study mostly from real books instead of digital ones. There are plenty of reasons. Firstly, physical books do not vibrate or pop up with a notification. Secondly, you can use the pages of your books to remember small, useful information.
- Your brain can also track the space of physical books, that is impossible with digital ones.
- Space is an essential aspect of learning and memory.
17. Train Your Attention Span
Try out brain exercises. They help to train your brain to focus on a subject for a more extended period. Use techniques like the memory palace to connect random images from your life with something you just learnt. This exercise is excellent to increase your attention span while memorizing information.
- Learning to play an instrument also trains your attention span, since you are required to practice it for a significant duration.
18. Try To Focus On Your Vision When You Feel Frustrated
When you feel demotivated, try to think of the bigger picture. Think about what you want to achieve. Understand that the only way to get it is by overcoming the present by studying. If you focus only on the short term goals, you will feel frustrated and empty.
- Remind yourself of why you are doing it before beginning a session storm past the reason why you are studying.
- You might be studying to become financially independent, or to go to your dream college, get your dream job, or make your parents proud.
- Whatever the reason may be, take a few seconds to remind yourself of the ‘why’ and contrast it with the consequences that will be inevitable if you don’t study now.
19. Enjoy The Journey
In addition to being efficient, try and enjoy the process because ultimately that is what truly matters. To spice up your studies, you can try a rapid brainstorming session with a friend. Go through the study materials then sit together with them, or over the phone and see how many points you can remember.
- Share points one by one, and allow things to become a little competitive.
- The rush of remembering more than your partner will make you want to study better, and with more efficiency.
20. Pay For Coaching Classes
If you are just not motivated enough or don’t understand the matter, it is best to rely on the expert. With coaching classes, you will be motivated. You will need to pay some money. Hence, you will tend to get the sessions and have fantastic attendance. Even if it is a group session, it is practical too.
21. Participate In Study Groups
Study groups are when you meet up with your friends, over the phone or physically, and discuss the matter in your syllabus.
- You can give your brain a hard workout session with these groups.
- It also becomes easy to assess your position or expertise in the subject, if you discuss them.
22. Split Up The Work Into Sections
It is not easy for students to stay focused on their big assignments or homework. Just the thought of finishing a fifty-page assignment makes them want to cry. Hence, never let your work pile up. Dividing the work created these finish lines, which are a fantastic motivation. If you divide the fifty pages to ten pages per day, you can finish it much quicker. Think about how you can section your work calmly. Try not to freak out. You have got this.
23. Track Your Progress
Sometimes, the biggest motivation is how far you have come. When you find your tasks unmanageable and frustrating, try to look back into how much work you have already finished. You might have to study the remaining one hundred pages, but look at the nine hundred pages you have already gone through! Tell yourself that it is not worth quitting after coming this far.
- Tracking your progress becomes more manageable and fun if you translate all of your reading obligations onto a physical calendar.
- Include the titles of all the book and articles in it. You can print out your syllabi and paste them into different notebooks for each course.
- Make a fun scrapbook with colours.
- Schedule your reading and check off or cross out all the sections you have completed. You can use different colours for different levels of achievement too!
24. Reward Yourself
When you complete the section of work assigned for the day, give yourself small rewards. Do something that you like. Go out for a brisk walk, listen to music, play with your dog, and eat snacks, whatever keeps you going.
- You can also arrange a movie night. If you are rewarding yourself after hard work, it trains your brain.
- Studying becomes a part of a positive feedback chain with gradual practice. Reward yourself small for reaching small finish lines (for example, have a bar of chocolate), and give yourself something indulgent for a significant achievement.
- With time, you will look forward to studying to reach the next reward.
25. Use A Simple White Notebook
Never underestimate the power of a white notebook. Get a nice pen and a notebook. Make it your forever companion.
- Whenever you are studying, make it a point to take down points, if you are learning via a YouTube video, pause and take down what seems essential.
- Not only for studying, but writing is also a great habit.
- Some might even dare say that writing is better than reading. But not everything works for everyone.
- So try out writing down little points now and then, make flowcharts, use colours, and make it fun. It might just work out for you!
26. Do Not Multitask
You may think that your mind can handle some studying with some texting and social media surfing. Well, it is difficult for your mind to concentrate on one thing when it keeps getting interrupted with another. Hence, try to focus on one thing: studying.
- Keep your phone at bay.
- If you are using your laptop to study, avoid the temptation of keeping multiple tabs open- one of the study material and the other of social media.
- You will have a lot less digital clutter with only the bare minimum tabs open.
- Furthermore, when there are multiple sources of information, your mind is not able to efficiently filter out what is relevant to you.
- Hence, you will inevitably be slowed down with digital clutter.
- Keep your life clutter-free.
27. Take Care Of Your Body
You cannot focus on studying if you are unwell.
- Make it a point to go out of your house at least once each day.
- You can do some exercising every day to keep your mind fit.
- Believe it or not, your mind is much more likely to absorb new information if you do some physical activity.
- An idle body makes your mind sluggish and unwilling to take up new information.
- Eat healthy before you sit down to study.
- You can take cheat days now and then, but make sure everything is in moderation.
Sleep is a vital factor in every aspect of your life. If you have a good night’s sleep, and your mind is well-rested, you will feel much more active. On the other hand, a restless night of sleep will hamper your studies since you will be too tired to process any new matter.
- Sometimes students are too stressed out about their exams to fall asleep.
- It is terrible for you. You can avoid tossing and turning all night if you engage in some physical activities during the day.
- You can also opt for small naps in between the day to keep you energized.
All know the benefits of meditation. Cannot concentrate on your studies? Try out a short five minutes meditation session before sitting down.
- Sit down in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and follow your breath.
- If you are new to this, you can try out a guided meditation session.
- You can find plenty of options from YouTube. You can select the most manageable level to begin.
We have already shared a ton of information above. But there is an easy way to ease your way: Pick out any one of the above tips then put it to action. Then incorporate another one. Very soon, you will have a nice pile of habits to create a wonderful sense of really getting involved with your studies.
Surely there are going to be times when you have to make changes. Something may come up. But the more you use these tips to help you study, the better and more comfortable you will find to get back on course.
Studying is a part of your life. There is no means by which you can avoid it. So why not do it the easy and fun way instead of the frustrating and challenging way?
- If you get lost in daydreaming during studies, become aware of them. Acknowledge them for what they are: fleeting thoughts, and they go. You can also put them down on the distraction sheet, as we mentioned earlier. You can deal with them later.
- If you are severely upset over something or you are going through something, you might want to visit a professional. Keeping your mental health in its optimum condition is crucial for a healthy life.
- Worry and anxiety will not help you reach your goal. The challenge is with training your mind to block out the problems.
- Do the difficult tasks earlier in the day. Don’t leave the demanding tasks like learning for the end of the day. That is the time when you have the least energy mentally and physically. Just get the difficult tasks over with, in the beginning, and you will notice that you are not stressed about completing your task in time. No stress means better learning. It is a whole new positive cycle.
It is not humanly possible and necessary to give up the worldly pleasures of watching YouTube, or online series. Make it a point to do what you like after you have finished an assigned session of studies and work. Create a schedule for when you can watch videos and entertain yourself. Avoid the temptation to do so in the middle of tasks.
- Take a break now and then not to overwork yourself. Take short ten-minute breaks where you can go freshen up, and hoard some positive energy for the next session.
- Stick to the routine you have created. You know yourself best. Create one that works for you.
Remember to have fun with your studies. Learning can be tedious, but it is what is best for you. Remember, successful people are not unique; they work hard enough to succeed.