How Do I Stay Focused While Studying? Helpful Tips and Tricks
Many college students have uttered, “I can’t concentrate on studying” at some point. With so many responsibilities vying for attention, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and need help maintaining focus.
Because everyone learns differently, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to addressing this issue. It’s crucial, however, to find a learning method that works best for your unique style and preferences. Although it may take some exploring and experimentation, the time and effort spent will be worth it, resulting in a system that boosts your focus and success.
Discover how to stay focused while studying with these three simple steps:
1. Create a schedule
When it comes to studying, preparation is essential. College is a busy time, and without a solid plan, getting sidetracked and losing focus can be easy. Start by setting aside time on your calendar for studying, and stick to it. If you have trouble holding yourself accountable, consider inviting a friend who can help you stay on track to join you.
Consider when you feel most productive and focused when creating your study schedule. Take time to think through previous study patterns to determine what schedule works best for you. Don’t be afraid to adjust your schedule until you find a routine that works for you.
2. Create your space
Having a designated study space can make a difference in your productivity. When you consistently study in the same spot, your brain subconsciously associates that space with studying, making settling into a productive mindset much easier.
Keep in mind that everyone’s ideal study environment will be different. Some people may prefer complete silence, while others thrive with a bit of background noise or around other people. Experiment with different settings, such as libraries, coffee shops or your desk at home. If you prefer studying in public but get distracted easily, try using noise-canceling headphones and listening to white noise.
Once you’ve found your ideal study space, ensure it is organized to align with your learning needs. For example, if it is a space at home, remove any potential distractions, add comfortable seating or cushions and set up your station with everything you need to create a place you like to be in. If your ideal space is away from home, be sure to plan for anything you may need to bring with you to enhance productivity. For example, if you prefer studying in public but get distracted easily, try using noise-canceling headphones and listening to white noise.
When you tailor your study experiences to work with your preferred setting, it is easier to switch to a study mindset where concentration and motivation come more easily.
3. Create your goals and plan for success
Setting deadlines and breaking down larger tasks into smaller, more manageable tasks can significantly improve your productivity and keep you on track. Here’s a step-by-step example of what that may look like:
- Analyze the project: Begin by clearly understanding the overall project, its requirements, and the desired outcome.
- List all tasks: Note all tasks, including minor ones, for a clear picture of what needs to be done.
- Break tasks into sub-tasks: Identify smaller steps for each task. Subtasks may include brainstorming ideas, creating an outline, writing the introduction, and so on if the task is to write an essay.
- Prioritize tasks: Arrange the tasks in order of importance. This prioritization will help you focus on what’s most critical and prevent procrastination.
- Set deadlines: Assign realistic deadlines for each task and sub-task.
- Allocate time: Estimate how much time you’ll need for each task and sub-task—factor in breaks and buffer time for unexpected challenges.
- Create a timeline: Develop a visual timeline to map your tasks and deadlines. Update your timeline as the project progresses and adjust deadlines if necessary.
- Track progress: Regularly review your progress and adjust your plan as needed.
- Reward yourself: Celebrate small milestones and the completion of tasks to maintain motivation throughout the project.
By implementing these strategies, you will learn how to focus better in school and create a personalized study system that supports your academic success. Staying focused takes intentionality, but it does get easier over time. These basic steps can be used as a starting point, and eventually, you will develop your unique tips to focus on studying.
Lackawanna College students can also access various student support resources, including academic success coaches, tutoring services and the writing center. These services are free of charge and can provide the individualized guidance and support you need to stay focused and achieve your goals.