Do you find it hard to focus when studying? There are so many distractions these days: text messages, videos, email, and social media. I’ve come up with this list of 10 tips and techniques to help you concentrate while studying.
1. Use your phone camera or webcam to record yourself studying
Set up your webcam or your phone camera to record a video of yourself studying. The idea is to create accountability. Instead of having a friend check on your progress, you have a camera watching everything you do. Knowing that you are being watched will remind you of your objective.
2. Use Focusmate
If you want to take it to the next level, use Focusmate instead. With Focusmate, you make a pre-commitment to study for a 50-minute period at least one day in advance. You must turn on your webcam during the 50-minute session. This means that you and your study partner can see and hear each other during the study session.
3. Before your first study session of the day, create a plan for the day
Make the plan as detailed as possible. There’s a good reason for this. You must be clear about what you’re going to achieve during each study session. For example, “study science” is not a sufficiently detailed study plan. Here’s an example of a plan with enough detail: “Read pages 25 to 32 of the science textbook and create a summary diagram.”
4. Write down exactly why you want to study hard
Another way to stay focused when studying is to be clear about why you want to study hard in the first place. Write down the reasons you want to study hard. Keep the list handy so you can remind yourself of these reasons when you find yourself losing concentration.
5. Keep track of all the tasks you’ve completed
Keep a record of all the tasks you complete each day. This is important for two reasons. Firstly, it allows you to monitor whether you are meeting the objectives set in your study plan. If you are not meeting your objectives, you may have underestimated the time required for the tasks.
6. Don’t study in bed
Don’t try to do anything productive while lying or sitting in bed. It’s important that the place where you study is not the same as the place where you sleep. You won’t be able to study effectively in a place that you associate with relaxing or sleeping.
7. Adjust the temperature of your studying environment
Make sure the temperature where you are studying is optimal. Researchers at Cornell University found some interesting results when office temperatures were raised from 20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F). Typing errors fell by 44% and output increased by about 150%.
8. Tell your family your study schedule for the day
Post your study schedule on your bedroom door or on the fridge door in the kitchen. This way, your family will know when they shouldn’t disturb you. There’s another benefit to doing this. It also gives you a greater sense of accountability.
9. Put all of your digital devices in another room
This might seem like common sense, but I’m surprised how many of my coaching clients were not doing this before I started working with them. The old adage “out of sight, out of mind” applies here. Leave your tablet and phone in another room and put them on silent mode.
10. Listen to classical music while studying
Listening to classical music is another way to help you focus when studying. According to Dr. Godkin, the ability of music to stimulate both sides of the brain is why music helps you focus and also improves your memory.