If you belong to a group of people who simply can’t focus while studying, then you’re not very different from me. It’s not like we have Attention Deficit Disorder, ADD (although most of the time, I think I do), but I believe it's largely because we find the things we are pouring through being simply boring. There are much more exciting things to do! The problem with studying for me is that, I see it as a waste of my time and everything else, needs to be given importance. I would start to go through my spam mails, send text messages to random people, clean my room and do just about anything. I feel like the things that I need to study for would be pointless and it probably won’t come out during the tests, so why should I waste my time studying in the first place?
The truth is, this article is given birth to as a result of my procrastination. However, in the long run, I’ve figured out how to get my concentration right this time whenever I need to study. At this point, it’s getting late and I probably should get to bed, but I would just like to share a few tips on how to have focus during study mode.
How to Study
Seems like an easy thing to do but for most students, this has got to be the most difficult thing to do. Starting to study can be more difficult than you think. Finding your spot to settle down and opening your books won’t be enough. Most of the times, you simply know it that there are a million things that you need to study for. You realize that once you get into your books, it’s going to be a long night. You need to think, read, rethink, reread, pull your hair, or sometimes, cry just a little. But if you’re like me, once you start, it won’t be so bad after all. For me, I’m totally fine as long as I understand what it is that I’m doing. The moment things get confusing, I get frustrated though, and that would be the time to take a break from studying.
I’ll discuss more on taking breaks in a short while, let’s go back to starting. Just take a seat, and immediately start studying. Don’t delay things by constantly checking up on your Facebook for the last time, or trying to rearrange the books on the shelf or the like. Just get all the necessary things and begin. If you are in the zone for ten minutes, then the study mode has definitely been switched on. Believe me, it really works. It will only take 10 minutes for you to get your head in the game, after that, you are really in the zone, studying for at least an hour or so.
Have a Break
This may be clear to you, but then again, it could be not. Taking breaks from studying is also important because it helps rest the mind and refreshes it, letting you absorb all the information you have gathered from studying. Apart from studying, breaks are also great when you do your homework because it helps you and your mind relax. However, there are also things that you need to remember about taking breaks.
• You may take a break after 45-60 minutes of non-stop studying, and your breaks should not exceed 15 minutes. Anything more than that and you are likely to have turned off the 'study mood' and restarting your engine is going to be so much harder.
• Be firm about your break schedules; don’t start the break five minutes ahead of time because you don’t want to study a new chapter. If you finished the chapter five minutes ahead of your finish time, do not take a break yet, but instead review the chapter.
• Avoid eating a lot when you take your breaks. Something like yogurt or fruits can help, but as long as it’s snack-sized then it’s totally fine. If you eat a lot, your body will be digesting that food, and a lot of blood from your head shall be needed in that process, and that could tire you out.
• Avoid sugary foods. You might ignite your energy but later on you will crash, so keep away from chocolate bars and the like.
• Stop checking your Facebook every now and then. Taking a break is all about relaxation, and not distraction. If you set your mind on other things, then it will be hard to go back to studying, and you’ll be having a difficult time like you did when you were just starting.
• Breathe some fresh air – that would be the best thing that you can do when you take a break. It’s good for your brain as it helps your brain relax and take away all the stress from studying.
Finding the Right Place to Study
It doesn’t matter what anyone would say, but the best way to study would be to do it on your own. I am no alien to study groups. It's not as stressful, and perhaps even more fun, but you will usually have to admit that the amount of quality study time is reduced compared to studying alone. If you’re with your study buddies, you would just end up chit-chatting about other things and before you know it, you have been talking about the latest couple in school for an hour. If one of the group members gets hungry, then all of you would feel that you should also get something to eat. When one wants to have a break, everyone would also follow. I'm sure you know what I mean. So try to avoid study groups as much as possible.
When it comes to the place, be sure to study in some place that is spacious and has good lighting. It’s hard to concentrate when you’re inside a gloomy room; it will make you even more lethagic and unmotivated than you already are. A cozy and quiet place would be perfect for me, however it’s not that bad to have a background noise. Usually, when you’re in the studying zone, you can block out whatever background noise you can hear inside the room. Just to be on the safe side, find a quiet spot, away from people or distractions like TV or radio. Always return to that spot when you need to study and in time, you’ll get used to it.
The Best Time to Study?
There isn’t any specific time that your body goes straight into study mode. It would all depend on you; some people are nocturnal beings and can concentrate on studying when everyone else is asleep. Others like it when the sun is shining bright so they like to do it early mornings or during the afternoon. I’m more of a nocturnal being if I had to choose. Make sure that you have rested enough when you study (though how impossible this might seem). If you still feel drowsy even if you had enough time to sleep, do some quick exercises to pump up your blood. Sometimes, you just have to pull yourself away from the lethargic state. Be sure you’ve taken in enough foods but also remember not to overeat. A bloated feeling is never convenient during studying. Ultimately, it’s about sleep, exercise, and eating healthy.
Would It Be Bad to Listen to Music While Studying?
This would be a personal decision. I can’t stand listening to any type of music when I study, not even the slow, classical or instrumental music. I love music and I love listening to it whenever I drive, walk, shower, or as my lullaby. But when I study, it could be a distraction. Sometimes, I could sing to the music even if it’s an instrumental music, and then I start to sing the notes inside my head. It’s weird because most people don’t experience this, but personally, listening to music and studying will be considered multi-tasking. For others, music helps them solve mathematical problems; studies also reveal that classical music helps the mind to focus during studying or doing your homework. If you belong to those people who
don’t get distracted by music when studying then just go for it, for if not, just keep it away.
I’ve Tried Everything and Still Can’t Focus
If you have tried studying at different times in different environments, and you know you have rested well and you have taken enough short breaks in between study time, but still nothing works, you need to see a doctor or a counselor perhaps. You could have some form of psychological condition. It may not be something serious but maybe you simply have some kind of personal distraction that always seem to interfere with your concentration. Don’t feel shy about seeking some professional health. Your future is on the line and a lot of people choose not to seek help when they should. You need to find out the real problem if you want to have a good studying regimen.