How to Stay Focused While Studying

As a college student you have struggled with poorly-timed distractions which made you loose focus. This article vividly describes what you should do to retain your focus while studying.




Last Updated: January 8th, 2021

How to Stay Focused While Studying
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As a student you have struggled with poorly-timed distractions. You are sitting at your study desk, studying and then some unrelated thoughts cross your mind —the food you ate, the funny meme you saw online, or that upcoming presentation you are nervous about. You can also loose focus when you are totally immersed in your work, but your roommate, siblings or even friends barge into your study space at an inopportune moment.

By honing your concentration skills, you will be able to defend yourself against this internal and external distractions that will make you loose focus while studying. These techniques below will help you regain concentration and focus once you become distracted and then you will be able to maximize your focused study time.

Keep Away From Distracting Technology

Studying with your smartphone on, is not a good idea, even if it's set to vibrate. Notifications are very tempting. Once you hear your phone vibrate, you're going to look. Avoid this temptation by shutting off your phone, turning on "Do Not Disturb" mode or even putting them in another room.

The same applies to your computer, laptop and tablet unless you are using it to study. In this case, be sure to disable any application that might distract you while your are focused on your studies. There are also applications like Freedom or Self Control which will temporarily block access to some applications hence you will not get distracted. If close people to you are distracting you, tell them that you are entering to study mode so they know not to contact you unless there is an emergency.

Choose a Good Study Environment

Study alone, unless your friends are good study partners. If there is a lot of external distractions, gather your study supplies and head over to a comfortable study space where you will be able to focus. If there is no other space, post a sign on your door telling your family members or friends to stay away. If there are kids at your home, seek a few hours of childcare if possible.

When choosing a good study environment, choose a quiet room with limited clutter. If you cant find a quiet room, pick up some noise cancelling earphones or headphones and turn on an instrumental playlist or white noise. Before you open your books, create the best possible environment so you don't pause mid-session to make a change, this will help you remain focused while studying.

Anticipate What You Will Need

If you will be studying for a long time, you're going to get thirsty. Grab a beverage or some water before you start your study session. You may also get some snacks which will act as a brain food. Anticipating what you will need will help you stay focused while studying. Use the bathroom, put on comfortable clothes and set the room temperature that best suits you before you open your book. Make sure your study space is perfect before you start studying. By anticipating your physical needs before you start studying, you will less likely get out of your study space and loose focus.

Study During Your Peak Brain Times

Study During Your Peak Brain Times

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Every person has a time when their brain is functioning at their peak. Utilize that time to undertake the most challenging study tasks during this peak energy periods. At your peak energy periods, that is when you are mainly feeling energized and focused. If you are a morning person, wake up early in the morning and if you are a night time person, choose an evening time slot. If you aren't sure on when your peak time is, reflect on your most successful studying experiences. At what time of the day did they take place? When you know your peak brain times, stick to that to utilize your study sessions fully.

Answer Your Internal Questions

When you are trying to stay focused during your study session, there will be some internal questions that will cross your mind. You will struggle to remain focused when you fail to answer this questions. Try answering those questions, like so:

  • "When will I do grocery shopping?" Answer: "Once I'm done with my study session, I'll go and do the grocery shopping."
  • "Why can't I understand this concept?" Answer: "I'm studying like I'm supposed to be, so I'm confident that I'll figure it out and if I don't, I'll seek for help."

The goal here is to acknowledge the worry and accept that it is there so that you will be able to return your attention to the task at hand.

Engage Your Body With Your Mind

Some students are kinesthetic learners where you need to engage your body with your mind in order to remain focused. If you are one of those students who feel the need to be doing something physically try some of these techniques:

  • Underline words when you read with your pen.
  • Stretch a rubber band and wrap it around your pen
  • Do some jumping jacks. Read a question, do 10 jumping jacks then sit down and answer the question

Have Positive Thoughts

If you want to make your studying almost impossible, try having negative thoughts. If you have negative thoughts try reframing them into positive statements as you do not want self-defeating thoughts while you are trying to stay focused while studying.

  • Negative: "This calculus unit is too hard for me."
  • Positive: "This calculus unit is tough, but I can figure it out."
  • Negative: "I hate this course unit. Studying for it is so boring."
  • Positive: "This course unit isn't my favorite, but I want to study the course material so I can succeed."
  • Negative: "There is a lot of distraction. I can't study"
  • Positive: "I know I lost focus earlier, but I'm going to try again."

By turning your negative statements into positive statements, it will make your study sessions feel less like a burden and more like an intentional choice that you made in order to achieve your goal. When you do this you will feel more motivated, empowered and you will be able to stay focused while studying.


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