Do you find yourself getting distracted as soon as you start studying?
Is it difficult for you to sit at one place and focus on a particular thing?
If the answer is yes, you are at the right place.
In this guide I will give you highly effective actionable tips that you can go ahead and implement right away to improve your focus.
This guide will benefit all those who want to increase their productivity and learning by improving their focus while studying or working on a particular task.
Let’s dive right in.
1. Select one target of focus
This means you should concentrate entirely on a single task.
There is ample research to prove that our minds lose focus easily when we try to do multiple tasks at once.
For example- people have a habit of watching a TV Show/Netflix while having their meal. They usually do this because they find it boring to just sit and focus on their meal. Watching a particular show makes the activity of eating fun.
However, what they fail to realise is that by taking away focus from their meal, they are basically gobbling up their food and not chewing the food enough.
It can confuse their digestive system and their body may not be able to produce enough enzymes needed to completely break down their food. This could then lead to several digestive problems.
Therefore, one well defined target of focus creates a limitation that will narrow and strengthen your focus.
This first step is extremely crucial because selecting one target of focus will help you gain momentum and work through the next steps in an integrated manner.
2. Make that study session sacred
This means you need to do that one selected task only.
It is very easy for us to get distracted with so many things around us trying to grab our attention.
For instance, as soon as you sit to study, you get a notification on Instagram from a friend’s post. You go ahead and check it thinking that you would only check it once and then start with your task.
Sadly, it ends up with you scrolling through your Instagram feed only to realise that you have lost the time you had dedicated for study.
It is, for this reason, important that you treat your study session as a sacred activity where you would ensure that you do not do any other task no matter how easy or less time taking it might be.
Keep all the things that can distract you aside and inform people living with you that you do not want to be disturbed for a particular amount of time.
3. Make use of proper tools (both traditional and digital)
You should use tools like pens, paper, markers, etc. properly to enhance your study.
You might think, why am I saying such a basic thing?
I am saying so because it is very usual for students to just sit with one pen with hardly any ink left and a bunch of random notebooks to fill up.
It is very important that you take care of these small things as having all that you need at the time of study at one place will help you concentrate much better on the subject you are dealing with rather than, again, getting distracted with small things.
In this digital world, it is extremely important that you use online tools and softwares effectively that can help you study better as well.
Let’s take for example- a chef’s knife. A chef cannot cook delicious dishes without a knife. It is important that he invests in a good knife to make his work easy.
Secondly, a blunt knife, again, wouldn’t help. He always has to keep his knife sharp to work efficiently and serve people with multiple dishes.
Similarly, it is important for you to first identify and stick to certain tools that you find useful and then maintain it regularly so that it doesn’t clutter your workspace.
Also, keep in mind that you don’t waste a lot of time on deciding the digital tools that you would need.
Just do some basic research and start with those which you have the resources for. You can always upgrade them at a later time.
This is the real deal.
All that I have discussed above can only set things up for you to get started.
However, it will only give positive results if you practice it overtime.
All our habits are built over a long period of time.
The first few days might feel extremely difficult and you might be able to only focus for, let’s say, 20 minutes.
But day after day your ability to focus for longer durations will grow and strengthen.
It is extremely important for you to believe in the process and keep at it.
Let me give you a way out to ensure this as well.
Go ahead and create a challenge for yourself for a month- You need to tell one of your friends that you would pay them ₹ 500 if you do not read 20 pages everyday.
This can be difficult for the first few days but overtime it will get easier and your ability will improve.
Also, the challenge part will also help you create an interest for the task you need to do because who wants to lose a challenge, right? 😉
5. Use a timer
It is essential that you use a timer to keep track of your time and set timed study sessions.
You can even make use of the infamous pomodoro technique to get started.
A timed session is the key as it helps you chalk out a dedicated time for a particular task which again helps our mind ensure that we are focused during that period of time.
“There’s nothing an artist needs more – even more than excellent tools and stamina – than a deadline.” ― Adriana Trigiani.
The above quote emphasises on the importance of having deadlines and as a student nothing works better than deadlines to get things done.
6. Work alone
You need to ensure that you are alone when you sit at your desk to study.
While group study and other similar activities might seem fun, they won’t really help you increase your focus to the level that you desire.
“Without great solitude no serious work is possible” — Pablo Picasso
Even the greats like Pablo Picasso acknowledge this fact.
It is not to demean group activity but to emphasise on the fact that working alone can help you gain flow/state of mind where you are most effective.
It is, no doubt, important to engage in group activities to build teamwork skills but it is even more important for the group members to go back and work in solitude on their assigned part of work after the group discussions are over.
Groups can, more often than not, get distracted with random talks and discussions which will make you lose focus from the real work.
7. Make time for rest and recovery
This is, again, a crucial part of the process.
There is no way one can study all the time with intense focus.
Even if one does, they will end up burning out at some point in the future.
Therefore, it is important that you take breaks.
Go out with your family, meet friends, spend time on your hobbies.
While all these activities might not seem productive to you but they form part of your recovery and without proper rest your mind and body cannot function at their efficient levels.
All these tips that I have discussed above can be applied by anyone, no matter which level you are at.
If you are still planning to start, start TODAY!
Being consistent with your efforts is what will reap results in the long run and there is no shortcut to that.
I hope this guide will help you take actions that will help you study with intense focus.
If you have any further questions/comments, please leave them in the comments section below and I will see you in the next post!