I Can Stay Focused On My Homework
Do you ever feel overwhelmed after the school day is over and can’t find a way to shut off your brain? Focussing on homework might be last thing you want to do at that point. How can you overcome the resistance and get it done either way?
It seems like there’s always work to be done for your studies. Also at times when you can’t seem to concentrate.
So how do we get our minds to understand how to focus on homework? Especially when it’s is the last thing we feel like doing. Yet, we know that if we leave it for tomorrow, it will pile up and create even more pressure…
The right study habits and concentration techniques will most definitely help you out — and that’s exactly what we are going to explore in this article.
How To Focus On Studying In A World Of Distractions
We live in the era of distraction.
Countless factors are constantly fighting for our attention: social media, other people, things we could potentially be doing at any moment, our doubts, our overthinking, our anxious thoughts and expectations, the temptations around us (such as buying something shiny or eating junk food)… And all of this makes us feel as though we lose control over our mind.
If you’re wondering how to focus on homework and get better grades, then focus is something you need to get back at all cost.
Every student needs this skill.
We will discuss specific study habits later in this article, but first you need to understand how to focus on studying. For that, here are the two key principles that will make you (more) successful in your studies:
1. Identify The Distractions In Your Surroundings
What are the things in your daily life (and in your head, for that matter) that take your mind away from your studies (or any other task in front of you)?
Clearly identifying these helps you understand both the problem and what causes it. Understanding these leads us to finding the right solution to overcoming them.
While many of these types of distractions were mentioned earlier, digital distractions are one of the worst kind— and according to studies, their effect is on the rise in the classroom. If you’re looking to gain more concentration and thus, form better study habits, question your online behavior first and foremost.
2. Limit The Use Of Technology To Find Focus
What’s the role of social media in your daily life? Have you ever sat down to calculate not just how much time you spend on social media daily, but also how horribly it distracts you from doing the things you should be doing? When you are wondering how to focus on homework long after you’ve put your phone away, you’re still thinking about the last posts you saw on Facebook. The sound of new notifications might cause anxiety, or your own eagerness to see the reactions to a comment you left might distract you.
And then comes the information overload, the fear of missing out, and the all-too-common signs of addictive behavior. Technology is affecting your mind more than ever, and it’s taking your focus away.
But once you understand that you can improve your concentration by ditching the distractions, then it’s time to think about forming the right study habits. . .
4 Study Habits To Help You Learn How To Focus On Homework
1. Have a routine.
Routines help us be productive without exerting too much effort. When having homework to do, a study routine can be the reason we actually sit down, set enough time aside, concentrate, and stay focused until we complete the project.
This process doesn’t need to be complicated: just tell yourself that you will sit at your desk at home once you’re back from school (after a small meal and some rest, of course). Put your phone on silent, make an outline of the work that needs to get done, and simply begin with what’s most important.
2. Create an environment that breeds creativity and productivity.
You need a special place for studying. Don’t think you can just study anywhere, that’s not how our brain works. Lying in bed with your notebook is a distraction, as is being in the living room with your laptop while others are doing their activities.
You need an isolated place when you decide to focus on your homework. Make it feel comfortable, such as adding plants, organizing everything on your desk, decluttering (and keeping it clean), letting more light in, perhaps hang up some motivational posters/daily affirmations, etc.
3. Avoid certain things beforehand.
Wanna know how to focus on homework?
Don’t have a big meal beforehand. Big meals can ruin your focus and make you feel sluggish and lazy. A snack is okay. There are also some foods, though, that are just plain bad for your productivity; you can check them out here.
Avoid doing anything too engaging, as well, as then it can be hard to leave it and find willpower for your studies. Your better study habits are also affected by your self-control. So know when to stop doing something, calm your mind with some deep breathing, stretching, or even taking a walk, and then go do what needs to be done.
4. Organize your study notes.
One of the main reasons students avoid doing homework when the time comes, is that the “big picture” scares them. It seems like a lot to do, and they are overwhelmed on where to start.
So, prioritize. Keep lists and put the most important items on the top. Then work on the items that you should get done first.
Make an outline for everything and break it down into smaller steps. Then, use colors to highlight the essentials. This makes it all look much simpler and you’re more likely to actually get started.
5. Tell others to respect your study time.
People entering the room or calling you when you are trying to study isn’t good for your mind and creative energy. So simply let them know you need some privacy.
Decide on fixed hours for studying and tell them you won’t be available during that time of the day.
6. Try listening to study/focus music.
There are many tracks out there designed to help your mind focus. Whether you use binaural beats or just instrumental music, they can really help to tune your brain into a productive frequency.
This meditation music from OmHarmonics is also great to listen to; it puts your mind in a clear, concise, and ready-to-take-on-the-world mode:
7. Set deadlines.
Even if your teacher has already given you deadlines for each assignment, set new ones yourself at earlier dates. This helps you build discipline, learn how to focus on studying, and prioritize every day.
8. Have “brain breaks” more often.
You might not know this, but frequent breaks actually increase your productivity and focus. By understanding the science of homework, you’ll see that after each study session, the brain needs to be engaged with something different — you need to keep active another part of it, before going back to your studies, so that you can reach top performance.
So there you have it— that’s how to focus on homework when you really aren’t in the mood for it and feel more distracted than ever.
What other suggestions do you have?
And what study habits do you want to build next to improve your concentration?
Share with us in the comment section below!
Education for People Who Refuse to Fit into the Ordinary World
Whether you're a freshman noob, a gray-haired grad student, or even a long-term member of the professional elite, you most likely have trouble focusing on your tasks at times. Modern tech is lovely, but it's also a nonstop parade of distractions that can tear down the resolve of the strongest wills. Here are some tricks to help you overcome electronic distractions as you study or work.
- Wear headphones. This is especially true if you have to work around other people, but even if you're on your own, this helps you focus (as long as you have the right music playing, of course). Not only are people less likely to bug you with trivia, you should find that your sense of space narrows to a small shell around you and keeps your attention focused on whatever is right in front of you. Even white noise can help if music is in itself a distraction for you!
- Turn off anything you don't need. Be ruthless! Unless you have a family member at the hospital or someone who needs a ride from the airport, you can turn off your phone. Same goes for e-mail, instant-messaging apps, Facebook, and anything else that might ping you. Even if you ignore it, the signals are shaking up your attention. If you can turn off your Net connection entirely (for studying or some writing tasks, for example), so much the better.
- Monitor your time-wasters.RescueTime is a great, free service that will keep track of the sites and apps you use over time, then tell you about it in excruciating, possibly embarrassing detail. (Don't worry, your information is all kept strictly confidential.) This can be enlightening, as you might not realize how much or how little time you spent on any given distraction. Some may be harmless!
- Block distracting sites. If you need the Net for research or communication with study buddies, you can still keep yourself from wandering over to Reddit or that one Tumblr with pictures of animals wearing socks. LeechBlock is a Firefox add-on that lets you set up sites to block and times to block them. StayFocusd is a Chrome extension that does much the same thing. You may feel weird spending time setting it up, but you are almost certain to save time in the long run.
- Use multiple machines or desktops. Not all of us can afford multiple computers, but if you have some extra cash, buying an inexpensive computer (maybe running Ubuntu Linux for extra savings) that is dedicated to work can pay off. Load it only with the apps you need to get your work done, then take it somewhere nice and quiet for work. A cheaper, but less effective, trick is to use multiple desktops. Macs have Mission Control built in, and Windows users can use the free Dexpot app to run multiple desktops.
- Use multiple accounts. Another great, cheap trick is to log out of your computer, then log back in as a guest. You won't have nearly as many distracting bells and whistles, and it's so easy that pretty much anyone can do it. Of course, you'll need to keep yourself from just logging back in every few minutes, but inertia is the best friend of willpower.
- Set up a reward system. This is somewhat advanced and requires extra willpower, but is also completely tech-independent. Set up a system that lets you goof off (or plow through e-mail, or tag your music files, or whatever) for 10 minutes following an hour of uninterrupted work. Of course, you may need to vary the times somewhat to suit your needs, but try not to let your work period fall much under a half-hour or so, especially if you're working on a large, complex project. If you try it and still find yourself checking Twitter every few minutes, this one isn't for you, so scroll back up the list until you find something that works.
Some combination of these should help you channel your inner monk and get that big project done on time. Good luck!