Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Concentration and Staying on Track

Hello guys,

I'm sorry I have been MIA for a couple weeks. I have been sick but I will not get into detail about it..let's just say it was horrible and I'm glad I'm better and all ready to finish up this semester. However, I do hope your reading week went better and more productive than mine!

It has been a week back in school and I'm assuming everyone has been very busy with midterms, assignments and presentations. As a student, I noticed one of the difficult problems students have in university is staying on track. Concentrating on a task can be difficult, especially for students and a lot of distractions.
I know most of you want to do the work but feel like you're not as efficient as you hoped to be. Don't sweat it..most adults can concentrate on a task for a period of 35 to 45 minutes.

Finding that mojo to study for the first time can be quite challenging. However, here are some guidelines into helping you get rid or at least minimize those internal distractions.

Find your spot. Staying one place to study for your whole university career can, honestly, be quite dull. Yes, you want to keep exploring to make things more interesting but make sure you have that one spot when you do some "serious" studying. Personally, I go to one of the "Ultra Quiet Study Rooms" in the library when I need to get a lot of things done in one day. Then, if I need to be studying with a friend or two I go to one of the study carousels around school or book one of the study rooms in the library. So, if you haven't found it yet, I encourage you to find that perfect spot to match the type of studying you will be doing.

Smart phones put away. This is the first thing I do before I do my schoolwork.. and trust me it makes a BIG difference. With the exception of waiting for an important call or email, constantly checking your phone can be very distracting and without noticing it, you have already spent 30 minutes just fiddling with your phone. So try turning it off or at least putting it away before studying.

Break! I always have this on my posts but trust me this also makes a BIG difference. I tested this myself. I tried reading for one hour straight, without any breaks then compared it with reading for 45 minutes then I had 5-10minute break before going back to studying again. For the latter one, I noticed that I accomplished more because I was not trying to cram all information at the time I was studying. I was even more concentrated after the mini-break I took.

Music. Some people find they concentrate more with music in the background or music through headphones. I suggest choose the appropriate time to listen to music because generally music (especially with lyrics) can be an audial distraction. However, if you need to write a paper or answer questions for assignments, music can lessen your anxiety and help you finish that schoolwork. I listen  to songza when I have a critical paper to write but when I have to read a book chapter or a journal article, I need silence or even use earplugs sometimes.

Talk. Telling yourself you have to finish can definitely help. When you feel yourself daydreaming or dozing off, talk to yourself and direct your attention back to your schoolwork. This can also help lessen your anxiety when you have a ton of stuff to do. Tell yourself you have a lot of stuff to do but you have to finish this chapter, for example. Together with your to-do list, this can help you manage your anxiety from a lot of schoolwork and help you concentrate more.

It will be difficult at first but once you have that flow/mojo.. you'll be as efficient as you hoped to be and you'll be acing those midterms and assignments in no time!

Till next time,

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