Do you ever feel like as soon as you sit down to study your brain decides to run a hefty distraction campaign? Do you struggle to stay focused on your studying for longer than 10-15 minutes? Do you want to discover how to boost your studying focus and concentration?
Finding enough time to study each week can be a problem, especially for non-traditional students who combine their education with working and/or raising a family. Then we have the stress of making the most of the little time we have and studying with focus and concentration. Combine the two and we’ve got ourselves a hearty portion of studying crap pancake.
But fear not, my studying pals. Because I can help you CREATE more time in your week. You see, when you boost your studying focus and concentration, you achieve the same study tasks in a lot less time. That extra time can then be used to work towards higher grades OR to have a cat nap and watch an extra episode of Queer Eye in your dressing gown.
In this blog post I’m going to share with you 7 super simple, super quick things you can do to boost your studying focus and concentration, achieve better results AND get some of your precious time back each week.
But first, sign up to my free resource library where you can download my bloomin’ awesome study session planner AND tons of other printables and worksheets to help you become a happier, more confident and more successful student.
How to boost your studying focus and concentration
1. Understand what you want to achieve, not what you want to do
Most students will decide they want to study in the evening after work, then sit down at their desk and start until they run out of time. Sounds legit, right? The problem is, sitting down to work on your studying removes the intention from the session which makes it A LOT easier for your brain to allow distractions in.
Instead, focus on what you want to achieve with the session, the specific tasks you want to complete. For example, “I’m going to write notes on Chapter 2 and then email my tutor about the feedback for my last essay.”
2. Create a clear space
If your desk is cluttered, your brain probably will be too. So to boost your studying focus and concentration, keep a tidy desk. Now, I’m not a tidy person so my desk (and entire house) often resemble a shiz pit. But...I make sure I never sit down to study at a messy desk.
Take two minutes at the end of every study session to clear your desk ready for the next day. The reason to do this at the end of your study session, rather than the beginning of the next one, is that we don’t want to give our brains a reason to procrastinate and not study - and a messy desk is a pretty big demotivator.
3. Get yourself prepped for success
Don’t sit down to study if you need a wee! That’s just asking for a distraction in 11 minutes when you can’t wait any longer. Make sure you sit down ready to do good work. So go to the bathroom, make sure you’re not too hot or cold, grab a drink and some snacks, and collect the study materials you’ll need for the session.
4. Sit down to study in a distraction-free zone
Studying with the TV doesn’t work. Either you’re watching a show you’re at least mildly interested in, which means your brain will try to multitask and pay attention to the show and your studying. Or, you’ve put it on for background noise which will also distract you - even if you don’t realise.
So move to as quiet a space as possible (I know this isn’t always possible if you’ve got kids in the house when you’re studying). Turn the TV off, turn the radio off, and close down any computer tabs, windows, programmes you don’t specifically need for your study session.
5. Bury your damn phone
Now, I could have lumped this in with the last tip but it deserves its own spotlight. Maybe you’re already in the habit of removing your phone as a distraction. But if you’re not, just doing this alone will seriously boost your studying focus and concentration. Stopping studying ‘just for a second’ to respond to a message, having a quick look at Instagram, or even just seeing notifications flash on your screen will distract you and make all of your study tasks take so much longer.
So do what you need to do to stop it being a problem. Turn off notifications for some apps; turn on do not disturb mode; move it completely out of reach. Future you will thank you!
6. Train yourself out of responding to distractions
It’s true we live in a distracted world but it’s false that there’s nothing we can do about it. It’s easier to give into distractions with our smartphones and smartwatches and smart homes, so we need to train our anti-distraction muscles a little harder.
Here’s a full blog post I’ve written on how to use the Pomodoro technique to boost your studying focus and concentration. But here’s a little rundown. The Pomodoro technique prompts you to study in intervals - the traditional ratio being 25 minutes of studying and then a 5 minute break. For those 25 minutes you make a promise to yourself to only focus on your studying. If you feel yourself getting distracted, if you feel yourself itching to have a look at your phone, you refocus your energy on your studying, knowing you’ll get a break soon.
Over time, this trains your brain not to respond to distractions. Because having distractions isn’t the problem for students. The problem is when we respond to them.
7. Test studying with different music
There are various perspectives and studies around the benefits of studying with music so ultimately it’s about your personal preference. There is evidence to say that music with lyrics is a distraction, and music without lyrics, e.g. instrumental soundtracks, can boost your studying focus and concentration.
So give some non-lyrical music a go. I love listening to movie and videogame soundtracks, as well as nature soundtracks such as storms.
Test these 7 quick strategies in your next study sessions and I guarantee you’ll see a boost to your studying focus and concentration.
And don’t forget to grab your study planner for even more focused and productive study sessions, by signing up to my free resource library.