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Staying Focused: 11 Psychological Tips

Staying focused is something we all struggle with. Students, entrepreneurs, employees, and even professors. Everyone from all walks of life struggle from keeping focus. The obvious answer being distraction is all around us. Technologies and the busy life as we get older. In this article, we, at Psych2Go share some psychological tips and strategies on how you could be more focused.

Hope you enjoy! Feel free to add to this list after you’ve finished reading them.

  1. Plan when you want to do which task, do the most demanding ones when your focus is best

Find out during which hours your focus is best, and plan the most challenging tasks into those hours (if possible). If you find that your focus is at its best an hour or so after dinner, use this knowledge to your advantage when you are filling out your planner.

  1. Train your brain

With all the distractions of modern life, unfocused multitasking has become the norm for our brains. Start training your brain to be focused on one task. Get rid of all distractions (and preferably devices too) when you are working. You could start small, maybe just 10 minutes, and work up to bigger chunks of time.

  1. Let it flow

This depends on what works best for you, but you don’t have to be strict about when you take breaks. If you normally have 10 minute breaks after every 30 minutes or work, but you are focusing very well, or really in the middle of something, you can work for longer. On the other hand, if you’re not focusing as well as usual, take an extra break in between, maybe take a little walk. It’s your time, go with the flow.

Related: 5 psychological writing tips

  1. Sleep well , eat well

studyingsleepy
Would you rather have 30 extra minutes of befuddled and exhausted studying or 15 clear minutes full of concentration? Staying focused is much easier when you’ve had enough sleep.

Enough sleep = productivity.

Furthermore, really make sure you eat well. One of the most essential things of our lives is feeding ourselves, and if we’re hungry focusing is extremely hard.

  1. Make a list

Make it clear to yourself what you want to get done in this session by writing it down. Be specific enough: don’t just write “study chemistry” but also write down which pages, perhaps even the main topics or keywords. This is also a very useful way to divide things into manageable chunks, for example study chemistry page 10-15, page 15-20 and page 20-26, instead of one big chunk from 10-26. Without a ‘guide’ or visual to map out what needs to be done, we tend to forget some of it. Even better, since you don’t have to look up every single detail, you’re also less likely to get distracted. This technique also allows for better planning because it’s easier to judge how long each task will take, and of course, it’s extremely enjoyable to cross things off your list.

  1. Repetition is KEY

You might think it’s cliché, but it’s true – studying a subject for  a couple of 30 minute sessions is more effective than studying for one 3 hour period. It does take more careful distribution of your tasks, but the increased productivity and focus is definitely worth it in the end.

  1. Clear up

If you’re ready for a new task, clear away the things from the previous one. It’s very easy to catch sight of something you left behind and be distracted from the real task as a result of it. If you remember something about the last task you still have to do, write it down and deal with it later. Don’t let tiny things take over your precious study time.

  1. Pay attention to your habits

studyingfuckit

What is the distraction trap you keep falling into? Is it your phone? Your laptop? The fridge? That little box of knick-knacks next to your desk? Try to find out when or by what you are most easily distracted, and deal with the problem at the source.

  1. 3…2…1…time’s up!

studyingspeedy

You don’t always have to work until something is finished. Especially with tedious tasks having a set stop time can work really well, because ‘I can stop and have a tea/coffee in 15 minutes’ is much more motivating than ‘I still have to answer 23 emails and who knows when I can finally have tea/coffee’.

  1. Relaxation space =/= working space

Try not to work in the same place you often relax. Having a designated space for working will help you stay focused because your brain will ‘recognise’ being there as a sign to start focusing. So, however comfortable it may be, do not study in bed. It will not only make it harder to focus, but it will also make it harder to sleep when you are actually going to bed.

  1. When you’re done, you’re done

Try to end a study/working session with something you enjoy. A lot of students will study until late in the evening and then go straight to bed. However, it’s better to do something enjoyable first, so your brain gets a chance to cool down after that mental workout.
studyingyay

Lastly, there is a quote that I really fancy coming across lately:

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Edited By: Lizzie Watson

Hope you guys enjoy! Feel free to add your tips! And if you are still unfocused, head over our Youtube Channel and distract yourself away with educational stuff.

http://youtube.com/psych2go

One Comment

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  1. Interesting facts! I’m currently studying for my GRE’s and will definitely utilize these tasks. I often take study breaks using the Pomodoro technique but never reward myself afterwards…I definitely will now!

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Written by Kayleigh H

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Community Management Assistant & Content Creator - passionate about learning, writing and doing creative things. Would you like an article on a certain topic? Leave a comment under one of my articles or contact me via my profile and I will get back to you!

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Staying Focused: 11 Psychological Tips