When you sit down to study, are you the type of person who opens a book, then checks your phone, gets a snack, checks your phone again, talks with a study buddy and then finally starts reading just to repeat the entire process 10 minutes later?
Hitting the books or e-books can be tough, especially when your mind is racing in a dozen different directions. But the more you can concentrate on your work, the more time you’ll have to address all of your other obligations. For busy students, time management is key, and concentration is an integral component.
So, to help you make the most out of your study time, here are six tips to improve concentration:
1. Identify the best environment to help you concentrate
Knowing where you are best able to concentrate is imperative to making the most of your time. If you need to be holed up at a desk in a quiet room, then make sure you have a dedicated study space and let your family or roommates know that you’re not to be disturbed. For others, a coffeehouse might be preferable, but keep in mind that public areas can quickly get crowded and noisy.
2. Minimize distractions
Trying to study with the television and a dozen tabs open on your web browser is going to make it difficult to focus on your studies. Remove distractions, including your phone, from your workspace.
3. Write a to-do list
It’s common to look at everything you need to get done and get overwhelmed. Breaking up your studying into smaller tasks will make easier to manage your time and provide a sense of accomplishment. This process also makes your goals more straightforward, so it’ll be harder to get lost in your workload.
4. Schedule study time
Rather than scramble to meet deadlines, set aside time in your weekly schedule to study. In the long run, you’ll get used to studying at a certain time each day, and avoid the unnecessary stress caused by cramming sessions or all-nighters.
5. Make healthy snack choices
Don’t let food drag you down. Choose snacks that will give you energy rather than ones that will make you lethargic. Again, this is where planning your study time can make a big difference. For example, if you’re going straight to class or the library from work, pack a healthy snack to help you push through rather than rely on the vending machine or fast food.
6. Take breaks
Our brains aren’t meant to study for hours on end without any type of break. Instead, focus on a project for a 30- to 45-minute sprint, then break for a few minutes before moving to the next item on your list.