If you’ve ever stopped in the middle of a pointless Facebook session that you’d come online to do research for your paper and just wasted the last 45 minutes doing nothing productive? In today’s fast paced world, it’s hard to stay focused on the task at hand, especially if you’re an online college student. Here are six tips on how to stay focused on the task at hand.
Block distracting sites. If Facebook or Tumblr is your Achille’s heel, you don’t have to disconnect your internet in order to get focused. Internet browsers like Chrome and Firefox have customization apps that allow you to block certain internets during a set period of time so you can focus. Check out Chrome’s extension StayFocusd and Firefox’s app LeechBlock.
Take frequent breaks. By giving yourself regular breaks to stretch, grab a snack, surf the web, or gab with a friend, you’ll be less likely to get distracted. Using the Pomodoro Method, set a timer for 25 minutes and focus on your task. When the bell rings, take a five minute break to do whatever you want, and then get back to work. This will help your mental capacity to stay fresh and focused.
Turn off your cell phone. Even if your phone’s on vibrate, chances are you’ll stop what you’re doing to check that incoming text. Put your phone on silent or turn it off so you won’t be tempted to see how many calls and texts you missed during your study session.
Find a quiet place to study. Instead of studying with friends, why not change things up and hit the library instead? That way you won’t be tempted to take a phone call, chat with a friend, or grab a snack.
Don’t relying on stimulants. While caffeine and energy drinks may give you the juice you need to get through a long study session, they won’t help your sleep schedule and you may have to start taking sleeping medication to compensate. Stimulants have also been connected to memory loss — something that no college student can afford!
Reward yourself. If you have a big paper to get written, establish some sort of reward for when you finally do it. That might be going out to see a movie with friends, going out for your favorite dessert (key lime pie, anybody?), or buying a new book that’s not a textbook. It may be just what you need to stay on task.
Get a tutor. If you’ve tried everything and you’re still struggling to stay focused, working with a tutor may help to improve your concentration and study habits. An academic advisor at your college may be another excellent resource.
What’s your best tip for staying focused while you’re studying?