We’ve all had it, one of those days where your brain does not want to cooperate with you and the concept of taking on new information seems impossible. You seek for any excuse not to do your work and by the time you know it you have procrastinated the night away. This is not ideal when you have a test coming up, or an assignment due and focus and concentration are vital when it comes studying so we have created some tips that will help you to study effectively.
Identify and eliminate distractions
This is probably the biggest factor into why people get distracted whilst they are studying, as there are a huge range of things that can put you off and make you lose concentration. One of the biggest distracters are the digital ones- mobiles phones, tablets, laptops, all have notifications pop up, apps to go on and people to talk to on them. So you can aim to reply to just the one message but then boom, before you know it half an hour has passed, and then you end up staring at your work aimlessly until you get a reply. This is not good, especially when you are trying to concentrate and be productive, so the best way to eliminate this is separate you and your phone. Put it in a different room and turn it on silent, as then you will be tempted by the sound of a notification and you will not be able to reach for it when you get bored so you can focus all of your attention on your work. For other types of distractions, you should identify what these are and then see how you can work around them or eliminate them all together, for example noise. Some people find that listening to music improves their concentration, for others there might as well be a ringing alarm in their ear. If you prefer to work silently you could try ear plugs. It’s all about identifying how best you study and what works for you, so try different methods and see which works best.
Set realistic targets
This will help to set realistic, achievable goals for yourself, which will be ideal when dealing with a big piece of work as if you set yourself a target, for example to write another 2 paragraphs a day, this will make big pieces of work less daunting and seem more achievable, so set yourself these targets then do more work if you feel like it. This will help to improve motivation as it gives a sense of achievement when you reach your targets. Studies by psychologists Latham and Locke have suggested that setting goals can improve productivity by 11% to 25%.
Take regular breaks
It sounds counter-productive but taking short, regular breaks will help to improve focus, as splitting your study time up will allow your brain time to rest, rather than overloading it with masses of information all in one go. Studies show that the human brain can only concentrate properly for around an hour and a half before we need a 15-minute break.
Get a good night’s sleep
Sleep is vital for our mental and physical development. Our bodies grow the most when we are sleeping and it helps the brain to function properly, so getting a full 8 hours will improve your study time substantially. Because your brain will be able to effectively process information and retain it, meaning you are learning more. Cutting down your use of digital devices before bed will help you to sleep better as your brain will be able to relax. If you struggle to get to sleep you can try reading, dim lighting, making sure your room is cool, or you can try putting some slow, relaxing music on.
All of these will allow you to study more productively, intern leading to better academic achievement for you. This is because you will be more motivated, you are not overloading yourself with information, and your brain will be able to function properly.