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Staying focused on class this fall

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Commitment – make a commitment to yourself. Write down a goal of try to stay focused for more than you usually would in one period. By externalizing your aim or goal, you’ll be more likely to have an urge to complete it. If you manage to complete your goal, reward yourself! If you fail, don’t feel bad about it, evaluate your mistakes and try harder next time. kepp your seft-motivated, always remember that there is a next time. 

Unless you really need to avoid your laptop – I think everyone is tempted to go on random web pages, do random tasks, just generally zone out if their laptop is in front of them. I was a student once and I still am and I am no different. Unless you need it for research purposes, it might be worth trying writing your notes. If you do need a laptop, ensure its for study purposes only. 

Avoid your phone whilst studying – just like a laptop, a phone is way too tempting to look at. Put it in your bag so you can’t just pick it up whenever you’re bored. ensure it’s on a silent mode and you can only access it in case of an emergency. This way, you won’t drift away from your books.

Always sit closer to the front – If in class, make a habit of trying to sit near the professor, especially in those technical classes which require extra effort. it might just force you to pay a little closer attention if the teacher is close by.

Be strategic with your seating – if you get distracted by your friends, maybe move away. It can be a little awkward but if you tell them nicely “I’m just going to sit here because I’m constantly talking to you and I don’t understand this!” then hopefully they’ll understand. 

Always be prepared beforehand – try to get ahead of the class by checking out any materials that will be coming up. Perhaps read the textbook, scroll through any powerpoints, check out the worksheets. If you’ve got an understanding, it might be more interesting to you and therefore you become more engaged. This can also mean you end up only taking the most relevant notes!

Always be active – write down any questions you might have or answers to rhetorical questions your teachers mentions. If you’re confident enough to answer or ask questions, go ahead! It works wonders.

Record and review the class – this could be useful for times when you’ve zoned out completely and lost whatever the teacher is talking about it. If you’ve got a copy, you can review it later. Microsoft OneNote has a great recording feature.

Have a brain dump sticky note/page/laptop note – if you’re getting distracted by your thoughts/to-dos, write them down. That way they’re out of your brain and on a piece of paper for future reference. You won’t have that “I need to remember this” feeling since you’ll have externalized what you’ve got to do in the future.

Have a procrastination sticky note/page/laptop note – a similar concept to the above but instead, write down everything that distracts you. (e.g. your friend, a Facebook notification, the window.) You’ll be able to review it after and work to remove them and then get your mind back to focusing.

Avoid multitasking – yes it is so tempting but it’s going to ruin your ability to focus on the actual class. By multitasking, you’re making your brain load and reload contexts over and over. Diverting your attention over and over is just going to tire out your brain and therefore, equal a loss of focus.


Are you working? You can learn more about balancing study and work from this amazing article.

Balancing study and work

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Linda Barbara

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You can email me of any topics you'd like me to write about and I will be done in a weeks time.

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