Do you ever feel overwhelmed after the school day is over and can’t find a way to shut off your brain? Focussing on homework might be last thing you want to do at that point. How can you overcome the resistance and get it done either way?
It seems like there’s always work to be done for your studies. Also at times when you can’t seem to concentrate.
So how do we get our minds to understand how to focus on homework? Especially when it’s is the last thing we feel like doing. Yet, we know that if we leave it for tomorrow, it will pile up and create even more pressure…
The right study habits and concentration techniques will most definitely help you out — and that’s exactly what we are going to explore in this article.
How To Focus On Studying In A World Of Distractions
We live in the era of distraction.
Countless factors are constantly fighting for our attention: social media, other people, things we could potentially be doing at any moment, our doubts, our overthinking, our anxious thoughts and expectations, the temptations around us (such as buying something shiny or eating junk food)… And all of this makes us feel as though we lose control over our mind.
If you’re wondering how to focus on homework and get better grades, then focus is something you need to get back at all cost.
Every student needs this skill.
We will discuss specific study habits later in this article, but first you need to understand how to focus on studying. For that, here are the two key principles that will make you (more) successful in your studies:
1. Identify The Distractions In Your Surroundings
What are the things in your daily life (and in your head, for that matter) that take your mind away from your studies (or any other task in front of you)?
Clearly identifying these helps you understand both the problem and what causes it. Understanding these leads us to finding the right solution to overcoming them.
While many of these types of distractions were mentioned earlier, digital distractions are one of the worst kind— and according to studies, their effect is on the rise in the classroom. If you’re looking to gain more concentration and thus, form better study habits, question your online behavior first and foremost.
2. Limit The Use Of Technology To Find Focus
What’s the role of social media in your daily life? Have you ever sat down to calculate not just how much time you spend on social media daily, but also how horribly it distracts you from doing the things you should be doing? When you are wondering how to focus on homework long after you’ve put your phone away, you’re still thinking about the last posts you saw on Facebook. The sound of new notifications might cause anxiety, or your own eagerness to see the reactions to a comment you left might distract you.
And then comes the information overload, the fear of missing out, and the all-too-common signs of addictive behavior. Technology is affecting your mind more than ever, and it’s taking your focus away.
But once you understand that you can improve your concentration by ditching the distractions, then it’s time to think about forming the right study habits. . .
4 Study Habits To Help You Learn How To Focus On Homework
1. Have a routine.
Routines help us be productive without exerting too much effort. When having homework to do, a study routine can be the reason we actually sit down, set enough time aside, concentrate, and stay focused until we complete the project.
This process doesn’t need to be complicated: just tell yourself that you will sit at your desk at home once you’re back from school (after a small meal and some rest, of course). Put your phone on silent, make an outline of the work that needs to get done, and simply begin with what’s most important.
2. Create an environment that breeds creativity and productivity.
You need a special place for studying. Don’t think you can just study anywhere, that’s not how our brain works. Lying in bed with your notebook is a distraction, as is being in the living room with your laptop while others are doing their activities.
You need an isolated place when you decide to focus on your homework. Make it feel comfortable, such as adding plants, organizing everything on your desk, decluttering (and keeping it clean), letting more light in, perhaps hang up some motivational posters/daily affirmations, etc.
3. Avoid certain things beforehand.
Wanna know how to focus on homework?
Don’t have a big meal beforehand. Big meals can ruin your focus and make you feel sluggish and lazy. A snack is okay. There are also some foods, though, that are just plain bad for your productivity; you can check them out here.
Avoid doing anything too engaging, as well, as then it can be hard to leave it and find willpower for your studies. Your better study habits are also affected by your self-control. So know when to stop doing something, calm your mind with some deep breathing, stretching, or even taking a walk, and then go do what needs to be done.
4. Organize your study notes.
One of the main reasons students avoid doing homework when the time comes, is that the “big picture” scares them. It seems like a lot to do, and they are overwhelmed on where to start.
So, prioritize. Keep lists and put the most important items on the top. Then work on the items that you should get done first.
Make an outline for everything and break it down into smaller steps. Then, use colors to highlight the essentials. This makes it all look much simpler and you’re more likely to actually get started.
5. Tell others to respect your study time.
People entering the room or calling you when you are trying to study isn’t good for your mind and creative energy. So simply let them know you need some privacy.
Decide on fixed hours for studying and tell them you won’t be available during that time of the day.
6. Try listening to study/focus music.
There are many tracks out there designed to help your mind focus. Whether you use binaural beats or just instrumental music, they can really help to tune your brain into a productive frequency.
This meditation music from OmHarmonics is also great to listen to; it puts your mind in a clear, concise, and ready-to-take-on-the-world mode:
7. Set deadlines.
Even if your teacher has already given you deadlines for each assignment, set new ones yourself at earlier dates. This helps you build discipline, learn how to focus on studying, and prioritize every day.
8. Have “brain breaks” more often.
You might not know this, but frequent breaks actually increase your productivity and focus. By understanding the science of homework, you’ll see that after each study session, the brain needs to be engaged with something different — you need to keep active another part of it, before going back to your studies, so that you can reach top performance.
So there you have it— that’s how to focus on homework when you really aren’t in the mood for it and feel more distracted than ever.
What other suggestions do you have?
And what study habits do you want to build next to improve your concentration?
Share with us in the comment section below!
Education for People Who Refuse to Fit into the Ordinary World
You’ve started in a new program and adjusted your life to fit around your classes. Congratulations! This is the first step toward pursuing a new career or advancing your current one.
Many students agree that enrolling in college is a smart investment in the future, but protecting that investment once classes begin is just as important. It’s easy to fall behind when starting a program in the midst of your already busy life can cause students If you’re started to feel overwhelmed, you’re not alone!
We connected with Rasmussen College students who have been in your shoes to collect their best study environment tips. Different tactics work for different people, so take a look at their advice and determine which tips you can incorporate into your study routine.
12 study environment tips from students who’ve been there
1. Diminish the distractions
Any environment can be destructive with too many interruptions. Some students find their living spaces too distracting—they sit down to do work, but a pile of dirty dishes causes them to lose focus. Some students find background music soothing and others can’t concentrate with it playing.
The key is that everyone has different preferences. Identifying your distractors and minimizing them will help you focus on your work. Practice with background sounds and locations until you find the golden combination.
2. Campus library, public library … any library
It seems so obvious but many people forget about these silent sanctuaries. Libraries are meant to be quiet. These places of muted noise and minimal distractions have been helping students cram for centuries. Bring your headphones if prefer adding some soft sounds, or just revel in the peaceful, page-turning sound of other students hard at work.
3. Kick it in a coffee shop
A majority of coffee shops these days offer WiFi to customers. While this may not be a feasible option for students balancing work and family, those who can hack it love it! Find a caffeinated cafe near you – or even one on your way to and from school – and set aside some time to sit in public anonymity while sipping your beverage of choice. Keep some headphones on hand in case of loud, disruptive conversations.
4. Lock yourself in your bedroom
Those who don’t have the luxury of getting out to a coffee shop probably have children at home. This alternative is particularly preferred by that group. In a busy, chaotic home, closing the bedroom door might be your only source of peace and quiet.
Graphic design student Shannon Treasure waits until her kids are asleep and retreats to her bedroom to get schoolwork done. The undeniable convenience of studying in your own bedroom can be a great way to ensure you make time for school.
5. Take advantage of downtime at work
Law enforcement student Jose Cisneros recommends capitalizing on downtime at work to study or do homework. With four children at home, he takes advantage of any free time he can. Whether it’s during your lunch break or an extra chunk of time on a slow day, many busy students make their time on the clock twice as profitable by squeezing in some schoolwork.
6. When there is time, make space
Students with kids sound off of this one, there’s no such thing as a study-space—it’s all they can do to find study time. When the kids fall asleep, during nap-time or in those rare intervals of peaceful play, these students strike and hit the books. If that means opening your biology textbook on the bathroom floor during bath time, so be it!
7. Go unplugged
HIT student Bethany Hager does her schoolwork in her living room, making a point to turn off all electronics. This uninterrupted time allows her to get her work done faster and more efficiently, leaving more time for fun after she’s done. Turn off the TV, log off of your Facebook and put your cell phone in the other room – it’s time to focus!
8. Make your homework portable
Having the convenience to easily transport your schoolwork can work wonders! Think of all of the random moments in a day that could be utilized for study time. Students recommend finding eBook versions of textbooks to load onto one device. You can read a few extra paragraphs in the waiting room at the doctor’s office or while waiting in the car for your kids to get done with soccer practice.
9. Make your own office
A home office of any shape adds structure and convenience to life in school. Medical billing and coding student Elisabeth Wennblom recommends setting up a cubicle in your home like she did for herself and her husband. Setting aside a designated space just for schoolwork can help you separate work and play. This designated space also offers a subtle cue to others that you are in “work mode” and shouldn’t be disturbed.
10. Set a schedule & stick to it
In these busy times it can be hard to set aside enough time to eat dinner, let alone an extra hour of studying. But many students find that reserving a particular part of the week for homework alone helps them keep sane and on top of their grades. Identify a time or day to designate to schoolwork—put it on your calendar and don’t schedule over it!
11. Make sure there’s gas in the tank
Most college students will find themselves pulling an occasional all-nighter before an important exam, but don’t make it a habit. As a rule of thumb, what is good for your health is typically also good for your mind. Optimal study conditions mean good rest and nourishment. Stay hydrated, have some protein-rich snack on hand, maybe a touch of caffeine and treat your homework like a workout.
12. Find your prime time
Plan a time to study when you know you’ll feel energized and on top of your game. Some students prefer the morning—before a day of class and work has exhausted them. Others feel their best mental energy in the evening—after the day’s responsibilities are done. There are certain hours in the day when you will be able to write a paper or memorize a chart more effectively than others. Capitalize on those hours and turn yourself into an efficient homework machine.
Find what works best for YOU
These study environment tips should give you some actionable ideas to creating the perfect plan for you. Your ideal setting is likely different than the students above, but sharing insight with peers can help spur on great ideas.
Do you know a student who could benefit from these tips? Share this article with him or her and share your best study environment tips in the comments below!
A special thanks to our student contributors:
- Nichole Bulley, Health Information Technician associate
- Shannon Treasure, Graphic Design associate
- Samantha King, Medical Assisting diploma
- Charlene Vargas, Medical Administration associate
- Bethany Hager, Health Information Technician associate
- Stephanie Slade, Health Information Technician associate
- Elisabeth Wennblom, Medical Billing and Coding diploma
- Mandi Siwek, Paralegal associate
- Zoua Vang, Healthcare Management bachelors
- Jose Cisneros, Law Enforcement associate
- Jenna Childs, Medical Administration associate
- Stephanie Slade, Health Information Technician associate