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Tips on staying focused in School


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Gary’s Answer

I had a difficult time staying focused until I heard of the Pomodoro Technique which breaks your day down into chunks of time and uses a timer to keep you on task. If you are looking at an essay that is going to take 4 hours to write, it is difficult to a) find a chunk of time that big and b) stay focused for that long. Using the Pomodoro Technique, you maybe break it down into 8 thirty minute blocks of time. Maybe that would be 30 minutes before school Monday-Thursday and 30 minutes Tue, Wed, Thurs, and Sunday night. You would be prepared at the start of the period. You then set a timer and you work without interruption until the timer goes off. No looking at your phone, no text messages, no Facebook for thirty minutes. When the time goes off, you put the project away until the next scheduled time.

 

What I often find is that after 30 minutes, I am still ready to keep working on that. So, I will set a timer for 5 minutes, look at my phone, check emails, take a quick walk. After the 5-minute break, I will then set a timer a continue.

Gary recommends the following next steps:

Take a look at the website https://francescocirillo.com/pages/pomodoro-technique to see if it makes sense for you
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If you think it has merit, try it for a week and see.
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Gloria’s Answer

Hi JaMorris,

Staying focused can be challenging any time, but especially during the long hours of school. There are a couple of things that are within your control when you think about focus. Some of it is just general good health, like eating well and getting enough sleep at night. Eating a lot of sugar has a price as you will eventually crash and feel very tired. If you can control some of your schedule, make sure that you take your hardest classes when feel the most focused. For me. I like to have my hardest meetings or tasks of the day before 1pm my local time. After 1pm, I just can't focus as well. You can't always control your schedule, but try to influence it whenever possible.

It is important to know that you cannot focus 100% of the time. You need to figure out what works for you and schedule around it. Also make sure to take breaks. And that means a real break. Avoid going from studying to social media. That's just more reading. Go get some exercise or have an in-person conversation with someone about something funny or happy. Or dance to some music.

Good luck with finding out when and how you can be focused. It is a lifelong struggle, so learning what works for you early will benefit you for a long time.
Gloria

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Howard’s Answer

I have a different take on helping you stay focused in school. While there are many techniques that you can apply to study habits and preparing for tests, I am going to suggest more of a social skill that I believe will help you stay focused.. If you have not already, find several student who are in the same course of study that you are... Form at least a congenial working relationship/friendship . Try to facilitate a time where you all get together, talk on the phone, or even go out to dinner.

I think this will help build a sense of camaraderie amongst all you. You will be there to offer support and encouragement to each other.. It is nice to have people around to study with on occasion, vent and talk about challenges of college life.

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Janet’s Answer

Keep your goals always in mind. Study can be hard and lonely. If you are struggling with a class, see the professor or teaching assistant...that is why they have office hours. Many colleges also have student support centers and counseling services that are free. Take advantage of these to see if these services can help. College often exposes students to people and experiences that students have been exposed to before. These new kinds of people and experiences can be exciting and/or upsetting. Share your thoughts and feelings with trusted friends or professionals.

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Sam’s Answer

Leave your phone in another room. Even if you are working and your phone is on the other side of the room, the presence of it is very appealing and its too easy to get distracted. I also like working with friends - with COVID, if my friends and I can't meet up we will set up a video call and just silently work. It helps keep me on track.

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Yasemin’s Answer

Hi JaMorris! Great question! So there are different ways to stay focused in school; I would recommend to take breaks between studying. This is an important method because after a while of studying our attention can be lost and taking study breaks for 10 minutes after 45 minutes of studying can allow us to re-focus our attention. Another method is to study and complete assignments by spacing them out; if you let your assignments build up it will be too much to handle and most likely not be able to be completed. So keep a planner nearby and write down what is due and what exams you have coming up then space them out and complete them in small bits. Also keeping a planner will help you stay focused as well because you can write down important information and stay organized! Last, in my college classes sometimes the work would be difficult and a great way to keep up would be with my friends, we would form a study group and help each other stay on track. Having a good group of friends to study together allows you to stay focused and enjoy the class as well!

Best of luck!

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