Best of luck!
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:
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.
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.