This is an excellent question, and I'm sure everyone has different methods of concentrating, however it's important to figure out what works for you. For me, I like to keep it simple:
- Organization is key. Before going to bed at night, I make sure that my next day is scheduled out.
- Make a to-do list every day, and try to tackle the most difficult things first.
- Eliminate distractions and time wasters. I like to disable push notifications on my phone, so I'm not tempted to take frequent breaks to check text messages, emails, social media while I'm working.
- Regenerate and keep up your energy. For every 1 hour that I work, I like to give myself a 5 minute break to stretch, walk around, get some water or food, or socialize with peers. This keeps my mood positive and helps me not to get overwhelmed.
- Constantly remind yourself of your ultimate goals. I keep them written on a post it on my computer. If I ever start to get frustrated, it helps to remind myself what I'm working so hard for. Keeping your long term goals in mine while accomplishing day to day tasks can help you stay motivated.
- Exercise/meditation. Moderate and regular physical exercise before taking a test can increase your attention span, discipline, and memory retention. It also will help to boost your overall mood and mindfulness.
I can get distracted very easily as well. I recently heard a great tip from our CEO, focus on your breathing. If you can focus on taking clear, deep breaths it's easy to regain focus! I'd also suggest finding the environment you work best in, some work well with background noise and some need to be alone to get their best work done. Everyone learns and studies differently, if you can find what works best for you then I would pay close attention to that to set yourself up for success!
Hello Mark: Here are some things I do to help me focus and not get distracted, especially while at work.
1) Do not respond to every email I receive. I have a filter/condition set to color code important and urgent messages
2) Do not answer every instant message immediately (ie, internal program at my company). This could become a big time waster and you could fall into a long chat with colleagues
2 a) Set my instant messenger to "silent mode". This will show as offline but, colleagues could still send messages
3) Turn the ringer off on cell phone. Better yet, let messages go to voicemail and answer the calls when you have free time
4) Keep your workspace organized. This will reduce clutter and help minimize shuffling paper around on your desk
5) Let visitors know that I have a deadline to complete a task
Hope this helps. . .
Good Luck to You!
Mark, that's a great question that I think almost everyone deals with. Here are a few things I do:
- Make sure I have time set aside for focused work and don't have to be somewhere
- Make sure anyone else in the house knows I need focus time
- Find a quiet place that is away from distraction - and usually the same place
- Leave my phone in the other room (this is most important. If you need your phone for the work, put it in airplane mode)
- Put on headphones with some music that isn't distracting
Wendy recommends the following next steps: