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How do you stay on task while working?

What are some tips to avoid procrastinating, losing concentration, and becoming burnt out? #college #graduate-school #high-school-classes

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Daniela’s Answer

Hi Emily,


Here are six tips on studying hard while maintaining your focus.




  • Schedule it.
    Don’t just assume that you’ll study when you have free time. What ends up happening is that often, you won’t end up studying at all because you didn’t leave room specifically for it. Find a time of day that works best for you and stick with it. Chances are, the more you associate this time of day with studying, the more focused you’ll be over time.




  • Get in the zone.
    If listening to music is a must for you, put some headphones in while studying. Others find complete quiet to be more their taste. Some people like to get comfortable in sweatpants, while others may prefer to stay fully dressed in order to stay as awake as possible. Coffee or tea may be a good option for maximum alertness, but go easy on the caffeine to avoid the inevitable crash. By making yourself comfortable and focused, you’re more likely to get into a studying mood. Getting in the zone helps you concentrate and power through long study sessions with ease.




  • Gather your materials.
    Books, notes, laptop, paper, highlighters, pens, snacks—get everything in one place. Make sure you don’t have to get up and gather more things as the study session progresses. That will just disrupt your focus and make getting back in the zone harder once you return. Try to get everything in one place to ensure that there will be a minimum of unnecessary interruptions.




  • Schedule small breaks.
    Even the most studious of us gets tired and achey after a while. All that reading and hunching over a book or computer can be mentally and physically exhausting. Set an alarm or reminder to take small breaks during marathon study sessions. Stand up, stretch, jog in place, get a drink of water. Make sure that the break isn’t too long, though, or else your focus could disappear completely. The goal with these small breaks is to ensure that you don’t burn out and come back to your studying feeling refreshed and ready to continue.




  • Be an active learner.
    Passively learning involves simply taking notes, reading, and not critically evaluating the information presented. Active learning, on the other hand, involves discussion and analysis. The active style of learning can help make sure you understand the material completely, and it also makes the information stick in your brain. Consider studying with others and having a discussion about the material instead of simply sitting at a desk and reading. Varying your study habits like this will also ensure that you’ll study harder and for a longer period of time. Doing one task for too long can cause you to burn out.




  • Find your study spot.
    Libraries and coffee shops are popular study spots, as are bedrooms and study areas in academic buildings. Pick your study spot based on your level of distract-ability. For example, don’t choose to study in a coffee shop if you’re likely to look up every time someone enters the establishment or walks past you. It’s also important to pick somewhere where it is easy to get physically comfortable. If you love the library at your school, but the chairs are uncomfortable, consider studying somewhere else. You don’t want to be distracted by uncomfortable seating, bad lighting, or too-loud noises.




In: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/how-study-hard-without-burning-out.html


Best!

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Nicole’s Answer

Hi Emily A. I see that you posted this question a little while ago so I hope my answer to you (or others who may read this response) is still helpful.

As I read your question, one of your hash tags stood out to me with respect to your question..."college-graduate-school". As language goes, this can be read in a couple of ways :). I read it as go to college...graduate...from school. I mention this because I think one of the best ways to stay on task while in college is to remember why you are going to college to in the first place. To learn yes, to expand your horizons yes AND to graduate. With that laser focus on graduating, it becomes less difficult to stay on task, whether those outside activities are for work, other student campus life activities or even some tasks that you didn't know you needed to take on.

Balancing focus against multiple tasks that require attention is a necessary part of growth. Those who do it well have likely had to do it often and with that practice, it becomes easier to get to that balance.

Hope you find this answer helpful. Best of luck to you!
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Kori’s Answer

Hi Emily! I struggled with time management throughout college and graduate school, and know how tricky burnout can be. Some of my personal ways I avoid burnout and accomplish what I need in a day include:
1. The 2 Minute Rule: If a task takes 2 minutes or less, like emailing your advisor or doing the dishes, then just do it. You'll waste more time procrastinating than if you train yourself to get things done right away.
2. A lot of the time, anxiety and perfectionism can manifest as procrastination, and the best way to beat this is to power through that initial discomfort of starting an assignment. Committing yourself to working on assignments for just 5 minutes (you can set a timer if you would like) can be an effective way to overcome that motivation barrier. Most of the time, I usually end up with enough inertia to fully complete the assignment.
3. Lastly, prioritize self-care. It can be easy to believe that pushing through and working non-stop is the best way to get things done. However, setting aside time for going to the gym, getting fresh air, and getting enough sleep truly does make you work more efficiently and a more balanced individual overall.

Thanks for asking!
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