tudying is tough. Whether you’re a veteran student getting a Ph.D. or someone starting high school, figuring out how to stay focused while studying is a challenge that we all face. Whether your biggest challenge is social media, procrastination, time management, or a combination of all three, we’ve got a variety of tools and techniques that can help minimize the stress of studying and keep you focused on what matters.
And if you’re like most of us – this school year is presenting challenges we’ve never faced before. Learning remotely and losing the motivation and pressure that comes with in-person learning and contact has left many of us fighting off the internet like never before. So let’s dig in!
How to stay focused while studying, a guide:
1. Find a suitable environment.
Location, location, location. Finding where you work best is an essential part of any successful studying session. For some, the quiet of a library is essential, but for others, the light bustle of a coffee shop can be just the right amount of background noise to stay focused. But whatever your background noise preference, it’s important that your study spot has a few things –
- Flat, clear, surface with enough space to comfortably hold all your materials and laptop
- Outlets – if you need your computer to study, ensuring you have a close power supply can prevent the need to get up and break your flow
- Comfortable seating (or standing place) – When selecting a place to work, it’s important to try and pick a place that has the necessary furniture to promote good posture for prolonged, sustainable studying. Whether you use a comfortable desk chair with back support, an exercise ball, or standing desk, sitting upright has been shown to increase energy levels and confidence, as well as enhance overall mood. In addition, sitting in a slouched position can make your brain more predisposed to feelings of hopelessness.
- Need some help making sure you have the right set-up? Check out Yale’s recommendations for creating an ergonomic workstation.
- Environments for remote learning and work:
- No access to coffee shops and libraries? Find a space at home that you can make your own office. Clear away clutter and make sure all your most-used tools are organized and within reach.
- Noisy roommates or neighborhood construction distracting you? Try listening to music with headphones – noise-cancelling work really well if they are available to you. Or keep reading to learn more about how a tool called Krisp might help.
- Is it too quiet at home? Miss the hustle and bustle of coffee shops? Freedom now offers coffee shop sounds from cities around the globe. We’ve also recently added a few office and nature soundscapes to help keep you in the zone.
2. Create a study ritual.
When it comes to staying focused while studying, it’s important to create a routine to help you find your flow and focus. A good place to start is having a pre-study ritual that involves things like clearing your desk, closing your door, grabbing all the materials you’ll need, putting on some headphones, and creating a to-do list. Taking five minutes to set up your workspace will not only physically prepare you to study, but also help train your brain to transition into a state of focus more effortlessly. With the space around you clear of distractions, your mind is free to focus on what is most important. Need some help structuring your ritual or routine? Check out how a morning routine checklist might help.
Is your work-from-home routine becoming a drag? Try switching it up. Start your mornings with a walk or just going outside for some fresh air and a glass of water – anything to help get your blood pumping and to let out any restless energy. Make your mornings or study sessions more enjoyable by adding activities you enjoy – journaling, dancing, lighting a candle, stretching, listening to a podcast. Regardless of the activity the key is to do it every time you need to study so your brain can more easily transition into focus mode.