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Reasons You Can’t Focus and How to Fix Them

You might not realize it, but even the most studious people have trouble focusing sometimes. It’s easy to make notecards, but when it comes down to actually studying, it’s like your brain has forgotten everything you’ve learned all semester. Here are some reasons you can’t focus, and suggestions on how to conquer them!

Brain overload.

Whether you’re an over-achiever with a 4.0 GPA or one of the “just scrape by” types, you have likely experienced this college phenomenon. Remembering homework assignments, due dates, social activities, work schedules and an array of miscellaneous commitments is a lot for any brain to process (unless you are a computer which, unfortunately, most of us are not).

And to make matters worse, the stress that comes from attempting to remember all of those undertakings seems to culminate at the exact moment you are studying for that really important exam. At this point in time, most of us (including yours truly) would break down in a crying, junk food-cramming, Netflix-binging frenzy.

Not to fear, collegiettes! We’ve all been there! However, there is a much more productive way to handle this de-focuser – write everything down. Due dates? Log it in your planner, calendar, phone, or wherever else you will see it. Work schedule? Write it out and tape it to your wall. Boy problems? Make a journal/diary entry (cheesy, but who cares?).

Your brain works overtime trying to process everything you put into it. By writing things down you allow your brain to sort through and process everything you’ve been thinking. This makes room for your brain to store all those notes you’ve been studying.

You don’t like your major.

Everyone has heard of a mid-life crisis, but what you don’t often hear about is the mid-college crisis. WARNING: This section may contain spoilers for freshmen and sophomores!

At some point in your college career, probably between your second and third year, you will likely have some doubts about your major. “But it’s not my dream” or “I don’t want to get stuck working a desk job” are two of the more common objections you’ll hear. This can cause some serious lack of motivation in even the best students. Who wants to study for an exam in a class or major that they don’t even like? No one, that’s who.

You may have some (very warranted) qualms with your major, but unfortunately we can’t all drop out and become the next Steve Jobs. If you’re a freshman or sophomore you still have some wiggle room with deciding your major, but juniors and seniors (as long as you aren’t completely miserable), you just need to hunker down and stick with it.

Majoring in something with a good job market is important! Your job is what will fund all of your crazy hobbies like sky diving or underwater basket weaving. And remember “work to live, don’t live to work.” –Neil Gallagher

You have a social life.

We all love our friends. They bring us food, drive us to class, let us wear their really cute clothes – what’s more to love? That makes postponing a hang-out sesh with your girls that much harder. But unfortunately, sometimes it is a necessary evil. Things as simple as grabbing a quick bite to eat or watching “just one” Vine can result in hours that should have been spent on homework wasted.

Now I’m not saying you should become a hermit or anything, but you also shouldn’t be hitting the bars the night before a really important homework assignment is due. Because let’s be real, you probably aren’t actually going to get up at 8 a.m. to work on it. Priorities, collegiettes, that’s all I’m sayin’!

Technology takeover.

Let’s face it, computers are taking over the world. Do your part, and cut down on technology use in your everyday life! Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Netflix- all of these things steal away your time before you realize it. Seriously, how many times have you said “Oh, I’ll just hop on Instagram really quick” and then ended up scrolling for hours on end? As much as we hate to admit it, technology is really addicting. Lying around binge-watching Friends every night is just as bad for your grades as partying all the time.

The constant stimulation of your computer and phone is a huge time waster. Not only are you losing time actually on your device, but also after you put it down. If you try to study right after scrolling through Facebook for an hour, you’re going to have a hard time focusing because your brain just can’t stop thinking of every photo and status update you just saw. The New York Times states that “the risk [of technology] is that developing brains can become more easily habituated than adult brains to constantly switching tasks — and less able to sustain attention.”

If you’re finding it difficult to cut back on your technology use, then at least give your brain some time to recoup after your latest Netflix binge. Go for a run, do some yoga, paint a picture, or do anything that you find relaxing in order to clear your head. As stated above, your brain needs time to process things before you cram more info into it!

P.S. There is an app in Google Chrome that will temporarily block specified websites, so that you can concentrate on other things!  https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/block-site/eiimnmioipafcokbfikbljfdeojpcgbh?hl=en

 

Clare is a junior international business major at App State. She loves to travel, learn new languages, and try pretty much anything. When she isn't running around campus in a coffee/procrastination induced panic, Clare can be found bumming around with her roomies. 
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