4 Tips to Improve Focus

Let’s face it: staying focused is not easy. Between texting, social media, Netflix, random Buzzfeed articles, and cat videos on YouTube, it’s really easy to get distracted when it’s time to get down to business. Especially when you aren’t particularly fond of whatever you have to work on, whether it’s an assignment or studying, or even something that’s not school-related. However, learning how to focus is paramount, especially in situations where you have  time-sensitive assignments or goals. If you can’t focus  well enough on certain assignments, you might miss deadlines, which will lead to a variety of problems. So, here are four tips to help you direct and maintain your  focus a bit better!

1. Listen to music.


The main enemy of focus is boredom. If you’re bored with whatever you’re working on, you will probably have a harder time being able to focus on it. However, most assignments aren’t optional. So, why not try listening to some music you really enjoy to make yourself less bored!.! Several studies have argued how beneficial music is to focus. Some might say you can only really study to classical music, but that’s not necessarily true. Listen to whatever music helps you focus the most, whether that’s classical or pop or rap. Not sure what to add to your focus soundtrack? Check out this Her Campus article about The Ultimate Mount Holyoke Playlist for Doing Anything!


2. Eat a snack before you need to focus.


Food is fuel! And if you’re starving before starting a studying session, you won’t be able to pay attention to anything but your grumbling stomach. So, eat something before you plan on studying for a while, even if it’s something light. Blueberries, nuts, and dark chocolate are great, yummy snacks said to help improve focus and concentration! However, don’t let snack time give you an excuse to procrastinate. If you’re focusing more on your snack rather than your assignment, that’ll defeat the whole purpose of it. So, either eat before your designated “focus time” or during one of your scheduled breaks.


3. Take breaks!

It doesn’t matter if you’re already a focus-master, the human attention span is only so long. After a certain point, you just won’t be able to focus anymore. And once you’ve hit that point, the quality of your work or the amount of information you absorb will severely decrease. So, even though it might seem like a good idea to just have one cram session, rethink it! Instead, consider working for 50-90 minutes at a time, and then taking a 10 minute break. Repeat that cycle until all of your work is done. This method of studying is seen as one of the most effective, as the length of the study period is long enough for you to be able to process the information, but not too long that you lose focus. Also, a short break allows you to get a bit of a rest without ruining your flow. Bonus points if you’re able to do some light exercise during your break, even if it’s just doing some stretches or going for a walk.


4. Use focusing apps!

When you’re feeling bored while working on an assignment, you might feel tempted to check social media or watch something on YouTube. While this may be harmless from time to time, sometimes a short social media break can turn into multiple short breaks with little work-time in between. So, even if you might be working on something for a long time, a lot of that time was wasted on social media. Save yourself some time and improve your focus by downloading an app that prevents you from accessing social media, texts, or anything else that might distract you for a certain period of time. I highly recommend the Forest app (iPhone and Android.) With the app, you set a certain time period you want the app to stop you from using your phone. The app then “plants” a tree or shrub, depending on how long you set the time limit. Once the timer is up, your plant will be fully grown! But, if you check your phone before the timer runs out, your cute little tree dies. So, download this app if you want a fun initiative to help yourself focus and prevent you from spending your study time on social media! Or, if you tend to get distracted while on your laptop, Cold Turkey is a desktop app that lets you block certain websites for a set time period. That way, you can block distracting websites until you’re finished with your assignments. Never fall down the Buzzfeed Quiz rabbit hole again!

Hopefully these tips will help you improve your ability to focus. Happy studying, everyone!


Images: (Cover, 1, 2, 3, 4)

If you would like to write for Her Campus Mount Holyoke, or if you have any questions or comments for us, please email [email protected].