Tips for Staying Focused Until the Summer

It appears that spring has finally sprung in the Bend, and I couldn’t be more excited. The tulips are finally growing and everyone seems to have moved their studying operations outside. I’ve seen at least two double-decker hammocking setups in the last twenty-four hours. The transition from the two jackets I had to wear last week to the glorious tank top permitting weather is making it feel more like we skipped spring altogether and went straight into summer. The only downside of this is that it is absolutely wreaking havoc on my focus. My summer plans have been coming together over the last few weeks, and now that the weather has fallen into place, I’m ready to skip straight to it. Obviously, that’s impossible, so I need to get a grip on my daydreaming so that I can actually pass my finals. Here are a few strategies I’ve been using to keep my head in the game:


Organize your schedule.

I always find it helpful to know exactly what I have going on as I near the end of a semester. I like to sit down with my schedule and carefully plan out when I’m going to get things done. This helps me prioritize and manage my time. It also helps me recognize that while I’m really not feeling all the work I have to do, there is an end in sight. This helps me gather the last of my motivation and focus and push through to finals.


Tackle tasks and studying in 25-minute chunks.

When you can’t get motivated to start something, it helps a lot when there’s an end in sight. Set a timer for 25 minutes and aim to make that time as productive as possible. Put your phone away and focus totally on what you’re working on. At the end of 25 minutes, take a five-minute break. You can get up and stretch, refill your water bottle, or spend five minutes on Instagram. Afterward, spend another 25 minutes working. Continue this cycle and you’ll probably find yourself taking less frequent breaks and getting more done. I’ve found that the more I do this, the easier it is for me to keep working beyond my allotted 25 minutes. It’s a huge productivity booster.


Schedule fun things.

It’s the busiest time of the school year and between deadlines, the last round of midterms, Easter break, preparing for finals, and trying to actually sleep, it can be really hard to remember to enjoy yourself. This busy stretch is made so much easier when you have something to look forward to. Each week, aim to schedule one thing you enjoy doing to break up all the studying. For me, that’s playing soccer or having a meal with a friend. It could be going for a run, pleasure reading, taking a nap, watching an episode of TV, etc.


Set a goal.

Whether you strive to get at least 8 hours of sleep every day until finals, exercise at least 3 times a week, eat more balanced meals, spend at least an hour outside, or attend that lecture you’ve been skipping, it can be helpful to set a goal you want to achieve by the end of the semester. Try to make it something small that you can feasibly accomplish given all your other responsibilities. Make sure to acknowledge when you make progress on it and congratulate yourself. This can be a good mental and emotional health practice while you’re struggling through a lot of work that feels like you’ll never finish.


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