If you are reading this article instead of working on your homework, your concentration skills are out of whack. Something needs to be done.
Stop. Breathe. Keep reading.
You know you can’t leave homework until tomorrow. So, how to overcome natural resistance and keep studying even late at night when tired mind grinds to a halt? Well, there are many ways to go about it. Let’s focus on the key ones, shall we?
I Can’t Focus on Homework. What Should I Do?
The lack of concentration is the heavy price of burnout. In college, everything vies for your attention; everything vies for your mental resources. Naturally, a rare student goes through a semester-long educational marathon without having their mental circuits fried. The lack of focus is a telltale symptom of burnout. High-achievers are usually the first to suffer from physical and emotional exhaustion. When in the throes of burnout, one is no longer able to hold their head straight to say nothing of focusing on homework. Our brains have evolved to detect and respond to change. If, however, all you experience is change, then the brain becomes fed up with information and shuts off. Here’s how to overcome burnout and regain your focus:
- Schedule Frequent Homework Breaks
How can you avoid the productivity drain and regain your focus? The answer is simple: get some rest. Try doing more by doing less. No, it is not Zen Buddhist mumbo-jumbo. Scientists have long discovered that optimal rest-study schedules can substantially maximize one’s productivity. Furthermore, it has been conclusively demonstrated by empirical studies that burnout rates among students drop substantially after the defragmentation of their rest break time. The takeaway? Superhero-level productivity and focus can be achieved with sloth-level laziness.
- Pace Your Homework Race
So, how do you strike the right balance between study and rest? How to properly pace study sessions? Well, it’s pretty simple – use time management methods. Pomodoro technique developed by Francesco Cirillo will let you focus on your homework without worrying about distractions. Under this method, a student has to study for 25 minutes and then take a 5-minute break. Remember: no interruptions! After the fourth period, take a longer break but keep the right pace. That’s it. There are many Pomodoro apps that can be downloaded on the computer and used for studying.
Another way to focus on your paper is to employ pulse and pause method developed by Tony Schwartz. The technique is similar to the ‘Pomodoro method’; however, each study iteration takes much longer. Much, much longer. Alternating periods of single-focused studying last for 90 minutes. Not everyone can tap into their concentration reserves to last for 90 minutes. However, after some practice, you’ll be able to pull it off.
- Get a Dedicated Study Space
Having your study space is key to attaining and keeping focus. Ideally, your study cranny, private learning pod or homework nook should be used for studying only. However, if your home isn’t that roomy, you can repurpose some other space when it’s time to do your homework. Just make sure that the place you choose for crunching math problems and analyzing poems is distraction-free and well lit. It has been proven time and time again that dimly lit rooms make students drowsy. If you don’t want to fall asleep while doing your homework, then open the window or light a lamp.
How to Focus Better on Homework: 4 Step Cardboard Box Method
To achieve sustained focus and productivity, remove all distractions in your immediate surroundings. Did I just write ‘remove’? I mean destroy, raze to the ground, and nuke them! Nothing should stand between you and homework. Competing priorities, web surfing on the computer or phone, and socializing should be banished from your schedule and your head for that matter. Your homework should always take precedence. If someone has to draw the short straw, let it be daily distractions.
Here’s how to remove distractions and keep your concentration at its maximum:
- Grab the most advanced, high-tech…cardboard box.
- Put the box on your desk.
- Shove your iPhone, laptop, tablet, and other time wasters inside the box.
- Close the box and get back to work.
Technology is eating away your focus. Without needless distractions, you are much likely to finish your homework and don’t ruin it with heedless errors. Think outside the box and keep distractions inside it.
How to Focus on Homework and Not Procrastinate
Procrastination subsides and even vanishes after being exposed to strong study habits even for a short while. Once hit by this trouble, don’t get depressed and read these tips on how to banish procrastination completely:
- Have a Routine
Routines help students to be focused and stop procrastinating. Consistency is central to achievement, which is why you should study on a consistent basis or at least aim for it. Have you felt the initial surge of energy that goes through your body as you start working on your homework? Have you noticed that it fizzles out in an hour or even ten minutes leaving you slightly discouraged? Of course, you have! But do you know that it doesn’t have to be so? After you’ve developed a consistent routine, both your mind and body will become accustomed to short, combustive study cycles. If you want to achieve more, to learn more, then develop a routine and stick to it.
- Create a Plan
Benjamin Franklin once famously quipped that the failure of preparation is nothing but a preparation for failure. The same principle applies to studying. Even the most challenging homework assignment can be tackled with sufficient preparation. Here’s how to plan your homework study periods:
- Make use of Google Calendar to plan your study cycles.
- Detail what and when you are planning to study and what you want to achieve with each period.
- Put in the measurable goals for your homework and go at it.
- Instead of planning a whole month start by scheduling one day and scale up from there.
- Enter a Positive Reinforcement Loop
To set up an autopilot mode, you need to reward yourself for each habitual study cycle. To enter a positive reinforcement loop, you should understand the constituents of a habit. Basically, each habitual action is preceded by a cue and followed by a reward, which motivates a person to continue. If you are utilizing the Pomodoro method, an app beep could be your cue to initiate the homework routine. After the first iteration of the routine is finished, reward yourself with a snack. Soon enough, your body will start expecting a positive reinforcement. You will, literary, crave to study.
How to Focus on Doing Homework
Here’s how to maintain focus during your homework study sessions:
- Connect Your Study Session to a Clear Goal
In order to focus on a task, you have to convince yourself that it is worth your effort. To do that you have to connect your task to a clear goal. When your homework writing session is rooted in a clear goal, then you’ll have a much easier time focusing on it.
- Start Writing, Focus Later
It doesn’t matter how good your concentration skills are. It is always hard to start. But that’s totally OK. Don’t wait forever – just start. Remember: action doesn’t spring from concentration, rather action leads to concentration.
- Don’t Multitask
Multitasking seeps your focus and, consequently, productivity. Instead of switching back and forth between different homework assignments, focus on a single one.
The next time you find yourself overwhelmed by homework, step back and use concentration techniques described in this article.