You have a big exam coming soon but you can’t seem to summon the power to focus at all. Your mind is jumping around with ideas like a ping-pong ball and your thoughts are all over the place.
Maybe your brain thought that studying time meant that you should start reminiscing about the past. Now is not a good time to think about that one time back in 7th grade when you accidentally sat on gum and your classmates made fun of you. Or maybe your brain thought that studying time meant that you should start thinking about what you’re going to wear to Tasha’s party next week.
You genuinely set your intention to study, but you can’t seem to have one ounce of focus left inside your brain. You feel like you’re running out of time and the exam’s date is approaching and you start panicking.
And suddenly, it seems like a good idea to check on your Instagram story and to see if that cute guy has watched it or not. Two hours later and you’re still scrolling through Instagram…if only Instagram content was the real exam material, you would’ve aced that test!
So what can you do when you want to study but can’t seem to focus?
1- It’s All About The Location
You have to find your sweet spot; you have to find that location that will urge you to do nothing but study. You should have a dedicated studying space and that shouldn’t be the same spot where you sleep or eat; it has to be only for studying purposes
Dedicate a small corner in your room specifically for studying; it doesn’t have to be costly at all. Just get a small desk and a chair and you’re good to go!
Moreover, it’s a good idea to clean your room and declutter your space. In fact, studying in a clean and organized environment will boost your focus and enhance your productivity.
If you grew up with many siblings, like me, and had to share space with others, it might be a good idea to study at the library. The library has actual rules that urge everyone to be quiet; plus, the smell of old books will inspire you!
2- Establish A Pre-Study Routine
Establishing a pre-studying routine can be extremely beneficial in setting the tone for studying and getting in the mood. Think of it this way, babies should have a pre-sleeping routine so they can fall into a deep sleep all night; it starts from taking a bath, giving them a massage, and keeping the room dark.
This routine sends messages to the infant’s mind that it’s time to sleep. Consequently, you need to have a pre-studying routine that would send messages to your brain that would trigger studying time. Your brain would start associating these activities with studying and automatically put you in a study mood.
For instance, your pre-study routine can start by dedicating 15 minutes to declutter your space, making a cup of coffee, and preparing a snack. Bonus tip: A protein bar is a perfect snack that gives you the energy to study for hours. I always knew that it was time to study my head off the minute I started chewing on my protein bar.
3- Take Short Breaks
Breaks are essential in rejuvenating your energy levels; in fact, taking short breaks has been proven to increase focus. It’s worth mentioning that what you do in this dedicated break is key to maintaining your focus levels.
For instance, it’s not a good idea to watch an episode of Gossip Girl during your break. It’s a guaranteed way to find yourself watching yet another episode till it’s suddenly five hours later and you’re still binging in the same spot.
A good idea for a break would be to stretch your body or take a short walk around the neighborhood. You can also have something to eat during your break.
You can take a refreshing cold shower. You can also take a short nap; just please don’t take a “short” nap and wake up the next day!
And no, it’s not a good idea to call your BFF to gossip or to ask her what Jessica meant when she said what she said. This is a sure way to get distracted and lose momentum.
4- Ditch The Art of Cramming
We’ve all been guilty of cramming for a test till the very last day. Yes, it has been successful in the past but it’s an energy drainer and it means that you have to stress yourself and your brain out.
It’s recommended to divide your study sessions; this way you will spend less time and less energy. Studying for 30 minutes each day will help you achieve that.
Plus, your brain will retain that information and store it in long-term memory. Below are tips to avoid cramming and possible burnout.
Space out your study sessions
Make your study sessions short and effective. This way, you don’t have to deal with the pain of familiarizing yourself with new material at once. It’s very stressful and overwhelming to study all the material at once!
Study in advance
Don’t wait till the very last minute to study for an exam. Mark your calendar on upcoming tests and homework deadlines and make a schedule accordingly.
Take notes, highlight the most important ideas, and summarize the main ideas of the study material. This way, you will know what to go through and how to revise this material without having to go all over it. This will also decrease your studying time and make your study sessions more effective.
Find a study buddy
A study buddy will share knowledge with you and will keep you motivated. Moreover, a study buddy would hold you accountable if you miss a study session!