8 Ways to Focus When Doing Your Homework
Do you ever sit down to do your homework or write a paper and find yourself pulled in so many different directions that an hour later, you still don’t have anything written down?
If you want to get your homework done quickly and efficiently, you’ve got to learn how to focus, something that’s not always easy to do in our smart-phone, internet-addicted world.
By learning how to limit distractions and giving our homework undivided attention, not only will we get more out of the assignments, but they will feel like less of a chore, too.
Scientists have found that when we are completely focused on the task at hand, we can get into a “flow” state, which actually makes us happier.
According to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the renowned psychologist who first identified the concept of flow, achieving flow on a regular basis is a key component of happiness. He explains that people who are in a flow state are so involved in the process of creating something that they don’t have attention left over to listen to the chatter in their minds. And even though this can happen in the most mundane situations, it can lead to a subtle form of ecstasy. Really!
Okay, so maybe you’re never going to feel ecstatic about studying. But if you want to improve your focus and be more in the flow when doing your homework, here are some simple tips you can follow.
- Turn off your phone
We’re putting this one at the top of the list because it is the number one biggest distraction when it comes to doing your homework. The most full-proof way of staying focused is to put your phone on airplane mode. Trust us, all of the texts from your friends and social media updates will still be there an hour later.
- Don’t check your email or social media
While you’ll probably need to use a computer or device to complete certain assignments, make it a point to not check your email or social media accounts while you’re working. Just like the texts, these can all wait until later.
- Don’t go down the rabbit hole
We’ve all done it. You Google a question about your science homework and suddenly you find yourself clicking on a link about whales, which leads you to another link about the Indian Ocean, which inspires you to look up pictures of tropical islands. And there you are dreaming about a beach vacation and wondering, “What was I supposed to be doing?” If you need to research something on the internet for your homework, don’t go down the rabbit hole! (And if you slip, try to get back on course as quickly as possible).
- Listen to Mozart
Did you know that listening to classical music has been proven to boost people’s focus and productivity? Classical music can help you lower your blood pressure and reduce anxiety, helping you feel calmer as you work. While you don’t necessarily have to listen to Mozart, make sure you select classical music that is relatively serene and definitely avoid music with lyrics.
- Take a nap
If you start reading your textbook and find yourself dozing off in the middle of a sentence, it might be best to take a 15-minute nap and come back to your homework when you’re more refreshed. It’s better to be alert while reading and absorb what you read than to force yourself to read the same page three times and learn nothing from it. Just remember to actually get up in 15 minutes!
- Drink water
Speaking of feeling tired, did you know that one of the leading causes of feeling tired is actually being dehydrated? Our bodies are made up of about 60 percent water, and when you are dehydrated, your blood volume decreases, making it harder for blood to get to your brain. Also, although coffee can give you a jolt, it actually causes more dehydration, so drinking water is more effective than amping up with caffeine.
- Eat healthy snacks
Another way to keep yourself focused while you study is to munch on healthy snacks, ideally something that has protein that will keep you feeling full longer. Some good options are a handful of nuts or crackers with peanut butter. Avoid sugary snacks and junk food that will cause your blood sugar to spike and then crash a little while later.
- Sit up straight
It seems so inviting to lie down on the couch with your book for English class and read under a blanket. But when you’re too comfortable, it’s easy to just fall asleep. That’s why it’s best to do your homework sitting up straight in a chair at a desk or a table. Keep the lights up high, too, to keep yourself more alert. And most importantly, do not try to read in bed!
Remember, the more alert you are when doing homework, the more quickly you’ll finish and be able to get back to something fun. Who knows? You may even get into a flow state and experience a moment of homework happiness!