9 Study Techniques to Avoid Distractions and Improve Your Scores
Isn’t it nice to see a student get good marks and when people congratulate him or her then we imagine that what if we were the ones who could have done better only if we were able to sit down to study like he or she did. At last we conclude they are just studious book worms and we probably can’t become like them. The one question students are asking themselves is how to focus on study. This is a fundamental question since attention spans have become so low that concentrating on anything for long periods of time has become next to impossible. However, as a student you notice that when you sit down to play games and watch your favourite shows it is impossible to pull you away even for meals. What do we need to do to get ourselves or to concentrate on studies or anything that has to be done
- Make a Study Timetable and Stick to it
- Set Your Priorities Straight
- Throw in Breaks and Rewards
- Add Variety – At Least 2-3 Subjects
- Eat the frog – The Hardest First
- Use The Eisenhower Matrix
- Start by Sitting for Small Periods of Time
- Sit in a Distraction Free Zone
- Reward Yourself
Let’s Dive Right into it and Find out
How to Focus on Study and Not Get Distracted
Make a Study Time Table
This is probably the most important step you will take when you decide to start focusing on your studies. This time table will have to take many aspects of your work day. It will different on your school days and on your holidays. It will take into consideration the subjects you plan to tackle, the time you will allot to each subject and the times you will allot for rest and meditation. When you start making the time table you need to know and decide what are the more important things you will complete per day.
Set your Priorities Straight
For any task you undertake to complete you should be invested in it. Any half hearted attempt could lead to abandonment or bad implementation. That means you should build up your interest for the task at hand. If it is such a task that you are not interested in doing, but is something necessary, like studies, then remind yourself about the benefits you will get after you complete it. The peace of mind you will get once the exams are done and you know you have done your best or the accolades your proud parents will shower upon you when you get good marks. When you write your time table the subjects you choose to do during the day should be the most important at the time. If you have an exam in some days then you could adapt the exam time table as your study time table or you might reverse it so that you start your revision or studies with the last papers first. Even during the day what subject gets most priority will be important.
Add Variety – At Least 2-3 Subjects
While doing any task that takes long hours of your work day you should organise and plan accordingly. This was the reason schools have time tables that include breaks. In other words you should not study one subject for a full day, but include some variety. You could do an easy subject after you tackle a hard subject. Or you could keep practice time of a hard subject (math needs constant practice) after you study an easy subject. Remember to throw in breaks. These breaks can be used for meditation, entertainment or even small power naps. Entertainment should be for entertainment sake and do not invest your mind into it. Respect break times and when you come back to study you should not keep thinking about the show you have seen. Naps too should be naps and not long hours of sleep. Mark Twain once said “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.
Eating the frog with Eisenhower
Eating the frog is a term used by productivity scientists to guide you to tackle the hard tasks first. This is when you are fresh and the easy tasks can be done during the end of your schedule. We can take the help of Eisenhower here. A small chart or matrix for productivity attributed to Eisenhower called the Eisenhower Box Matrix is a very useful way to tackle tasks to be done during the day. You divide your tasks according to urgent, important, not so urgent and not so important and tackle them accordingly. If the exams are near this chart is even more helpful since you can prioritize according to the most important paper coming up first. This will be the subject that is most important and most urgent. If you break down all the subjects into smaller modules and apply the matrix then you know what to eliminate and what to keep aside to do when you have extra time. This is also specially helpful to students of competitive exams who can pick and choose subjects and modules that are high scoring and easy to remember and eliminating those that can be tough. In the process making sure that you get the highest marks in topics you know.
Start small and grow with the Pomodoro Technique
Sitting for long hours is not easy and you could start by taking breaks after small spurts of studying. You could start with half an hour and take it up to 2 hours. Or you could try the Pomodoro technique. The Pomodoro technique needs a little discipline and an alarm. Set the alarm for 30 minutes and study in a very focused manner. It is only for 30 minutes after all. Whatever comes to mind is to be put aside to be tackled after the alarm goes off. No distractions whatsoever. After your allotted time take a five to ten minutes break. Do meditation or walk around or do yoga. Then repeat the process. Once you get the hang of it you could increase your study time. Increasing it by 5 minutes per day or couple of days could also help.
Distraction Free Zone
When you sit down to study or do long hours of focused work like writing a book or studying, you need to have minimum distractions. If possible take away all distractions like television, games, even cell phones. If family members are talking loudly or entertaining themselves in that place then you need to go to some other room or they need to go somewhere else. You could alternatively try soft music by putting on noise cancelling headphones so that you are oblivious to what’s going on outside your immediate surrounding.
Once you have made the time table to follow and decided to stay away from all kinds of distractions while using up your breaks for meditation, walking and exercises you could sprinkle in some rewards like a video game session or one episode of your favourite show. This is a good way to ensure you finish all your tasks and complete all that your time states you should be doing. But it also means refraining from playing games and watching TV during the most of the breaks.
Make it a Habit
Finally I can say that once you start doing something diligently every day it starts to becoming a habit and becomes easier as days go by. So start today and best of luck for your exams.