You’ll agree with me on this:
Concentrating on studies is HARD.
You try your best to concentrate on studies and avoid distractions, but unwanted thoughts keep coming one after the other, and the time flies like a supersonic jet.
You feel bad about yourself—wondering if something’s wrong with you.
The truth is:
It’s natural to get distracted while trying to focus on studies.
You’re not the only one who gets distracted while studying—all of us do (at times).
Fortunately, you can concentrate on studies by avoiding some common mistakes (which I’m going to reveal in this article).
But before that, let’s understand…
Why Is Focus Important?
Focus is important because the tasks we do, require a certain amount of momentum. And unless we offer the desired energy (attention) to a particular task (studies in our case), we cannot give it the momentum it demands.
The more focused we’re, the better the momentum.
The better the momentum, the better the results.
Develop your focus and concentrate on studies; avoid these mistakes:
1. Trying too Hard to Focus on Studies And Avoid Distractions
Most people believe distractions are their enemy.
And, here’s the thing:
When you consider someone your enemy, it’s only natural to fight. So, that’s what they do—they fight distractions.
They try way too hard to focus on studies without getting distracted. And in doing so, they give the distractions more power.
Now, here’s the golden rule:
What you focus on, grows.
In other words, your thoughts, your feelings, and your actions flow in the direction of your attention.
Recall the time when you first learned to ride a bicycle.
Since you didn’t have the confidence to ride on a busy road, you chose a not-so-busy one.
And an interesting thing happened…
The road was wide, with a big tree on the sideways. And you were afraid you might bump into it.
Instead of focusing on riding, you were totally focused on not to get bumped into that tree.
But you DID bump into the tree.
Since your eyes were fixed on the tree, the handle of the bicycle turned towards that tree, and you bumped into it. And you wondered why.
It’s simple: the whole time your attention was on that tree, and you were right to focus on that because, to avoid something, one must know what is it that he wants to avoid, right?
But life works in mysterious ways—the very thing that you try to avoid keeps coming back into your life experience.
Because you’re focused on that thing!
You cannot avoid distractions and concentrate on your studies. Because by the law (I am repeating myself) the very thing you focus on, grows (in this case, distractions).
So, instead of trying to avoid distractions, focus on your studies.
Don’t’ even talk about distractions.
I am not saying deny them, what I’m saying is, acknowledge them, and then, stop paying attention to them.
Pay attention to your studies.
See what I mean?
Be pro-focus, not anti-distractions.
Acknowledge the Distractions
The very first thing to realise is this:
Distractions aren’t something new.
They’ve always been there—even when your great-great-grandfather was a little kid.
The only difference?
How people used to address distractions in the past and how they address them now.
When I was a kid, these were the names of distractions—”Comics, Gilli Danda, Kanchhe, Lattu, Cartoon shows, etc.”
And now, you call them “Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Whatsapp, YouTube, internet, video games, mobile games, Xbox, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and stuff like that.”
The good news?
Your great-great-grandfather survived them, I survived them, and you’ll survive them, too.
So, just chill.
Make Peace with Distractions
Now that you’re done with the “acknowledgement” part, it’s time to make peace with them.
There are two types of distractions:
- Distractions you can control
- Distractions you cannot control
Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Whatsapp and things like that—these are under your control. You can remove them from your life at this very instant.
But, you must ask yourself why you want to do that—why you want to remove these distractions from your life.
Is it because you’re really serious about your studies or because you think you’re supposed to. Get clarity on this.
And when you do, take a stand.
It’s time for you to stop complaining about distractions. Because you see, it’s not about the distractions; it’s about YOU.
If you could spend time checking Facebook posts, Instagram photos, WhatsApp messages, then you can also give your studies your undivided attention.
By saving yourself from social media madness.
It’s okay to socialise, but too much of anything is really too much. Fortunately, you can come out of the “Social Media Frenzy” with these steps:
1. Inform the people who keep forwarding you emails about the world’s craziest, sexiest, funniest, or deadliest things. Tell them politely that you prefer not to receive such emails any longer, and ask them to take you off of their mailing list. If, even after repeated requests, they fail to do so, take the last step—block them. Yes, I am serious.
2. Make it clear to your friends that you’re trying to concentrate on your studies, and they should refrain from texting you unnecessarily on WhatsApp.
3. And the most radical of all—give your smartphone rest until your exams are over. I am not saying smartphones are evil, they have their place, but studies are more important than “staying in touch.”
Get Around the Distractions
You have control over your phone and social media.
But you have little to no control over such things as:
Sounds coming from the streets—fruit vendors, vehicles, people talking, etc.
Your neighbourhood—radios, TVs, loudspeakers, etc.
But you can still manage them, at least to some extent.
It’s like you cannot stop the freezing wind from blowing, but you can surely cover your ears to keep yourself warm. Same is true for blocking noise.
Here are some actionable ideas:
- Install heavy curtains, like really heavy, on your study room windows. Heavy curtains reduce the level of noise and unwanted sounds.
- Put small cotton balls in your ears for blocking out unwanted sounds. Sure, cotton cannot eliminate the noise, but it does block some.
- Try to study for long hours at night or early in the morning (when the outside sounds are at the minimum.)
- Request a friend to give you some study space if his house happens to be in a quieter neighbourhood.
- Join your local library. Libraries are generally more peaceful than homes. You can concentrate better on your studies in a library than in a noisy neighbourhood.
The essence is…
You cannot manipulate the outside sounds, but you can surely control your study timings, the environment, and the place of study.
Multitasking keeps your attention divided.
It never lets you focus totally on one task, which results in below average, mediocre performance.
Can you imagine studying maths, science, and social studies at the same time? Or replying to WhatsApp messages while learning chemistry formulas?
Just remember a simple rule:
The more you do a thing in a certain way, the more you train your mind to that thing in the exact same way, over and over again.
So, when you multitask, you train your mind to divide your attention among various tasks—not focusing totally on a specific thing.
Multitasking forces your mind to stay unfocused, and that’s the last thing you want if you’re trying to concentrate on your studies, right?
Here’s the solution:
Focus on one task at a time.
3. Practising Meditation to Stay Focused
Most people believe that…
Meditation is the perfect tool for clearing the mind and focusing on studies.
Well, guess what? It rarely works because what’s actually needed is concentration and not meditation.
Difference Between Concentration and Meditation
When you direct your attention to one and only one subject, it’s concentration. And when you watch the distractions inside (the thoughts) within your mind, that’s meditation.
Agreed, meditation can help you experience silence and bliss, but that’s not we’re after—we’re trying to improve our concentration so that we could focus better on our studies.
That’s the goal.
Moreover, meditation might not be for you.
4. Doing Everything in Your Head
Most of the time, we try to do everything in our heads.
We try to remember the tasks we need to complete on a particular day and rarely note them down.
When it comes to studies, you must know how you’re going to spend your day. And you can do that easily by maintaining a “To-do” list.
Having a list on paper gives clarity and focus.
And when you know exactly what do you need to do, the unproductive and time-wasting activities vanish, just like that.
5. Trying to Become “Jack of All Trades”
So, you want to become a cricketer, an astronaut, a model, a singer, an engineer, and a movie star?
Well, I have good news for you…
It’s possible. In your dreams.
In reality, you can make your career in one (or two fields) only. There’s no such thing as an “all-rounder.” The sooner you realise it, the better.
Here’s an example:
When I was training for voice acting, I tried mastering as many as four languages—Hindi, English, Urdu, and Sanskrit.
After a year or so, I realised I was getting nowhere, simply because I wasn’t focused. I was kind of “multitasking.” 🙂 And so, I started focusing only on the ones critical to my success—and things improved.
Be careful to pursue only those things which are really valuable to your studies and career.
6. Believing “Slow and Steady” Always Win the Race
Many times, we do not take advantage of technology to its fullest.
You see, the primary purpose of technology is to give you more free time (freedom) to do the things you love.
And so, you mustn’t fall for cheap internet service plans.
Go for the fastest Internet service you could afford.
Yes, speed comes at a price, but that price is justified.
A high-speed internet connection lets you complete more tasks in less time, which, in turn, gives you the freedom to concentrate more on your studies.
7. Neglecting “Study Breaks”
A mind is a fragile tool.
And fragile things need better care.
Studying continuously for long hours causes mental fatigue and boredom. And that can screw your concentration.
Frequent study breaks.
Take a break from studies for 15-20 minutes every two to three hours.
Here are some ideas:
- Stare into the sky (looking into the sky clears the mind like anything, try it);
- Sip black coffee;
- Listen to a song ( or how about singing your favourite one?);
- Watch a funny video on youtube (comedy really refreshes the mind);
- Go for a walk down the street.
And, don’t plan what you’re going to do in your next break. Be spontaneous, because “too much” planning can bring boredom.
Study breaks are essential not only for refreshing your mind but also for “processing” the information you just consumed.
So make sure to include them in your schedule.
Concentrating On Studies Doesn’t Have to Be Hard
Mistakes could sabotage your efforts in concentrating on studies.
Fortunately, avoiding such common mistakes is relatively easy, now that you know about them.
So, make a study time-table and get to work.
You’ll be amazed at how much you can achieve in studies with a strong focus.