As you can see from the above photo, I get SUPER distracted when writing a paper or studying for finals. It's always really hard for me to concentrate. Why? Well, because most of the stuff that I study is on the computer and the computer has the internet, which has facebook, email, pinterest, blogger....see what I mean? I find myself writing a paper and then clicking that little Chrome browser button and 15 minutes later I'm still wasting time. This time when finals came around though, I was prepared! I've come up with some strategies for myself that I'll share with you too! I hope some of these help.
1. Give yourself time limits. I think the biggest thing for me when I'm studying for a big test or writing a paper, is that I get way overwhelmed that I can't even get myself to start. So I finally figured this out, but set time limits! My phone's always right beside me so I set a timer for 15 minutes. I have to write a certain amount (a reasonable amount but still challenging) or study a certain amount by the time the timer is up. And during that time, I can't text (because if I get a text, to read it I have to get out of the timer, which is a no-no) or browse the internet or do anything distracting. And it's only 15 minutes so it's easily doable! Once the timer is up, I can text someone back or go check my email or facebook. But I check it really quick and then do another timer. This works really well because it's manageable time and truly actually get stuff done! It's like a compromise with myself haha. And seriously before you know it, you'll be finished.
2. Listen to music. But isn't music distracting, you say? Well yeah, if you're listening to music that you can jump around and dance to or even music that you can sing along to. I'm not suggesting you listen to classical music, because that's boring for most of us. I've actually been listening to movie scores this whole weekend like from the Hunger Games, Harry Potter (of course), Disney movies, and others. I like movie scores because there are no words to sing along to and distract you, but your imagination is still active because the music puts images into your head and reminds you of different movies you've seen. I have a lot of scores on my iTunes library, but you can also just go to Pandora and make a station. Either write in something like "Harry Potter movie score," or write a famous score-writer. Some of the famous ones are Alan Menken (Disney), John Williams, Hans Zimmer, John Newton Howard (Hunger Games), Alexandre Desplat (HP & Deathly Hallows).
3. Have snacks! This is pretty self-explanatory, but just give yourself something to much on while studying. I looooove eating pretzel M&Ms but that's not the healthiest. Some fruit would be good or chips and salsa or guacamole. I do like having candy with me when I study though, it's my favorite snack for that! And also, make sure not to skip meals or let yourself go without when you're doing homework. It's just as important if not more important during stress times to have three meals a day so that you can concentrate well. If your delirious from having no food, you're not going to be able to study well at all, with these tips or without.
4. Make a list of stuff you want to do. Whenever I'm studying, I would basically rather be doing anything else and I can always come up with a justification to make that thing more important than school. Usually it's really random stuff too, like "Oh, I need to make cookies right now!" or "I should write my missionary friend a letter," or "I need to fix that dress!" or even, "Oh yeah, I need to find that person on facebook." It's all different, but it's important to remember that those things can be done later, and right now, studying needs to happen. So open up another document on Microsoft Word, and whenever one of those ideas pops into your head, write it down in that document, save it, and go back to your homework. So that when you are done studying and actually have time for real life, you can go back to that list and see what you needed/wanted to do. Plus, chances are that half that list will be erased, because you were only going to do them anyways to not do homework.
5. If you are really tired, sleep. There is nothing to cure sleep, and if you cannot possibly keep your eyes open, go to sleep! Our bodies need it and they don't function properly when they're super tired. If you're trying to stay up really late to finish, just go to sleep and wake up early instead. I've found that works way better for me sometimes. All I know is that I can't fight my body on sleep forever. If I need it, I've got to do it, no questions asked.
6. Find your study place. Where do you study best? Library, at home, in your bed, in a bookstore? For me, it's my bed. I'm comfortable and I can have whatever I need around me. When I'm really tired I'll go downstairs in our apartment because it's colder, but usually my bed works. If I'm getting super distracted at home by roommates and such then I will end up going to the library, but that doesn't happen too often since I have pretty studious roommates. :)
7. Stay Focusd. Nope, no typo. If you have Chrome as your web browser, I would highly recommend getting this app. Basically, it gives you a certain amount of time on the websites that you choose and once the time's up, it blocks that website until the end of the day. Genius right? So say your limit is half an hour for facebook every day, well once you reach that, it blocks facebook and you can't get on anymore. One thing that is also really great is that you can make it so it will block all the internet on your browser for a certain amount of time. Last week I was writing a paper so I had it block everything for two hours so that I could finish. If you have Chrome (which you should because it is pretty much the best) then you should use this. I love it!
8. Budget your time. This is similar to the setting time limits one but different. Sometimes, I have to write a paper by midnight because that's when I go to bed, and I'm done with the day at 3, so I think "Oh wow, I have nine hours to write my paper, that's plenty of time!" How many of us do this? And then we get to about 7-8:00 and wonder where the time went and start freaking out. Well you know how we are always being told to budget our money or we'll just spend it all on unimportant stuff? Time is basically the same thing: we must budget it or we will spend it all on unimportant stuff. So within the hour, decide what you will do. It's 2:00 so what will you do from 2:00-3:00? How much will you get done? Instead of looking at how much time you have total, look at it hour by hour and prioritize it, get your homework done first and eat lunch and dinner and then see what you can do. It will make worlds of difference for how you use your time.
I feel like I should have ten points on this list, but I can't think of anymore so eight it is! Now I've got to get back to my studying so good luck everyone and have a great week! :)
|(this is probably how most people are feeling during finals week haha...CRAZY!)|