I have trouble staying focused. It’s like my brain goes on autopilot and flies to South America on vacation without me! Like come on, man, at least take me with you!
Over the past few months I’ve found little tricks to keep me on task. From using all my senses (6th included) to using timers and short bursts of exercise I’ve managed to keep my brain with me.
1. Sense of Smell
This sounds weird, but it actually does help to spray an unfamiliar scent when you study. I like to use candles because of their calming effect.
Constantly keeping a part of the body in motion, doing something the person doesn’t have to put much thought into such as knitting a scarf, playing with silly putty, or tapping a desk has shown to help increase the ability to pay attention in those with ADHD. Usually, taking notes and bobbing my leg up and down during class keeps my brain centered on the task at hand, but I’ve been in classes where I didn’t have to take notes. What a crisis! So, with my teacher’s permission, I began to knit during class. There was instant improvement. Heck, I could focus on one topic for an hour and a half straight! It was a miracle!
If you’re like me and get distracted by ambient conversations try listening to music without words, such as the Star Wars soundtrack, or the sounds of nature. Both Apple and Google have great apps for instrumental music and ambiance.
We are visual creatures, are we not? Try taking short breaks every few paragraphs or so (when taking notes) and draw pictures that summarize or help you remember what you read. It gives your brain enough time to wander before going back into serious study mode so you don’t waste a half hour day dreaming.
I’m a big believer in the Pomodoro method of learning. Twenty-five minutes of work and a five minute break? Sounds good to me! If you haven’t heard of the Pomodoro technique, check out the official website at this link to learn more! However, the way I Pomodoro is a little different – during the five minute break I either walk down and back up all the floors in my dorm or I run in place. This helps get all my bumps, jitters, restless leg syndrome stuff out of the way so it won’t bother me when I’m working.
What are some of the methods you use to keep focused?