Chances are, you’ve had some days when you felt overwhelmed after a long day at school. You couldn’t imagine doing anything other than plopping down in front of the television, let alone finding how to focus on your homework.
How can you overcome the resistance and get it done? How do you get your mind to include this task in your day as well?
With just a few adjustments, you will be able to expand your capacity to concentrate.
Why Can’t I Focus on My Homework?
Countless factors constantly fight for your attention: social media, people, overthinking, and anxiety. All of this can make you feel as though you have little control over your mind.
If you want to start to focus better on your homework, you’ll need to set your mind up for success. Remove all distractions.
Here are two key principles that can help you be more successful in your studies:
1. Identify the distractions in your surroundings
What are the things in your daily life that take your mind away from your studies? Clearly identifying these distractions can help you understand both the problem and what causes it.
Among our environmental distractions, digital distractions are one of the worst kinds — and according to a number of studies, their effect is on the rise in the classroom.
If you’re looking to gain more concentration and, thus, form better study habits, question your online behavior first and foremost.
2. Limit the use of technology to find focus
What’s the role of social media in your daily life? Have you ever sat down to calculate how social media distracts you from doing the things you should be doing?
When you are wondering how to focus on homework long after you’ve put your phone away, you’re still thinking about the last posts you saw on Instagram. The sound of new notifications can be enough to reroute our attention from the task at hand.
And then comes the information overload, the fear of missing out, and the all-too-common signs of addictive behavior. Technology is affecting your mind more than ever, and it’s taking your focus away.
How to Focus on Homework: 12 Things You Can Do to Be More Indistractible
Here are 12 tips on how to stay focused while completing your homework, taught by superbrain coach Jim Kwik and habit transformation expert Nir Eyal.
- Make a routine
- Set up a study-friendly environment
- Avoid heavy meals
- Organize your study notes
- Tell others to stay away
- Listen to study music
- Set deadlines
- Take brain breaks
- Use discomfort as motivation for productivity
- Use time blocking
- Let go of thoughts that distract you
- Reimagine your task
Let’s look at each study hack in more detail.
1. Make a routine
Routines help you be productive without exerting as much effort. When you have homework to do, a study routine can be the reason you actually sit down, set enough time aside, concentrate, and stay focused until you complete the project.
This process doesn’t need to be complicated: just tell yourself that you will sit at your desk at home once you’re back from school. Put your phone on silent, make an outline of the work that needs to get done, and simply begin with what’s most important.
2. Set up a study-friendly environment
A place for everything and everything in its place. That applies to studying, too.
Lying in bed with your notebook is considered a distraction, as is being in the living room with your laptop while others are doing their activities.
You need an isolated place when you decide to focus on your homework. Make it feel comfortable, keep it organized, keep it clean, and consider putting up some motivational posters or positive affirmations.
3. Avoid heavy meals
It’s not advisable to have a big meal beforehand. Big meals can ruin your focus and make you feel sluggish and lazy because it takes a big amount of time and energy for your body to digest. A snack is okay.
There are also some foods, though, that are just plain bad for your productivity. For example, soda, candy, and fried foods are all full of sugar and have no nutritional value. They make your insulin spike up, but then it crashes very fast, which makes you feel depleted of energy.
4. Organize your study notes
Prioritize your work. Keep lists and place the most important items on top. Then work on the items that you should get done first.
It helps to outline what you need to do, breaking it down into smaller, more manageable steps. Use colors to highlight the essentials.
This makes it all look much simpler and you’re more likely to actually get started. The brain loves organization and it won’t be so likely to procrastinate when it knows you have a structure set in place.
5. Tell others to stay away
Don’t be afraid to let others know that you’re studying and require some time and space to get your work done. Decide on fixed hours for studying and tell your friends and family members that you won’t be available during that time of the day.
If others respect your study time, you’ll be more inclined to respect it as well.
6. Listen to study music
There are many tracks out there designed to help your mind focus. Whether you use binaural beats or just instrumental music, the right sounds can really help to tune your brain into a productive frequency.
This meditation is also great to listen to; it puts your mind in a clear, concise, and ready-to-take-on-the-world mode:
7. Set deadlines
Even if your teacher has already given you deadlines for each assignment, set new ones yourself at earlier dates.
This helps you build discipline, learn how to focus on studying, and prioritize every day.
8. Take brain breaks
Frequent breaks actually increase your productivity and focus. You’ll see that after each study session, the brain needs to be engaged with something different — you need to activate other parts of your brain before going back to your studies so that you can reach top performance.
You can also use the Superbrain Yoga Technique. In the Superbrain Quest, Jim talks about implementing it during your breaks. It goes as follows:
- Massage the left lobe of your ear with your right hand, and the right one with your left hand
- Inhale and squat down
- Exhale and come back up while continuing massaging your opposite ear with the opposite hand
- Keep going for a few minutes
As your body moves, your brain grooves.— Jim Kwik, trainer of Mindvalley’s Superbrain Quest
9. Use discomfort as motivation for productivity
The brain is wired to protect us from danger, and our ancestors needed this function of the psyche to survive. Discomfort is associated with danger, and whenever they felt it, they knew it was time to run away or protect themselves in one way or another.
In today’s world, danger isn’t so imminent. However, discomfort is, and the brain still works to protect us in the same way.
So why not use it to your advantage?
Once you have this mindset shift, you can see the discomfort that comes with doing your homework as fuel for moving forward, from pain to pleasure. So instead of procrastinating and avoiding the discomfort, just use it as motivation to get things done.
And maybe you can even save yourself a fun activity to do later in the day, so you have something to look forward to.
10. Use time blocking
You can use time blocking and set a specific amount of time for parts of your homework that needs to be done. For example, you block 30 minutes of reading, then another 30 minutes of writing down highlights from the text.
This method will give you more structure and support you when you need to focus on school work, as you will have a dedicated structured time to do so.
11. Let go of thoughts that distract you
When you need more concentration, but your thoughts keep getting in the way, here’s a fun visualization exercise you can use:
- Before you start working on your homework, close down your eyes and imagine a flowing river in front of you.
- Now, place every thought on a leaf and let it run down the river while watching it move away from you.
Do this repeatedly for 5-10 minutes and see how your mind becomes clearer, more productive, and more inspired.
12. Reimagine your task
How can you make the process of doing your homework more fun? Is there any way you can think of to make it more exciting and engaging?
As you introduce play and fun into any task, your capacity to stay focused will increase. So just try out different methods to engage more in your homework.
For example, what if you made a trivia quest about your history lesson homework? Or what about riddles to make you remember all the characters from the novel you have to read?
Once you play around with these kinds of games, you might find that focusing on your homework isn’t as boring as you thought it would be.
Unleash the Power of Your Focus
Discovering how to focus on your homework can go beyond schoolwork and actually support you in many other activities you want to do. Concentration is one of the best skills to nurture for your growth.
If you need a little guidance at the beginning of your focusing journey, Mindvalley has it in store for you.
By unlocking your FREE Mindvalley access, you can check out sample classes from quests that help you develop better focus and study habits, such as Becoming Focused and Indistractable by Nir Eyal and Superbrain by Jim Kwik. You can also immerse yourself in beautiful sounds and guided meditations designed to improve concentration and help you enter the flow state.
The earlier you start, the greater your journey of self-discovery will be. Welcome in.