Have you ever settled in to read something — perhaps a book, a memo, even a lengthily email — and found yourself reading and re-reading the same few sentences over and over?
Your eyes glaze over as you stare blankly at the book or screen before you. You can’t seem to find your place on the page. You don’t even know why you started reading in the first place.
Having trouble staying focused is a common complaint. Our attention is a resource, and it’s one we must learn to wield with care.
How To Focus Better While Studying
While we can be distracted at any point in time during our day, it’s often when applying our minds to a specific task, like reading, that we find just how easily our attention can slip.
Learning how to focus better while reading is a matter of first identifying what is distracting us.
Easier said than done, right?
The distractions that surround us are often so insidious we don’t notice them. Here are a few things to be wary of.
1. Filtering Excess External Noise
While you can’t control the bombardment of barking from Fido across the street or the kids hollering over their impromptu basketball game in the neighbor’s yard, what you can control is how you deal with the excess noise.
Excess noise can impair cognitive function, which contributes to an inability to focus.
Investing in a good pair of noise-canceling headphones can do wonders to filter out an excessive external noise. When it comes to staying focused, blocking out needless stimuli is a great place to start.
2. Listen To Your Body
It can quite tough to focus when your stomach is a–grumblin’. Lack of proper hydration or nutrition are often the culprits behind our waning attention.
Making sure your body has the energy and nutrients it needs to run at peak performance isn’t just a key component of staying focused — it can help ramp up your productivity, too!
3. Get Rid Of Your Phone
No surprises here, right? Who can deny that our phones are simultaneously one of the greatest sources of entertainment and distraction combined into one super sleek, handheld package?
It’s news to no one that your phone is a major source of distraction, but here’s something you might not know: your phone has the potential to drain your ability to focus even if it’s not in your hand.
A recent study by The University of Chicago Press Journals discovered that even if a cell phone is lying prone on a nearby table, safely out of arms reach, it is still sapping your cognitive resources as you resist the urge to check it.
The solution? Staying focused might require you to turn your phone off. Or at least put it in airplane mode in another room.
Out of sight, out of mind, right?
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What distractions do you struggle with while studying? Do you have any tips or tricks to share on staying focused? Tell us what you think in the comments below!