Concentrating on Homework: Really Effective Tips

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Tired Student with Books

Homework is certainly one of those things our brain treats quite ambivalently. On the one hand, it does realize that it must help us manage all tasks, or at least most of them. On the other hand, it is constantly in search for something more interesting, as it considers, to turn our attention to. Probably, that is because our brain has two halves, and while the one is listening to an imaginary angel and trying to solve this math problem, the other is following an imaginary imp’s piece of advice, and you feel your hand is reaching for your mobile phone. Although Julius Caesar was also believed to do from four to seven tasks simultaneously, you’d better not follow his brilliant example when it comes to your homework. Don’t take it seriously about the angel and the imp. Both concentration and distraction are mental processes which have their scientific explanation. However, their factors and reasons may differ from person to person. Take music for an example. It helps your elder brother to concentrate on doing his project in physics, but it irritates you dreadfully and you can’t finish writing your essay in literature. Or vice versa. We’ll discuss it below in a more detailed way.

In case you don’t mind the music, you have probably noticed more than once that it takes quite a lot of time to reply to all your friends’ messages or watch a “really short” video one of them sent to you. Nothing critical, but you could spend it on finishing your homework faster and simply go to bed a few hours earlier. Nice prospect, isn’t it? By the way, a study among high school students, conduct by Dr. Larry Rosen, a psychology professor at California State University, has demonstrated that students who are usually less distracted by their gadgets have higher GPAs than students who are used to switch back and forth and regularly check Facebook or text messages. Nevertheless, across all grade levels, 80% of students reported that they switch between studying and technology somewhat often to very often.

Annie Murphy Paul conducted another research and discovered three most negative outcomes of the studying process which is regularly distracted by technologies. Naturally, these outcomes can be connected with any other sources of your distraction. Firstly, your assignment will take longer to complete. This is what has been already mentioned above. Secondly, you will make more mistakes. This doesn’t sound great as well. Thirdly, you will remember less information than you would like to.

Reading Robot

You can say that you aren’t a robot and it’s almost impossible not to make a mistake in your essay or to learn the whole textbook in chemistry by heart. Of course, you are more than right. However, you can’t but agree that you want to use your homework time as productively as possible. You will also acknowledge that you really need to make your concentration ability work for you and not for the latest soccer news or whatever you think is more interesting than home assignment. So look at the tips below and stick to them as much as you can. Remember that concentration on the homework is about self-discipline and time management, and these are things which can make your life much easier and really sensible.

Tip #1 Create a Comfortable Studying Place

The chair you sit on, the table you write at, the shelves and drawers you keep your books and notebooks in, and any other item involved in your process of doing homework must make you feel comfortable. Don’t confuse with “relaxed”. There also must enough light, so consider the windows and lamps. Air the room you study in regularly. If it is easier for you to find the copybook you need in a heap and not in a perfectly arranged pile of other copybooks, that’s alright. Sometimes a mess works better. Take a cup of tea or a bottle of water with you in case you may get thirsty. Nevertheless, you should always keep your table clean from crumbs, candy wrappers, pencil shavings and so on. Store them somewhere else if you really can’t go without them. Even if you think they don’t distract you much, your teacher won’t be very happy to open the copybook with crumbs of your favorite cookies.

Tip #2 Try to Isolate Yourself from Irritating Sounds

If you have your favorite music for studying and good headphones, you are literally saved from anyone or anything making efforts to distract you. However, don’t neglect your nearest and dearest, because sometimes there might be a really important reason they do it. Anyway, music is quite an effective remedy for putting up with your neighbor who has chosen this very time to fix something outside his house with a drill, for example. On the other hand, the sounds you don’t like, including music, as well as loud talks can distract you much more than you think. In this case buy god soft ear plugs, so that you could work comfortably with them.


Tip #3 Make a List of Your Home Assignments

Notebook and Pen

Arrange the tasks in the order from the most difficult to the easiest one. You can also group them according to the subjects or days of the week. Plan carefully when you will do them. If possible, write an approximate amount of time you need for each assignment. If you have a big project to do, divide it into several stages. Set a goal for each stage. For instance, note that you must find the materials on Saturday and ask your teacher some questions concerning them on Monday. It is easier to focus on those things you have planned to do than on the chaos of tasks. Mark the task you have completed with a thick cross or whatever you like.

Tip #4 Refuse from Checking Your Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Whatever Every 5 Minutes

Nowadays the Internet is a real helper for any home task you’ve got. However, it is also the most powerful distracting factor. Let’s stop and think for a while. In case something vitally important happens, your best friend will definitely call you, but not text to you. You won’t die if you check who has liked your photo after you finish writing your summary and not during this process. Don’t wait for the materials your teacher has promised to send you chatting with your group mates. Make another assignment instead.  Of course, this all doesn’t mean you must delete all your accounts and dive into your homework. Just block the notifications and choose mute mode on your gadgets. You can reply to all messages and check all notifications after you are done with one of the tasks. Let it be some kind of reward for your work.

Tip #5 Make Reasonable Breaks

Actually, distraction means that your brain is either tired the work you are making it do or it is simply unwilling to do it. Switch to something else but don’t reach for your mobile phone at once. Do some exercises, go out and take the air if the weather is fine and it’s not late, just go the kitchen and have a snack. Make short breaks between the stages of big difficult tasks, and have some longer rest after each assignment you are done with. You can even have a nap if you feel you need to.

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