Focused or Unfocused
Last time we discussed how to approach a new subject. This time I will discuss with you another problem which I faced in my studies and tried to overcome. It is “How to be focused“. But you will notice that title of this post is not how to be focused rather “Focused or Unfocused“. It’s because, I discovered during my efforts to be focused that, if you need to be focused, being unfocused is also important. Yes, I am not kidding. Being unfocused at appropriate times will help you remain focused during crucial times.
There are students who are by nature very focused about their studies and can sit for hours with books. If you are one of those students, I will congratulate you becuase you don’t have one of the biggest hurdle in studies. If you have used any specific tool/trick/method for this, I invite you to share with us so that it can help everyone.
As I mentioned I believe your studies techniques have to be according to your nature. You can’t force yourself to study. You are what you are.
By nature, I face this problem of concentration or focus. I can focus very well on anything, but not for too long. By default all of us have attention span of 45 minutes, that’s why in schools periods are for 45 minutes and then you change it. But as we go for professional and hard studies, we need to find a solution to this. We can’t study just for 45 minutes. I also faced same problem. Some are able to increase thier attention span and sit for hours, but I was not able to. So I had to find out some method to study, these are what I used.
1. Short Term and Multiple Sessions:
Yes, I gave up on forcing myself for sitting for long time. I could not and was getting even more frustrated. I realized the target was not to sit long but to study. If I have allotted 2 Hrs. to one topic, I will start studying and get-up when I don’t feel like studying. I need to take care that I sit atleast half hour continuosly and get back again to studies within 5 minutes. So to summarize:
a. Try to sit as long as you can.
b. Get-up and take a break when you don’t feel like sitting any more.
c. Don’t force yourself if you don’t feel like sitting.
d. Ensure continous session is not less than half hour.
e. Also ensure break is not more than 5 minutes long.
As I mentioned at start, trick is to be focused and unfocused wisely. The time when you get unfocused will help you to focus. So these five minutes are to get relaxed and get your energies back. You can use these to listen music, talk someone at home, watch TV (but no serials please, these may be addictive and chances are you will stretch your break). I also used to keep one fiction or intersting book on side and read a page in this five minute break to get refresh. Whatever you do in this break, just remember:
a. It should refresh you, and
b. It should not go beyond five minutes.
2. Plan, plan and execute plan:
Yes, having proper study plan is vital for studies and more important for being focused. I faced a problem, whenever I was trying to study one subject, I was getting tense that there is another subject to be completed, time is less how will I. If I am reading topic A, I will get tense that I still need to complete topic B which is more difficult. This way I was not able to focus on what I was studying. The solution was to make a time-table/schedule/plan for studies. Plan should be subject wise, topic wise, day wise and hour wise. We will talk more about Planning and how to make effective time table seperately some other day.
For the time being, I will again emphasize the important of plan for remaining focused. If I have a plan in place and I am reading topic A according to plan, I don’t need to worry about topic B as I know that it will also be completed according to plan on proper day. Planning help you reduce pressure and thus improves your focus. So,
a. Make subject wise, topic wise, day wise and hour wise plan
b. Follow plan strictly and
c. While studying, focus on what’s in plan for now
While making plan remember you will take short breaks (point 1 above) and allocate time accordingly, but don’t allot time for breaks because breaks need to come naturaly when you feel like getting up not planned ones.
Plans are very important specially at the time of revision. Plan well.
3. Some Small things:
There are some small things I have used. May or may not help you. Use them wisely if these help you.
a. You can study some numerical subjects and solve sums alongwith music. Not too loud, gentle music. On one hand it will help you to keep pace and solve more quickly and on the other hand it will help you to avoid outside noise if its disturbing your attention.
b. If you are foody like me :), you can keep some snack to keep your attention at one place. Use this wisely or you might be overweight by the time exams are over. 🙂
c. If you are low, read some good book in between. Keep some good quotes at the place where you study. Read these when you feel low.
d. Switch between theory and numerical subjects, this might help you to keep studies interesting. Otherwise you might get bored with only theory or tired with only numerical. You can keep this in mind while making plan.
No one can deny, focus is essential to achieve anything in Life. Same is true for studies. You need decipline and you need to be strict with yourself. Follow your natural way, use these things if these help you. Share with us if you have some other methods to get focused. Again remember your strengths and admit your weaknesses. Find a way through these according to your nature.
Hope this helps you. Share with me what you feel and your methods.