TFW you can't focus 🤦🏾♂️
You’re not alone. A 2020 study by Barnes & Noble Education found that more than half of students (64%) expressed concern over maintaining focus.
If you want to know how to stay focused while studying online, use these tried and tested tips to get back on track in no time.
1. Try a mindfulness walk or exercise
A Harvard study found that people spend 46.9% of the day thinking about something other than the task(s) they committed to.
Do you find that when you're studying, you're thinking about something else altogether?
2. Work around your distractions
First, do a brain dump of your frequent distractions. Things like:
Music with lyrics
Texting with your friend
Scrolling through feeds
Then, make a plan to convert these distractions into a strategy to focus.
❌ Can’t stop singing to your new favourite album?
✔️ Schedule time to listen after a block of studying time.
❌ Still need music to focus?
✔️ Make a playlist of your favourite genre with no lyrics — classical or lo-fi beats are recommended!
3. Make the most of your device’s accessibility features
Have you explored all of your device’s focus-friendly features?
Browser extensions such as website blockers and personalized home pages can help you stay on track. You can even save a whole session of your browser tab rabbit hole for later.
4. Have a reward system
Have you heard of the Pomodoro method?
The Rumie community on Discord uses this timed method of staying on task with an automated Pomodoro bot, but you can also use any timer you have on hand. The method alternates both studying and short breaks to make exam prep more manageable.
The best part? You can build rewards right into your study plan!
This means that during Pomodoro breaks you (finally) get to:
Go online shopping
Take a nature walk
Listen to that new song you’ve been putting off
Have a TikTok session
Time to try it for yourself 🙂
Here are the steps to the Pomodoro method:
📝 Choose a study topic
⏱️ Study for 25 minutes
🚨 Take a 5-minute break after the alarm goes off
⏱️ Repeat this schedule 3 more times
🎮 Take a longer 30-minute break
⏱️ Then, start again!
While studying, you remember that you want a new pair of sneakers. What should you do?
5. Rewatching a lesson? Try a fidget activity
You may be thinking: wouldn't fidgeting be more distracting?
Not necessarily. Similar to any physical activity, fidgeting increases activity in the brain. Mind-body connection expert John Ratey, M.D. even encourages patients to see movement as a power generator for memory, focus, and productivity.
Ready to make fidgeting a practice? Try any activity to keep you busy with your hands, like:
🌈 multicolour pens
👐🏿 focus cube
6. Join a structured online study group — or start your own!
A study done by The American Society for Training and Development revealed that your chance of successfully reaching a goal rises to 95% when you commit to a recurring appointment with an accountability partner.
Some call this co-working, and in the ADHD community, this is often called body doubling.
What is body doubling?
A body doubling session is when two or more people work together to focus on any task (work, chores, errands, studying etc.) for an agreed length of time.
Why should I study with someone?
Not only will peers cheer you on to the finish line, but the mirroring effect of working together gives you a shared sense of structure that motivates folks to concentrate on the task.
How does body doubling work?
You meet with one or more people in person or on a virtual platform to work together in sprints.
You begin with each person stating their task(s) verbally or in a chat function.
Together, everyone tries to complete their task(s) by the end of the work sprint.
At the end, you discuss your wins and strategies to improve 🙌
Who can I body double with?
Friend(s), family, student peers or a virtual group.
Next time you lose focus while studying online, you can: