Increasing Focus and Limiting Distractions

Sep 12, 2018

The distractions we face every day can decrease our productivity and increase our stress. With a combination of the right mindset and the right tools, it’s possible to create a mental and physical environment that fosters focus. In this blog post, we share some tips for setting up a productive, distraction-free work space so you will be better prepared for academic and professional success.

Create a dedicated work/study space

It isn’t always possible, but if you can, set up an area dedicated to work or study. A space tailored to the task will help separate your academic and personal responsibilities and will help you switch into “study” or “work” mode faster. If you always work in a specific area, you will start to associate that space with productive thoughts. And, if you live with others, it will signal to them that you are unavailable when you’re in the space. Limiting your workspace will help you take breaks; you’ll know that you’re “allowed” time off.

If you can’t get away from distractions, try using a good set of noise-reducing or noise-cancelling headphones. These will help tune out anything that would otherwise grab your attention if you can’t be in a dedicated quiet space. You can even get headphones that produce white noise for added concentration assistance.

Make use of gadgets and technology

Your phone and social media can be big distractors. Disabling your internet connection or having someone else be in charge of your phone might work but aren’t doable for most people. More realistically, apps such as Offtime and Flipd allow you to lock your phone for set durations, preventing you from accessing social media so you won’t be tempted to check and scroll. Being forced out of distracting apps will allow you to focus on studying.

If you perform better with a timer, the Pomodoro Technique is a popular method for focusing in short bursts with regular breaks. You can pick a kitchen timer up from anywhere that sells kitchen supplies to limit being tempted by checking your phone.

Plan your schedule

Try to schedule your professional and personal tasks in one calendar to avoid conflicting responsibilities. Block off specific study or work hours to stay on track and don’t be afraid to say “no” if you need to. When you’re working, remember to take breaks so you don’t lose focus. Give yourself something to look forward to so you stay motivated.