STUDY SKILLS HANDBOOK – BUILDING CONCENTRATION SKILLS
Many students find it difficult to concentrate and stay focused when they are doing their schoolwork at home. So what can we do to improve concentration levels? Try these top tips:
- IMPROVE THE ENVIRONMENT: Have a good hard look at the environment you are trying to concentrate in. Is it noisy? Are there more exciting things happening around you? Is it too hot? Too cold? Are you uncomfortable? Too comfortable? What can you do to make the space more conducive to concentration?
- BLOCKS OF TIME: If you are someone who finds it difficult to concentrate at home don’t try and study for too long at a time. Instead tell yourself you will work for 20-30 minutes then you can have a break. If you know it is only 20-30 minutes it is much easier to concentrate than if it was for an indefinite period of time.
- ANCHOR TO THE PRESENT: Create a focus word that brings you back on task. We all daydream. The key is to start to pay more attention to when you are doing it and then immediately take action. If your key word for example was ‘orange’ when you notice you are day-dreaming say ‘orange orange orange’ to refocus your attention to your work.
- RESET THE BRAIN: Sometimes you just need a time-out from what you are doing in order to be able to concentrate again. If your attention is constantly wandering, then get up and have a drink, walk outside, kick a ball – just take 5 to 10 minutes to clear your head so you can come back fresh to your work.
- WORK OUT PEAK TIMES: Start to pay attention to what time of the day you are most focused. That’s when you need to do the harder work or the work that requires greatest concentration. If you know you get tired after dinner don’t leave the difficult work until then.
- CARROT AND STICK: Some people are motivated by working towards rewards, others by avoiding punishments. Give yourself a target time to focus with a little reward at the end if you achieve it – or maybe a little punishment if you don’t!
You can learn more about how to be a more effective student at www.studyskillshandbook.com.au by logging in with the details below and working through some of the units. There are also lots of useful grids and planners at the bottom of the Things to Print page.
Sandra Duggan (Ms)
Director of Academic Programs