How do you focus on homework and studying?

piatti

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 9, 2010
817
0
USA
I find it very hard to focus on homework and keep putting it off and do a horrible job.
 

chrono1081

macrumors 604
Jan 26, 2008
7,544
1,460
Isla Nublar
I find it very hard to focus on homework and keep putting it off and do a horrible job.
I am the same way, my attention span is measured in seconds. It really is very frustrating.

Something that helps is sign out of everything that distracts you (for me its Facebook, MacRumors, and Digital Tutors). You will catch yourself subconsciously going to these sites (at least I do) and when you see that login screen you'll remember to get back to work.

Thats just the start. Once you do that, keep trying to stay off of your distractions for longer periods of time. Reward yourself though and take breaks. Eventually start lengthening the time between your breaks and you'll find your attention span slowly returning.

It sucks, its REALLY hard at first, but eventually you'll be able to concentrate longer for longer periods of time.
 

NZed

macrumors 65816
Jan 24, 2011
1,136
0
Canada, Eh?
I think about my future and how if i dont do my homework, i would not understand what im learning or about half the thing i learning, and fail the subject, fail to get into a university or college, and end up in macdonalds cashier.
 

miles01110

macrumors Core
Jul 24, 2006
19,264
30
The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
I think about my future and how if i dont do my homework, i would not understand what im learning or about half the thing i learning, and fail the subject, fail to get into a university or college, and end up in macdonalds cashier.
Seems like a pretty good strategy to me. Later on in the workplace (if you get that far) procrastinating is just as likely to get you fired than not, so it's best to start learning good habits now.
 

stridemat

Moderator
Staff member
Apr 2, 2008
10,993
590
UK
I use full screen applications so I don't get distracted by other things on my screen.
 

malman89

macrumors 68000
May 29, 2011
1,651
6
Michigan
If you really have no self control, there's actually "an app for that." Google it. SelfControl. You can blacklist certain sites (Facebook, Youtube, etc.) for a set period of time only resettable by the time running out or a full system restart, I believe.

That way you can use the internet for things you need (school sites, Wiki, whatever) but not the nonsense.
 

snberk103

macrumors 603
Oct 22, 2007
5,539
87
An Island in the Salish Sea
Learning how to study and finish homework is way more valuable than learning any particular subject matter at this time. It's not easy to learn, but there are some great resources how learning how to study. Start with your school.

The ability to put your ass in chair, and keep it there for a few hours while concentrating on getting a task done, could be the single most important thing you can learn to do. It will make anything else you want to learn easy.

Get rid of distractions. FB etc are all obvious ones mentioned. Visual was mentioned.... but this also includes the desk and the wall behind the monitor. What you see as you concentrate should be calm and un-distracting. When I work I need to have music on.... I like guitar based quiet jazz - no vocals! - so that I don't hear what else is going on in the house. I have about 6 CDs worth of songs that I shuffle through. They are all familiar, but there are enough of them that they don't get boring.

I have to turn my e-mail off..... I can't hear that 'bing' and not check.

Give yourself an easily managed goal - say, 15 minutes of uninterrupted and productive studying. Make the goal ridiculously easy. And reward yourself for doing it. Then start lengthening that time a little bit a week. The reward is critical! Be tough with yourself though. If you don't meet the goal, no reward. If you have family that understand and will be supportive, get them involved... the reward from them will seem 'bigger'.

In less time than you think, you will have - as my father called it - "ass-power" .... the ability to put your ass in chair and keep it there until the job is done. It one of his traits that I most admired... and wish I had.

Good Luck.
 

tktaylor1

macrumors 6502a
Feb 16, 2010
788
0
Nashville, TN
Honestly, I have to use adderall or ritalin. I will probably get down votes for this but its what I have to use and it works for me. Otherwise I can't focus for more than 5 minutes. If I have any reading, my attention span lasts for about half a page and I zone out.

Don't get me wrong, I am not addicted to any of these and I don't take them every day. I only take them while I am studying for major tests, not for everyday studying.
 

velocityg4

macrumors 601
Dec 19, 2004
4,654
1,197
Georgia
What I did was plant my butt in the school library and do all my homework and studying. Nothing beats having no option but to study. Also my courses where scheduled so I'd have two or three hours breaks between classes. Sometimes up to six. The key being having the breaks to short to want to walk to your car, drive home, drive back and find another space but long enough to complete assignments and get into the groove of studying.

This got me into the habit of doing all work as soon as possible. Even have time to read all the examples, make notes, &c. The end result was I went from missing assignments and barely passing to getting every single thing done and an A in every class every semester. Also with doing everything and studying so much you will find you participate much more in class.

I think studying at home is the worse idea. There are just too many distractions. You can watch TV, listen to music, futz about on the computer, clean, yap on the phone and anything else you can think of to waste time.

Also avoid study groups as they just become another distraction. There will also be a brains of the group that really does and understands everything. You'll get your work done but not understand when it comes to test time. Though for me I usually ended up being the answer guy and everyone else did poorly at test time.

The rare exception to the study group being a detriment is learning a foreign language. As you get practice speaking and listening to the foreign tongue.

When done studying I'd pick up a book and read it in the library. Hiding it somewhere deep in the statistics area of the reference section so I could continue it whenever done studying:D.

Oh and don't bring a computer with you to the library and turn off (not silence) your phone in the library.

Edit: Also don't plan your schedule with a friend or carpool. This will end up providing excuses to goof off.
 

piatti

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 9, 2010
817
0
USA
Thank you everybody.

velocity, when u say u pick up a book do u mean just a random book that catches ur interest?
 

Daffodil

macrumors 6502
Jun 7, 2011
329
1
In a sunny state of mind
I think about my future and how if i dont do my homework, i would not understand what im learning or about half the thing i learning, and fail the subject, fail to get into a university or college, and end up in macdonalds cashier.
That's pretty intense! :eek: But if it works...

Honestly, I have to use adderall or ritalin. I will probably get down votes for this but its what I have to use and it works for me. Otherwise I can't focus for more than 5 minutes. If I have any reading, my attention span lasts for about half a page and I zone out.

Don't get me wrong, I am not addicted to any of these and I don't take them every day. I only take them while I am studying for major tests, not for everyday studying.
Gonna try hard not to bash, but I'm curious... What's your long-term strategy here? Go through life relying on pills to keep your attention? Pretty much any job requires some degree of focus, so what about when it's not "major tests" but everyday life? Acquiring better study habits is hard, but like others have said, it definitely is possible, as long as you're willing to make an effort.

(If you have a prescription and a legitimate medical reason, ignore all of this, but from your phrasing that seemed improbable...)
 

cambookpro

macrumors 603
Feb 3, 2010
6,446
1,885
United Kingdom
I just try to buckle down and do it. It's all physiological. Once you're a quarter of an hour into a task, it gets easier. I also play music quietly and sip some water as that seems to help. Don't know why!
 

anjinha

macrumors 604
Oct 21, 2006
7,271
62
San Francisco, CA
I use a checklist with different tasks that I have to accomplish. That helps me not only visualize exactly what I have to do but also my progress.
 

kolax

macrumors G3
Mar 20, 2007
9,194
115
Cups of tea and regular breaks worked for me.

When I had to study for exams back at uni, I'd study with just one friend in silence at the library. We'd study for about 30-55 minutes, then go have a cup of tea and some fresh air, and most of the time we'd talk about what we just studied/how to understand it. Then crack on with another 30 minutes followed by another break.

But during that 30-55 minutes of study, I had Facebook open and generally didn't focus a lot. It was only during the tea breaks with my friend when we talked about what we had just studied that my brain seemed to work.

Study cards/quizzes are great too, if you have a non-time waster friend who'd be willing to do them too.
 

tktaylor1

macrumors 6502a
Feb 16, 2010
788
0
Nashville, TN
Gonna try hard not to bash, but I'm curious... What's your long-term strategy here? Go through life relying on pills to keep your attention? Pretty much any job requires some degree of focus, so what about when it's not "major tests" but everyday life? Acquiring better study habits is hard, but like others have said, it definitely is possible, as long as you're willing to make an effort.

(If you have a prescription and a legitimate medical reason, ignore all of this, but from your phrasing that seemed improbable...)
I can focus on everyday tasks like class and my job but when it comes to sitting down to focus on something such as studying I just can't do it. I don't know if it is a psychological thing but I zone out within 5-10 minutes. The classes I am taking right now require me to know a lot of information for a test and if I wait to study within a week of the test then I have to take something to help me focus for long periods of time. Since my midterms ended I am trying a new study technique where I study the material we went over the day after and study a little bit everyday until the test comes. I haven't successfully found a study technique that works for me yet but taking the adderall does help me to sit and focus for 4+ hours without even thinking about anything else. I also retain the information better. I want to go take an ADHD test just to see if I have any signs of it or not but haven't gotten around to it.
 

rhett7660

macrumors G5
Jan 9, 2008
12,279
2,277
Sunny, Southern California
For me, when I need to concentrate, Red Bull helps me. I don't know what it is, but for some reason, it helps me maintain and stay focused. Probably not the best thing for me but man it works for me.

Probably what you didn't want to hear but this is what works for me.
 

dukebound85

macrumors P6
Jul 17, 2005
18,113
1,269
5045 feet above sea level
For me, when I need to concentrate, Red Bull helps me. I don't know what it is, but for some reason, it helps me maintain and stay focused. Probably not the best thing for me but man it works for me.

Probably what you didn't want to hear but this is what works for me.
You sure it works? for the better that is? LOL
http://www.trinity.edu/jdunn/spiderdrugs.htm

I am the same way though lol
 

chrono1081

macrumors 604
Jan 26, 2008
7,544
1,460
Isla Nublar
If you really have no self control, there's actually "an app for that." Google it. SelfControl. You can blacklist certain sites (Facebook, Youtube, etc.) for a set period of time only resettable by the time running out or a full system restart, I believe.

That way you can use the internet for things you need (school sites, Wiki, whatever) but not the nonsense.
That app sounds great! I'm going to look for it.

Also it isn't so much as no self control, its more of a "no matter how hard I concentrate my mind shoots elsewhere".

For me turning off the computer isn't an option since all my work is done on a computer. I'm either programming, working on 3D models, wading through developer documentation, watching training videos, or, while at work. Fixing servers and desktops and running all kinds of hardware/software tests on various machines.

My work doesn't help my attention span by any means since I'm constantly bouncing from one thing to another.