TIP #1: Eat a small snack.
Hunger is distracting, so the right snack can improve your focus. Our brains feed on glucose, but a sugary snack, like candy, isn't the best choice because those types of sugars are easy for the body to break down and your brain will quickly feel starved for energy again. Instead grab a healthy snack that combines sugar with fibre, like a piece of fruit. Your body will break these sugars down more slowly and feed your brain for longer.
TIP #2: Turn off your phone.
Most calls, texts and push notifications are not urgent and will destroy your focus. Ideally, turn off your phone completely or place it in another room. If you need your phone to help with your assignment, put it in airplane mode or do not disturb mode to minimize potential distractions.
TIP #3: Set a timer.
Most people can only focus for short periods of time, especially if the task is challenging and requires a lot of brain power. Try the Pomodoro Method to help you get more done in shorter periods of time. This method gets you to set a timer, work without interruption for 15-25 minutes and then take a short break of about 5-10 minutes. During the break, do something to give your brain and body a rest from that focused work. Get up and move around or stretch. Walk away from any screens. Get a glass of water or a light snack. When the break is over, go back to work for another short, focused period.
TIP #4: Sit in a comfortable chair.
Sit up straight, make sure your feet can touch the floor and that you have everything you need within easy reach. Poor posture and constant reaching can trigger tension and pain in your body, especially in your neck, back and shoulders. These aches and pains are a distraction you can avoid with proper seating. Reduce muscular tension further by taking regular breaks that allow you to stretch and move your body.
TIP #5: Shut off anything you are not using.
Your TV, phone, computer, etc. will only distract you if you are not using them to help you study. Turn them off and focus on the task at hand. You can reward yourself with some video games, binge watching or social media scrolling when you are done.
TIP #6: Clear your desk.
Clutter is distracting. Keep out only what you need to complete your assignment. It will make it easier to focus, but it will also make it easier to find what you need when you need it, so you can finish faster.
TIP #7: Put on headphones.
Research shows that listening to the right type of music can help you stay focused. Noise cancelling headphones or music can help you minimize the impact of distracting background noises. Research has found that classical music, white noise and nature sounds are most effective because they have steady, often repetitive rhythms that your brain can tune out, allowing you to focus. Most types of music are fine to listen to provided that they don't tempt you in to dancing or singing along to your favourite songs when you should be studying. Making a playlist of good study tunes can help reduce distractions further because you won't lose focus by repeatedly stopping to choose new songs. The only types of music that should be avoided are heavy metal and hip hop. Research suggests that the rhythms of these genres are very stimulating to our brains, making it harder to focus on your work.
TIP #8: Make a to do list.
Make a short list of what you need to accomplish before you are done for the day. While having a running to do list of everything you need to get done is helpful, this type of list should be shorter, so you can focus on your priorities and get more done.