We all know how it goes. You sit down at your desk, open your subject guide and tell yourself, “I am going to do all my readings, write that assignment, and update my notes today. I am going to be so productive!” Then you turn to your laptop and see that Facebook is open, and somehow the next 50 minutes disappear.
In the absence of strange smelling herbal teas and fish oil tablets, what are some things you can do to help improve your concentration?
Make a Plan
If you want to stay on track, you have to plan to stay on track. We all know this one, and maybe it is just me, but I really only do it when I’m in an organisational crisis. Make planning your day or your week part of your routine and you’ll be able to concentrate better as your mind isn’t always wondering what your next move is because you already decided that.
Study in Daylight
I used to swear that I would study better at night time, that at around 8pm my ability to read case notes vastly improved. In truth, studying in daylight is more effective AND it makes you happier, knowing at 8pm that you have ticked the boxes of your to-do list and there’s nothing left to do but relax.
Eliminating distractions is the best way to improve your concentration. Close those unnecessary tabs, turn your phone off – it is hardly ever urgent. Turn off the music; there’ll be no music playing during the exam!
Find somewhere quiet and relatively distraction-free to study. Libraries are usually the best. The bed should never be your go-to option!
Eating too much means your body has to work harder to digest it, and you end up feeling uncomfortable and sleepy, which isn’t great for your concentration levels. Eating light and healthy meals will combat this and help you to get the most out of your study days.
I think this is everyone’s favourite time of a study day. But before you take a break, set yourself an amount of time and stick to it! Otherwise, it’s very easy for 20 minutes to turn into two hours. Make sure you change environments during your break; don’t take a 20-minute Facebook break at your desk as staying in the same environment all day will drive you crazy!
Some Other ways to Improve Concentration
There are of course plenty of ways to improve concentration. Some people schedule appointments to attend at the end of their study sessions so they finish their work faster and with less mind wandering than if they spent the whole day at home. Other students go for a run to clear their head when they feel their brain can’t handle any more information. If you’re stuck on a really dull topic, sometimes reminding yourself what all this study relates back to can make you feel more interested, or imagining that you’re advising a friend with this legal problem instead of a hypothetical client called “A” could help you to feel more focused.
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