Often, as I have been working on one project or another, my mind has drifted away, and distraction has made it hard to pay attention to the work and finish it by the specified time. Over the last few years, however, I have found a few different ways to help myself focus when I am having difficulty.
One way is, as you may have heard many times, playing music in the background. However, you may not be aware that in order for it to really do any good, it has been suggested in experiments conducted by researchers in Canada and Japan that up-tempo music played at a medium volume can be more effective than that of a lower tempo and higher volume.
Another way is by using internet programs and phone apps that are able to block certain websites from being opened. These can be helpful if you tend to get distracted by YouTube, Netflix, videogames, or some other internet based website. A good example of this type of program would be Cold Turkey, which can be downloaded to your computer. This program can block any website for a specified time, and after the time has been set it will stay that way until the time has passed.
Taking breaks can also help, even if it seems that it may actually be causing more trouble. After working on the same project for hours on end, you are going to lose focus whether you want to or not, but a specifically planned break can give you some time to yourself, and give you a specific time for when to go back. Decide on what to do, it can be anything from going to eat or get a snack, to watching an episode of your favorite TV show, to going on a walk, to just putting on an alarm and laying on your bed for a while. Then, when your brain is all rested, you can go back to your work refreshed.
A fourth possible way is make a to-do list. It may be something that you already do, and you find it does not work, but there are more than one way to create a list. One way is just putting the main projects and crossing them off, however, almost all tasks can be broken down into smaller steps. For example, on a list of homework you can just put “write a paper,” or you could break it down, “make outline,” “make introduction paragraph,” “make body paragraphs,” “make conclusion paragraph,” “edit paper.” Breaking down a task can help you to figure out how much work there really is.
There are other ways that may help you work if these don’t, and they too can be Googled for discovery. These, however, are the ways that I have found work for me. If you have found ways that tend to be more effective for you, go ahead and comment on them below.
Blog submitted by Rachel Torre, a recent high school graduate and youth volunteer from Youth Volunteer Corps of Kansas City.