Concentrating on the subject at hand is necessary for learning. We all think we can multitask, but multitasking is a myth when it comes to learning new material. When you study, when you’re in class, be sure that your focus is on the task at hand. Turn off your phone and put it away – you’ll be shocked at how much you miss just by checking your messages or sending/receiving a brief text.
Unless there’s a class-related reason to have your electronic devices out and on, you should put them away so they don’t become a distraction to you or to others. If you must use your laptop, be sure to only open those windows that are necessary to the task at hand.
If you’ve prepared for class well, you should have an idea of what the lesson will be about and that will help you identify and record the most important points. It should also help you to maintain your focus on the lesson! If you find your mind wandering, learn how to bring yourself back into the moment and back on task.
When studying, know the limits to your concentration and don’t push yourself too far beyond them. When you settle in to study, set a timer and then dive into the material. Spend as long as you’re able, working on a particular subject. When you find your mind start to wander, try to pull yourself back into the material. At some point, that will become more and more difficult. When you reach this point, check your timer. Allow yourself a short break – take a walk, visit the restroom, check your messages, chat with friends. Then set your timer and get back to work. Again, when you feel your mind wander and struggle to maintain your focus, check your timer. For most students, this second round of studying will be shorter than the first. Take another break before you start in again.