How to Focus on Studying when You Have Too Many Responsibilities

July 08, 2018

The older you get, the harder it is to study. Not only your memory isn’t as sophisticated as when you were children, but your responsibility also increase. If you are high schooler or college students who happens not to be born with silver spoon, you probably have one (or more) part time job to help you cover the cost of your study (or saving for your future education). Even if you’re lucky enough to not need any part time job (yet), then you’re probably busy in extracurricular programs because you need to polish your CV for future use.

So, distraction increased as you get older. How do you get back your focus to study if that’s the case? Here some points from us for you.

1.    Put Studying Back on Your Top List

You may deny this for a moment. “What do you mean, put it back? It has always been on the top!”

But, has it? It’s easy for studying to slip down on your priority list because of a couple of reasons. First, it seems like it’s not urgent, compared to other things with closer deadline (like this month’s rent or this week’s first date with someone you’ve been crushing on for a long time). You feel like, there’s always tomorrow to study, the final test won’t be coming for at least three months anyway. Second, studying is not fun, so it’s easy to procrastinate on it. And if you’ve started procrastinating, you know that you’ll have thousands of reasons not to do it.
So, if you want to focus on your study, put it back on your top priority. Sure paying rent is important, but you can have two important things to do simultaneously. Just make sure one of them is studying.

2.    Eliminate or Delegatethe Unnecessary

What if you have difficulty in step 1 because you have too many important things? Then it’s time to eliminate some of them. List all of your current responsibilities, from studying, to part time work, to attending some clubs, to spending quality time with your friends, to doing laundry and cleaning your dorm.

Now, separate them into three part: the important, the urgent, and neither. The important part may only have three list, and your study should be one of them. You decide how the rest of them are sorted.

Then, take the neither part, and eliminate them from all of your plan. Hopefully forever, but if you can’t, then at least this week. If you still can’t delete or postpone them for a certain time, then think of a way to give those task to other people (for example, by calling your senior in the journalist club that always give you more task than necessary and say finally say no to him assigning you to cover a news).

3.    Build Supportive Environment

The power of environment is sometimes bigger than our own willpower. It’s hard to follow a low-carbs diet if you stock rice, bread, and cookies in your dorm room. Similarly, it’s hard to focus on studying if you’re surrounded by TV, music, or phone that won’t stop pinging from notification.

Focus more on your study by building a supportive environment on that. Find a place where there is no TV or music or probably even friends – if you’re that easily distracted. If you live alone, then studying at home can be the solution. However, it also depends on your studying style. Some people can actually fall asleep when they study at home, without anyone else to supervise.

The ideal study place that works for me is a quiet public place not too close to your school or campus (less chance to bump into someone who can pull you into hours-long conversation), like library or coffee shop. During that time, turn your phone off and hide it from your sight. Some people study better with music, but only choose songs without lyric, because lyric can be actually distracting.

4.    Set Aside Time

This step is easier said than done. Because, if you haven’t done the previous steps, you would think that you don’t have enough time in a day. However, if you have diligently eliminate or delegate your task except the absolute necessary (in which your study time is included), you will find yourself with enough time pocket to fill.

Now that you find you actually have time to study, it’s time to actually use it. For the first few times, treat the study time as sacred. It means, nothing can get in the way between you and your study time. Not your co-workers’ request to switch shift and not your peer group inviting you for pizza (yes, say no even to pizza). After several weeks, you’ll see studying as a routine, and it will take you less effort to start compared to today.

5.    Take One Way Commitment

If you’re a stubborn person, then maybe it’s time to take a harder approach. Take one way commitment to study, one that you can’t back up from so you’ll have no other choice to do it. The best commitment you can take on studying is to hire a tutor. Not only you will be less likely to skip the study session because you’ve already paid for it, but you actually get additional support from other people to study.

Moreover, by hiring a tutor, you can understand a subject faster, and therefore you can have extra time to study more material, or use that time to finish other duty you have. But, remember to use that extra time only after you’ve finished your tutoring session.

Distraction will always be there, and we suspect it will increasingly get worse in the following years, with the development of technology. However, you can still rely on your inner quality to stay focused in this very distracting environment, by following our advice. Do you have other advice we haven’t thought before to be more focused at school?

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