Writing Challenge: March 16, 2018
Prompt: How do you focus?
I struggle to sit down and do homework. It’s boring, unpleasant, and has the added factor of being required. Once upon a time, I was proactive when it came to homework and studying, but as school dragged on and on and on…. My proactivity died, and my procrastination grew. Focusing became a greater problem than ever.
How do I focus?
I have to strike while the iron is hot. I either have to be down to the wire on a due-date, or feel particularly inspired to complete my work. Planning on studying usually results in planning on tasks to distract me from studying.
- I find a “space”. Usually, I concentrate best at school, as I cannot distract myself by doing chores instead of homework. If I am at home I make it a point to study on a tea-tray table on my couch in the living room. When I was in the Education program we discussed the importance of having a studying routine to enhance learning and retention. Psychologically, it makes sense, so I give it a try.
- I break-up tasks. I tell myself to work on ONE part of ONE project at a time, otherwise I flip-flop between several and quickly give up on all of them. Breaking things up really helps me “get it done”. For example: when doing a research paper I will first gather research. A few days later I will review the research and eliminate the irrelevant. Over the next few days I will study the research and pull information. The next days I will categorize my research into points and topic. Next I will create an outline for my paper. Then I will actually start to write the paper. Doing the essay step-by-step I can keep track of my progress and feel accomplished after completing each task.
- I give myself breaks when necessary. If I am getting frustrated, or not retaining any information, or feeling overwhelmed and anxious- I take a break. Sometimes this means just five minutes to check Facebook, and sometimes its putting away the project for a day and coming back to it when I’m less of a mess. I’ve learned from experience that forcing myself to work in those circumstances isn’t just unproductive, but counterproductive, so if I need to walk away- I do it.
Of course, this is how I focus and “get shit done”. These are the strategies that I have personally developed for myself over 18 years of education. I understand that these steps, tips, strategies don’t work for everyone, but they have been working for me.