With school starting and assignments rolling in fast, I have noticed my attention span lacking. If you are in the same boat, finding it hard to maintain focus during even short and simple tasks, then this post is for you.
Personally, I find myself doing anything and everything but what needs to be done. Even though I know that I am capable of completing the assignment and doing it well, I can’t seem to keep my eyes on the work. Not only does this leave me unproductive and stressed, but it makes me feel very out of control. To know I could do much better and for some reason not truly be capable of doing it is one of the biggest struggles I have had lately.
As someone who has just recently had an encounter with this issue, it’s taken some trial and error to find what works for me. Below are only a few of the various ways to keep your thoughts organized and executed that I hope can help you the way they help me.
Listening to music, white noise, nature sounds, etc.
Having background noise or music may allow your brain to relax and zone in on one thing at a time. When our brain is at ease, it becomes easier to mainstream energy to a certain task because we are not concerned with a million other concepts. If noise doesn’t work, it may also help to have earplugs to avoid any distractions at all. Not everyone is the same, so what works for someone else may not work for you. That’s normal! It’s all about what methods can help you.
Making a to-do list
Organizing all of the things that need to be done can help get our priorities in order, and in turn help us feel less overwhelmed or prone to procrastinate due to stress. Allotting time for each task may keep you on schedule. Don’t expect to be able to sit down and complete a three day long assignment in an hour. It’s ok to take breaks when you need them, and be sure to keep your mental health in check before pushing yourself past a limit. If you do not have many tasks that need to be done, it may also help to break the bigger assignment down into smaller parts to be completed at different points in the day. For example, when writing an essay you could write up an outline on day one, find exact details on day two, and execute these notes on day three.
Having something to fidget with
When I am doing a lot of work at once, I usually find myself clicking a pen or fidgeting with my hair, etc. This might not be of assistance during class, as it may be seen as a distraction, but it really helps me channel my thoughts and get them into words when I am at home. It also prevents me from checking my phone continuously which almost always leads to a big delay in time from on-screen distractions.
Finding the root of distraction
At times when my mind is constantly wandering away and has lots of thoughts running around, it is sometimes caused by anxiety. If I am overwhelmed or stressed with a lot on my plate, it becomes hard to focus because I am so worried about everything else that needs to get done. Talking it out with someone I trust or even organizing due dates and timing schedules allows me to look at everything in front of me and decide what to look at now or later. I find that this often helps me from drowning in things to do.
It’s perfectly ok and normal to not be on your “A-game 24/7. And, even when it seems like the end of the world if that essay doesn’t get done right that minute, you are still a good, reliable person. Sometimes, all we need is a break or a deep breath, and that’s completely understandable. It is not only physical work but also school and a job that can be mentally draining, and knowing how far you can push yourself is important. Understand your limits and learn what works for you.