This article was written by our Everly Mag Intern, Chloe. Get to know Chloe and our other interns here!
Finals season is officially upon us, which means long nights studying, writing papers, or working of final projects. During this time, in spite of (and maybe because of) all the deadlines and time crunch you’re feeling, you just might have times when you’re completely unable to focus. Here are a few tips that might help you get into the right mindset to get work done!
Change up your environment
If you need to be in the mindset to focus, crafting the space around you could help.
- Clean up your desk and have your work materials front and center.
- Get some good lighting going.
- Throw a pillow on your chair.
- Have your favorite drink ready (I love my grapefruit sparkling water).
- Light a candle if you don’t live in a dorm. If you do, switch on an essential oil diffuser or a wax melter
Put on music, soundtracks usually work best so that you don’t get distracted by lyrics.
Your goal is to create a space to step into and say “When I’m in this space, I will do work.” If all else fails, pick yourself up and heading over to your nearest library or coffee shop.
Working in a group
The first thing you think to do when you’re stressed and have work piling up is to isolate yourself. This might work for some people, but for others, the opposite might be true! This finals season, instead of holing up in your room for 48 hours straight and still finding yourself distracted, try finding other people in the same situation. Everyone working and being focused together will help create an atmosphere of productivity! It’s also super relieving to know that other people are struggling just as much as you are. You are not alone!
Turn your phone off
I know, I know, you’re sick of hearing everyone telling you to get off your dang phone! The problem arises when your phone becomes the perfect storm for distracting yourself. When you kid yourself into believing that your checking your phone for a practical reasons, only to have it turn into a wasted hour of scrolling through the Instagram explore section. For some, having your phone off for too long can be a source of anxiety. Our phones are how we connect to the people we love, afterall. If that’s the case for you, try limiting your phone-off time to an hour. Once again, it’s all about creating an atmosphere of productivity. Make this hour your designated “get something done” hour.
Self-care! Take a break, exercise, eat something
If your focus still isn’t coming to you, take a second to think, “Have I taken care of myself today?” Maybe you’ve been putting off lunch in order to try and get work done, or maybe you haven’t had a break in a few hours. Not taking care of yourself can actually put a dent into your ability to focus.
- Take a moment for mindfulness. This is especially true if you find your thoughts spiraling or that you’re catastrophizing. This means that your thinking about what could go wrong is going from bad, to worse, to totally illogical. Using mindfulness, or taking a moment to ground yourself in the present rather than the future or the past, can help you focus on what you’re trying to accomplish right now.
- Exercise a little. You don’t need to go for a three mile jog, unless that’s what you’re into, but doing a little exercise can help you get focused. If you’re really anxious, you may be producing excess adrenaline that is making it hard to get focused on what’s in front of you. Exercising can help reduce this adrenaline.
- Eat something. Being hungry can totally affect your ability to focus. You may feel groggy or lightheaded. You may also be experiencing hunger pains that become the only thing you can pay attention to. Getting something in your stomach will help.
These are just a few tips to help with getting focused. Try and find what works best for you, everyone is different! Overall, take care of yourself and be reasonable about your self-expectations. If you’re really at your wits end, it never hurts to ask for an extension. You’d be surprised at how many empathetic teachers and professors there are out there that are willing to give you what you need to succeed.
Post a picture of your study set-up and tag us on Instagram. We’ll be sure to check them out!
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Featured Image Credit: Debby Hudson via Unsplash