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I finished my first year at university and I found that I really have trouble focusing. I know the tricks of limiting distractions, but even in an empty room my mind is always running and thinking about so many things. What tips and strategies can I use to focus in on the current task.


I'm reading/studying a textbook. I'm reading, but my mind is worried or thinking about something totally different [hobbies, stressors, to dos]. I want to be 100% engage in the reading to get the most out of my time studying. How do I get in a focused mindset?


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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Have you tried the Pomodoro Technique? Some people find that limiting your next bout of activity to 25 minutes (with a timer) allows the mind to relax and just focus on the current task. Knowing that you only have to stay with it for 25 minutes makes it much easier to focus.

There are several good (free or cheap) pomodoro timer apps for phones, tablets, computers, and in the browser.

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  • Break your goals/study into smaller tasks, which you can spend less time doing. Doing something is better than nothing, so spending 15 minutes studying for example then resting is better than not doing any, and focusing for 15 minutes is easier than trying to focus for several hours.
  • Set goals for each period of study, reward yourself.
  • Keep a list of what you have achieved, review and give yourself recognition of your achievements no matter large or small.
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