Having the ability to focus on one task at a time can actually make you more productive than when you attempt to multitask. When you focus on a single task, you will feel less frazzled and you will feel a sense of accomplishment as items are steadily crossed off your to-do list. However, our culture has made it difficult to focus on anything for a long period of time. Notifications, phone calls, and other interruptions constantly demand our attention and draw us away from the task at hand. Here are three ways you can reclaim focus and accomplish one thing at a time.
1) Reduce Screen Time
Devices can make it very difficult to focus on a single task. It can be easy to want to browse the Internet, check emails, or write a post on Facebook rather than give attention to the task that needs to be completed. Try to minimize your access to distractions. If you need your computer or device, turn off any notifications that might demand your attention.
The Muse also suggests eliminating screen time from the first and last hour of your day. Taking these times to prepare for the day and relax and unwind can help you have more focus throughout the day. It is easy to set aside these moments so that the incessant draw of social media or Internet surfing will not distract you.
2) Use a Timer
A timer can help you stay focused on a single task for a specific period of time. It allows you to be more focused because you see an end in sight. Your mind knows it will only need to do this single task for a fixed amount of time. Breaks are ok and necessary to help you stay focused, but timers can also be helpful in keeping you on track when you take a break. You can set a timer for 5-10 minutes for checking email, looking at Facebook or going for a quick walk. When the timer goes off you can get back to work without getting lost in hours of clicking on links or posting on social media. If you are studying for the SAT, here is an example of how using a timer could work:
~Set a timer to focus on vocabulary flashcards for 20 minutes.
~Set a timer for 5 minutes to grab a snack.
~Set the timer for 25 minutes to work on math problems.
~Set the timer for 10 minutes to check Facebook.
Timers are great to use as reward systems and to manage time spent on breaks and subject matter. Make a plan for using your timer and stick to it.
Mental stamina takes practice. It can be hard to focus for a long time, when you haven’t exercised the parts of your brain that allow you to focus. You can start practicing staying focused for longer and longer periods of time. Start with reading an interesting magazine article all the way through. You can also read novels you enjoy. Work up to staying focused on more difficult material. Taking timed practice SAT exams will also help your brain learn how to concentrate for long periods of time. The more time you spend focused on one thing, the easier it will become to give all of your concentration to a single task.
Focus is Helpful in All Areas of Life
These three things can help you focus and be more efficient at studying for major exams, as well as helping you stay more focused during the exam. These tips can also help you complete homework efficiently and retain more information as you do it.
Focusing on a single task is a skill that will continue to be helpful throughout life. Business Insider cites a study that found employees who are able to focus on one task at a time are more engaged with their jobs and more satisfied with their work.
How will you start focusing on a single task? What study plans do you have in place so that you will not be overwhelmed with multitasking?
Mr. Test Prep strives to prepare students with his San Jose SAT Prep program. When students engage in his San Jose SAT Prep program their scores reflect the hard work and dedication put forth. Call Mr. Test Prep today and be prepared!