Abbey Knize is a senior majoring in intradisciplinary psychology. During the school year you can find her waiting in the Starbucks line at the Illini Union Bookstore. In her free time she enjoys listening to Amy Winehouse and reading fiction novels.
Do you sometimes find it hard to focus on school work? If so, what makes focusing difficult?
For me, it makes it hard to focus when I try to juggle too many things at once. I am currently working on trying to focus on one thing at a time, rather than getting overwhelmed thinking about all of my responsibilities at once.
What helps you focus?
I have found that I focus much better at certain times of the day. I do believe that a person's prime focusing time varies from person to person, and I have noticed that I focus much better at the beginning of the day or the first half of the day. For this reason, I make a conscious effort to pull out my schoolwork at this time each day to take advantage of my heightened focus at this time. It also helps me immensely when I turn my phone on do not disturb because my phone can be a great distraction for me—and most people, I would say.
Where do you go to focus? Why?
I focus much more effectively when I am outside of my home. If I do schoolwork in my apartment, I be sure to never do it in my room. This is because it has proven that productivity happens much more when you do not mix your relaxation environment (i.e. your bedroom, bed) with the environment that you get work done.
Any advice for other students that find focusing difficult?
My advice would first and foremost be to put your phone away when you want to get any kind of work done. Every time you divert your attention to something other than your schoolwork (even if it were to be for just a second), it takes approximately 15-20 minutes for the brain to fully return back to its original productivity state. I also think it is important to figure out what time you are most productive and use that knowledge to your advantage. Lastly, I believe it is imperative that we try our best to not overwhelm ourselves more than necessary. Meaning, it is important to take things one step at a time and not get ahead of ourselves because this will only set us back further.