Become More Focused to be More Productive: Productivity Distracters


How does your focus rob you from reaching a high level of productivity? Let’s explore.

It’s ten o’clock Tuesday night (or any night, you pick). Wanting to get enough sleep to attend the early morning clinical you have been assigned to, you decide to get to bed at a decent hour. Tucked into bed, your eyes are glued to the brightly lit screen. One more pass, scrolling mindlessly through your Facebook feed. Before you know it, an hour—maybe two—have passed. Fast forward to clinical the next morning and you are exhausted, not ready to tackle the day nor have the focus to learn.

How about another situation? Imagine this. You sit down motivated to start studying for the big final exam that will determine whether you pass the class. Checking your schedule, you’ve set aside three hours to dedicate to throwing yourself into your studies. Note cards positioned right above the pencil, a bottle of water and snack at the ready. Twenty minutes in, a ring disrupts the silence. Lucky for you, your friends just commented and liked your post, sparking a conversation that has you smiling ear to ear and laughing. Finally, you check the clock an hour and half have slipped passed without notice.

Let’s explore one more example. Today in class, you are learning something new and something that you really didn’t understand from that week’s reading. The instructor is reviewing the subject in detail. Hammering on every possible angle and answering questions that would have been helpful to know, but you missed it. You weren’t focused. Instead you were stealthily checking your phone. Going through your emails, replying to texts about the weekend plans, and quickly clicking on every Facebook notification that rang on your phone. Refocusing on the class topic after all notifications have been answered or in the very least reviewed with delicate attention, you notice that you missed every single detail and the instructor has moved on to the next topic.

In each scenario, something valuable to that moment was stolen—focus and ultimately, productivity level. Time is unforgiving and before it is noticed, hours have passed with little productivity.

We are all victims to technology and it is hard to really unplug from our electronics and focus. Focus on bettering ourselves, our knowledge, and our future. However, it becomes more challenging when we are fighting the urge to reply to a text, scrolling one more time through Facebook to watch those quick cooking videos or check out what our friends are up to, and answering less-than-urgent emails that can wait until later.

How many of you reading this have been in such a situation? A situation where you reflect, knowing that you could have been more productivity if only you had unplugged from those darn electronics. Writing this, I know there are more instances than I can count.

Committing fully to nursing school is a continuous effort. Yes, effort because it requires a lot of focus to nail those nursing concepts and skills. After all, a person’s health will be in your hands.

Let’s talk about three strategies to help you become more productive with your time in nursing school and ways to leverage your attention to succeed. Of course, this is not a thorough list but top recommended strategies.

Unplug from those electronics. First, let’s cover the number one distracter: your electronics. Staying connected with others is important. Living in the twenty-first century, technology regulates almost all aspects of day-to-day activities. When it comes to studying and maximizing your focus, unplug from your electronics.

Turn your phone on silent and tuck it away out of view. You won’t be sidetracked when your phone lights up with a message or tempted to reply. Trust me, those messages will still be there when you are ready. If you live with family or roommates, let them know that the time you allotted is your focus time and to not disturb you.

Disable any notifications on your computer that will distract your attention. A computer and access to the Internet does not make is any easier to focus. With a click, you can be looking up the best prices for the vacation getaway that you are looking to book or shopping the latest trends at your favorite boutique. But how will that help with your upcoming exam? It won’t. So, disable your email notifications and do your best not to divert away to the Internet, if is not necessary.

Take frequent breaks. It is reported that a person can normally hold focus for about twenty minutes. Twenty minutes of uninterrupted study time is plenty to get you started on the right foot. Frequent breaks allow you time to get up and walk around, stretch, and grab a snack. Refreshing your mind is crucial to focusing. Focus hard for twenty minutes then take a quick ten minute break.

Have you found yourself often loosing track as you started to drift away from focus to start thinking of other things? Whether it be daydreaming about what you will do to celebrate the end of the semester or your dream job, there is a time for that and it is not during your set study time.

Take time during your breaks to let your mind wander, but make sure you have the power to draw yourself back in to study mode. A great way to get back into study mode is to put on music that helps you focus or take one to two minutes after your break to review where you left off.

Set a to-do list. Many people benefit from making to-do lists. While you set aside time to study, jot down several things you will accomplish during that time. Going to review your class notes from the other day? List it. Wanting to get started on the homework you have been putting off for a few days? List it. Needing to answer a few discussion questions and looking to email your instructor with questions from last night’s reading? List it.

You will be more productive if you know what you want to achieve during the time. Plus, every time you check an item off your to-do list, you will feel more productive.

What are some ways you stay focused and harness your attention to be more productivity?

Looking for help staying focused? Visit with the Learning Advising and Life Resources (LALR) Department and review the services the department offers that can help you and your productivity. Helpful article include Time Management, Study Skills, and Test Anxiety and Studying with ADHD.

The Unexpected Journey to Becoming a Nurse: Meet Brooke Forney

Brooke Forney
Nestled in Pocatello, Idaho, scrapbook-loving and kayaking enthusiast Brooke Forney joined Nightingale College in December 2016. As an adjunct faculty member at Nightingale College and now NCLEX Success Coach, Brooke has the opportunity to not only share her nursing knowledge with our learners but provides individualized NCLEX coaching to help learners build the confidence needed to tackle the NCLEX-RN.

Brooke is an experienced nurse with twenty-eight years under her belt. However, she didn’t start out wanting to be a nurse as she imagined herself as an interior designer.

For me nursing is the most rewarding, diverse, and flexible career. There are numerous opportunities to expand your career in a wide variety of venues. YES, there is a tangible satisfaction in helping others achieve goals, whether it be in health promotion or nursing education. Having an influence on patients, students, and the community is the greatest reward in nursing.

What is your current position and at what DDC are you located?

Adjunct Faculty in Pocatello, Idaho and as all of Nightingale’s NCLEX Success Coach, which came about in the middle of April and I am loving it.

As the Learner Success Coach, how do you help learners succeed? Describe your job.

Our NCLEX Success Coaching Program focuses on both test taking strategies and mindset development. Both are important to be successful on the NCLEX.

What do you love most about being the Learner Success Coach?

Having a license to practice is the only thing standing in your way of earning the coveted title of RN and the salary to pay those loans back, nailing down the job of your dreams, and boosting your confidence that you are prepared to practice nursing. Yes, it’s scary. That’s why Nightingale offers a NCLEX Success Coaching Program to decrease your anxiety, boost your confidence, and increase your competence to pass the NCLEX using evidence from cognitive psychology, NCLEX testing, and mindset research.

What do you enjoy most about being a nurse and now instructor to future nurses?

I like nursing because it’s a profession that never stops giving. You learn new things every day, and the opportunity for growth is almost unlimited. I feel so good inside when I see improvement in my patients and when giving emotional support by holding hands of family members who have just experienced tragedy. It gives me inner peace that I can help somebody.

You have had amazing success with our learners. For learners and even grads getting ready to tackle the NCLEX-RN, what is your advice on preparation and one tip you would provide to them?

I know how hard it is to put your passion to work every day whether it’s in the classroom, hospital, or corporation while managing the (sometimes overwhelming) demands of being part of a rigorous institution as well as a contributing member of your family and your community. I want the learners to know it doesn’t have to eat you alive, that Nightingale is still in their corner.

What school did you graduate from with your nursing degree?

Weber State with my ADN, Boise State with my BSN and soon my MASTERS through WGU.


Nursing learners face challenges throughout their time in school and right after graduation. From your experience, what is one piece of advice you would give your younger self just starting your nursing career?

Find a mentor…If your hospital or workplace doesn’t have a mentorship program, it’s a good idea to find one yourself. If you work with a nurse whom you admire and is simply awesome at what they do, you can watch them quietly and learn from how they go about their work. This is a silent mentoring relationship where you just learn through association and observation.

What is your favorite memory as a nurse?

O.M.Goodness…She was a retired military nurse from Hills Air Force Base and worked at Davis Memorial where I was doing my preceptorship in L&D. She was very straight forward and I am a people pleasure so you can imagine the doom! We had a young patient who was delivering her first baby and for some reason she chose not to have an epidural and screaming “I can’t do this! No, No I can’t do it!” This nurse slapped her as hard as you could imagine on her buttocks (which was up in stirrups) and said “Did you feel that? That’s what you do to children so quit acting like one and push!!’ The room was silent and that little girl pushed! She delivered four pushes later. Later that night the same nurse asked me what I was going to name my baby but before I could answer, she replied “Sha-thead?” and giggled. That is not the way a L&D nurse spells this particular name…I’ll let you figure it out.

Some people follow their “dream jobs” from childhood. Did you always want to be a nurse? What attracted you to the field?

No, I was going to run off to the big city and be a famous graphic artist or interior designer but then I married and started thinking of children and my spouse still needed to finish his degree and the next-door neighbor told me she was going to nursing school and how much money they made. As soon as I started school, the bug bite me and I have loved every minute of it.

What brought you to Nightingale?

I just started into education at St. Luke’s in Boise, Idaho when we relocated to Pocatello. There was an ad in the paper for adjunct faculty so I sent in my resume. Susan Jero, Chyleen Tucker and I met for a late lunch and by the end of the meeting, I was talking to Ms. Jero as if I had already had the job. We all laughed and I have enjoyed being part of Nightingale ever since. Absolutely love it here!

What are three characteristics every nurse should have?

  1. Honesty – to yourself and others
  2. Integrity – or your dangerous to others
  3. Passion – if you don’t have the passion you will never be happy

Where are you from?

Pocatello, Idaho but after I married, we lived in Logan for 17 years and I would move back in a heartbeat.

Share three of your hobbies.

  • Scrapbooking
  • Interior Design
  • Kayaking

What is one thing on your bucket list that you look forward to checking off?

Go back to Europe but this time with my husband and spend an extended time in Ireland. Both my husband’s family and mine are strong Irish.

Goals are so important. We are quickly embracing the second part of 2016. What is one thing you hope to accomplish by the end of the year?

To complete my master ASAP and without killing anyone.

Share two truths and a lie. We will leave it to our readers to figure out what are the truths and which is the lie.

  • Have a passion for Mini Coopers and now own my forth one
  • Love snakes…find them fascinating
  • Want so badly to move in the “Tiny house” community, becoming a learner in materialistic items

What is your motivation in life?

My best friend…my husband Shawn Forney. He is absolutely brilliant to me and is always encouraging me to follow my dreams. Education and continuing education is intriguing to him and I find that passion very interesting and want to share.

Share anything else you would like our readers to know about you.

I am a grandma to one very energetic little boy named Daxtyn. My husband and I have always joked about “who was our favorite child” then Daxtyn was born. Tt was never questioned again! I love this little boy with every breath I take.

Along with Daxtyn, I have two wonderfully handsome boys who are nine years apart and the best of friends. Jacob is 28 and Daxtyn’s father, and my forever baby boy Justin who is nineteen.

We have two dogs: Henry is a 105 pound German Sheppard and Toby our newest member is a mini Yorkie and weighs 5 lbs.

As mentioned above, I had a best friend all through junior high and high school and then life threw us in totally different directions. Twenty years later I reunited with this wonderful man and he became the father my boys both deserved. I can’t imagine my life without him. We have so much in common and spend some of the funniest adventures together. I am truly blessed with all the trials and tribulations my life has given to me.

I am excited about this new journey I have just started with Nightingale and all its employees. I just adore my colleagues in Evanston, Pocatello and Twin Falls and am excited to get to know each of you within the Nightingale walls.