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.