As a college student, there may be weekends during the semester when you want to go home and spend time with family and friends, maybe for a special occasion, holiday, family event or just because. There may even be special events happening on campus like frat parties, club events, homecoming and the Super Bowl. Whatever is happening in your world, just remember that the semester is still moving forward and you can't afford to fall behind.
Here are five (5) helpful tips to keep you focused during some of the most distracting times of the semester. I've also created a “Math Study Planner for Short Breaks” to help you organize and prioritize your tasks.
1. Identify the three top tasks you need to do at this point in the semester.
To be efficient and successful, review your syllabus. Scan what you’ve already submitted and what is coming up soon. Are there any assignments you missed, test redos or back-reading you need to do? Is there a quiz or midterm coming up that you need to study specific concepts and facts for, or do some practice problems for? Write these down in your Study Planner below so that these are top of mind. Knowing what to spend your time on will allow you to be focused and less scatterbrained and overwhelmed. You’ll also waste less time since you’ll know exactly what to do when you sit down to study.
2. Modify your study schedule.
When you’re home on “break”, it’s really only a break from classes. Projects, tests and assignments are still due and you still have to study. So since your daily schedule is a tad bit different for a few days, modify your existing study schedule to fit your new availability using the Study Planner for Short Breaks. Section out times of the day for studying and other times for family and friends. Try to wake up earlier in the day before activities get started to sneak in a few hours.
Tell your people that this is not a real break. They need to know that of course you’ll spend time with them, but only at certain times of the day because school is still in session. Communicate your study schedule to them and be ok with declining some activities if it’s going to crowd out quality study time that you know you need. If you miss something fun, you’ll still see them during summer and winter break, the real breaks.
4. Leave the house for a while.
There are an insane amount of distractions at home. There is so much stuff, so many categories of things to do and so many people, even if it’s just one more person. Try getting out of the house for your study sessions, ideally in the morning, so that you can focus and actually get things done. Drive, bus, walk or ride-share to a coffee shop, library or bookstore for a quiet, peaceful space where you can direct your attention to getting right to work. Set your timer for 25 minute intervals of study and reward yourself with a break and a snack.
5. Encourage Yourself
Throughout the whole process, remember why you are doing this.
1. Remember the Big and Small Picture
The big picture is that you’re working to pass another class which is one step closer to graduating college. Some smaller goals are that you’re working on being responsible and proactive and passing your classes for this semester.
2. Talk to yourself in an uplifting and nurturing way so as to encourage yourself to keep going.
Say things like:
a. I am responsible and proactive.
b. I get things done.
c. I start early on all of my tasks.
d. When I’m stuck I ask for help.
e. I am successful at achieving all of my goals
3. Watch a few motivating videos:
a. Mel Robbins (5 min): Do You Always Procrastinate? This Trick Will End it Once and For All
b. Eric Thomas (6 min): Success is in Your Routine
c. Gary Vee (5 min, some cursing): The Most Important Word
Be productive and get things done my friend. Don’t spend too much time on these videos, I know that YouTube can suck you in. Just let the motivation fire you up to not allow distractions to make you fail.