Having a short attention span isn’t very fun and I always have to figure out ways to cope with it, especially when it comes to keeping up with the weekly readings or doing assignments. I personally find it quite challenging having to just sit down and be still in one place in hopes of taking in all the information I’ll be learning from the readings, so here are some tips to study effectively if you’ve got a short attention span. If you don’t have a short attention span I hope these tips may still help you too.
Tip #1: Exercise (or just do sports)
I’ve recently started wall climbing and it helps me handle being overly energetic because then I get to burn some of that energy and sit still and stay in one place to study after and there are studies that show that exercising does improve your attention span (Santos-Longhurst, 2019). Exercising is just overall great for you and your health; it releases your endorphins which can make you happy and can also help you feel motivated, so doing anything that gets your body working and not only your mind can help with studying effectively and increase your attention span.
Tip #2: Listen to classical music or brain food playlist
To be honest, I’ve only just started listening to classical music this semester and I find it quite effective. I feel like I’m more productive and I end up doing my work while listening to classical music. It just calms me down and helps me be more focused. I’ve tried other playlists to listen to while studying but some of them seem so intriguing that I start analyzing the songs and beats instead of analyzing my readings (LOL). However, if classical music doesn’t work for you then maybe try a brain food playlist on Spotify. Personally, the brain food playlists didn’t work for me and made me fall asleep, but a friend recommended this to me and I can see how it can help people get in the zone since it’s a bridge between slow songs and hyped beat songs. It’s mostly background music though, which really works.
Tip #3: Take breaks effectively
Every time I take a break, I’m usually eating because food is life. What I mean by taking a break effectively is, for example, if you’re watching and eating your meal at the same time (I used to do this all the time), try to really discipline yourself when it comes to watching. I have no discipline but it takes guts and power to do that. If you feel like this won’t work for you – yes, me! - then maybe try something else like taking a walk outside (while you’re eating too, that’s fine), or playing with your pets, or anything that doesn’t involve using technology because then your brain is actually taking a break.
Tip #4: Accept how you feel
This one is quite controversial but anyways, while it does take time to force yourself to study, it’s definitely really difficult to get into that study zone unless the due date is your motivation – ahem, me. Sometimes, you just have to accept how you feel. If you don’t feel like studying, then I suggest you don’t, and do something else that can encourage you to study at least. Although, if you have a big project due or a huge percentage of your exam coming up, then I would definitely recommend finding a way that can help you change your mindset and how you feel in the moment because sometimes accepting the way you feel can help get you into the study zone. For example, if I don’t feel like studying and I want to play video games, I would set myself a time on how long I want to play and if I feel satisfied with that, then I start studying. But as long as you end up aiming for your short- or long-term goals, then you’re good to go.
Santos-Longhurst, A. (2019). https://www.healthline.com/health/short-attention-span#treatments