How to Concentrate for Long Hours while Studying

In today’s environment, it is easy to get distracted. Between smart phones, tablets and computers, an individual can get pulled in multiple directions. No matter your age or your occupation, when the occasion arises that you need to clearly focus, these external distractions can greatly hinder your learning ability. Moments stolen by other tasks like answering emails or texting dinner plans add up quickly to large amounts of lost time. It is important to master how to concentrate on studies for long hours.

1. Choose Your Study Space Wisely

Where you study greatly affects the effectiveness of your efforts and influences how to concentrate on study for long hours. While you might like to study in your room, you’ll easily be distracted by TV, video games, or fashion magazines lying next to your bed. To achieve the highest level of concentration, choose a location that promotes the ability to focus. Here are tips on how to choose your study space wisely:
  • Dedicate a space to be used only for studying and is equipped with adequate lighting and working temperature controls in order to create a comfortable environment.
  • Keep your study space neat and organized, with areas to store your computer and books as well as a sturdy chair and a desk at the appropriate height.
  • Some people study better with background music, so it is okay to have it on low as long as it does not distract you from your studying.
  • Display a “Do not disturb” sign outside your space when you are studying.




2. Place All Electronic Devices in the Off Position

While we all love our tablets and smart phones, these gadgets expose us to a world of distractions. If you want to learn how to concentrate on study for long hours, it is a must to turn off all electronic devices. The only device that should be on is the computer you need for studying. A few reason why this is important includes:
  • Getting distracted by electronic devices eatsyour precious time.
  • Notifications, incoming calls and text messages are a constant distraction.
  • Declare your study space a gadget-free zone.

3. Create a Study Plan

  • Figure out if you study better during the day or at night and how it will fit into your schedule.
  • Develop a study timetable with dedicated time allotted for studying and incorporate it into your daily routine.
  • Start from the beginning of your work and create logical study sections until you reach the end. It is easier for your brain to absorb the material if you study in a logical sequence that includes a start and an end.
  • Motivate yourself by setting a goal to complete certain tasks with a specific time limit.
  • Limit your study time to 45 minutes at a time. When your time is up, go over what you have learned thus far. Breaking up your long study periods into manageable parts enables your mind to take a break and recharge.
  • Keep breaks to 5 – 10 minutes so you do not get distracted. But allow yourself to take them often so you will not have to struggle to stay alert.




4. Teach Yourself Discipline

Learning how to concentrate on studies for long hours means learning how to discipline yourself.Your mind will wander but don’t let it. Learn to tell yourself to “stop” and move back to your studies.

  • Any time you catch your mind veering in the wrong direction, tell it to “stop.”
  • Disciplining your mind will take a lot of practice but soon you will be able to concentrate on your studies for a long time.
  • If a thought keeps creeping into your mind, don’t keep fighting it. Write it down on a piece of paper and deal with it later.
  • If you continue to have difficulties and breaks don’t help, reevaluate your study plan and revise where needed.


5. Set Aside Time for Worrying

It is natural to worry so it is important to set aside time to do just that.Schedule worry time into your timetable, deciding how long you are going to allow your mind to ponder the issues and at what point in the day.

  • When studying, keep a piece of paper and a pen nearby to write down thoughts that are distracting. If you write them down, you can continue to concentrate on your studies because you know you won’t forget about them later.
  • If the same concern keeps popping up, take the time needed to deal with it. Otherwise, it will become a larger issue that will sabotage your study efforts.



6. Be an Active Learner

To learn how to concentrate on studies for long hours, you must be an active learner. This essentially means you need to be able to transform what you have learned. You can do this by:

  • Applying what you have learned in real life situations.
  • Comparing similarities and differences between what you know and what you learned.
  • Defining what you have learned into your own words and definition.
  • Utilizing the new information you have learned when you can and it is appropriate.




7. Change Things up If Needed

It is important to realize that your initial plan may not work. It could also work in the beginning but need to be revised later due to changes in your life. This is normal and natural. Being able to concentrate on study for long hours requires you to change things up if you need to. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to see if it is time to revise your plan:

  • What is the main objective?
  • What do I need to get done today? This week?
  • Where am I on my timetable?
  • Is my plan working?
  • If not, how can I fix it?


8. Stick to One Thing at a Time

  • Concentrate all your attention on one specific task at a time.
  • When done, move on to the next item.
  • By sticking to one thing at a time, you will improve your productivity.
  • Doing too many things at once will lead to inefficient learning.



9. Make Studying Fun

  • Mix up your studying techniques to keep things from getting boring.
  • Quiz yourself to see test how much you have learned.
  • Study out loud, reasoning with yourself about facts and information.
  • Create visual study aides, such as diagrams, written notes and outlines, and flowcharts.
  • Snack on fun food that you keep in your study space.


10. Sleep! Sleep! Sleep!

It is okay to pull long hours when needed, but it is also important to get the sleep your body needs or all your efforts will be in vain. Keep in mind:

  • Your body needs 7 to 8 hours of sleep each day.
  • Studying when you are overly tired amounts to wasted time.
  • Getting a good night’s sleep will empower you with better concentration and retention skills.

11. Know when to say “No”

When you are learning something new and exciting, it’s easy to take on a lot of coursework, projects, and networking meetings that are relevant to what you are doing. Well and good, but doing so sometimes abruptly leads to situations wherein you find yourself intensely busy yet still facing the dilemma of whether to fit other related activities in your already tight schedule.

When taking on new work or meetings, make sure that these activities are part of your higher purpose. Start saying NO5 to activities that complicate your schedule, suck up your time, and create stress. On the other hand say YES to activities that simplify your life, reduce stress, and create more time.

12. Set reminders

In any endeavor, it becomes very easy to forget stuff as you get busier and busier. If you are intensely involved in a project, for example, it often happens that you become so engrossed on what you are doing that you lose track of time and miss an appointment or an important phone call. Fortunately, Post-it and reminder apps exists. I am a big fan of physical Post-it’s but sometimes, even those fail to get the job done.

13. Reflect and adjust

You will want to closely monitor yourself on a daily and weekly basis and make adjustments. You should regularly ask yourself the following questions. While these are related to your studies and how to better acquire new skills, you could just as well use them in any work or life situation.

  • What is my main goal?
  • What is my goal for the week?
  • What do I need to do today?
  • Where am I at the moment?
  • Is this technique/schedule/place/relationship/situation working?
  • Is it worth improving? How can I improve it?


14. Take breaks

Research has shown that people:

  • Remember best when they study for shorter periods then recap and consolidate what they learned, as opposed to studying for longer periods.
  • Learn better at the beginning and end of a study period.
So, plan to study for about 30-45 minutes, review what you have learnt, then take a five to 10 minute break.

15. Build in variety

  • Change the subject or study strategy every few hours. This will lessen the chance of your becoming bored.
  • Use your study break for exercise (or perhaps housework). This changes the pace and helps to get rid of extra adrenaline.
  • Alternate reading with more active learning exercises. For example: mind mapping or writing model answers.



We hope you use these tips to improve your study and work efficiency. If you have any interesting suggestions, let us know in the comments section below!


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