For as long as I could remember, I had a lot of difficulty focusing while researching and studying. When I try to sit down and focus my mind is filled with racing thoughts of errands I must run tomorrow and burdensome worries. If I dwell on these unpleasant thoughts for too long my heart races with unbearable anxiety and this can escalate into an anxiety attack if I don’t calm down and distract myself. When I was younger I used to think I was the only one with this problem but, turns out that’s not true. Plenty of students and intellectual types have the exact same problem as I do. Here is how I focus while researching and studying.
Meditate before you start
There are plenty of guided meditation videos on YouTube that will assist you in meditating if you haven’t done it before. You only have to meditate for 5-10 minutes. This will help you clear your mind and calm down from the anxiety you’re experiencing. Your mind will be more clear and able to focus on the information you need to absorb.
Remove all distractions
Lock yourself in a room without things that will distract you and cause you to procrastinate. If you can’t avoid these distracting items, go to your local public library or park with your books/laptop. Turn off your phone’s notifications. Tell friends and family that you will be busy.
Drink Tea or Coffee
Tea and coffee are well known to relax and make you more attentive. After drinking you will feel more rejuvenated, awake and ready to hop right into it!
Listen to an audiobook of what you need to research and study
While listening, play a video game. This will keep your hands busy. There are thousands of free app games in the AppStore for your phone or tablet. I recommend my favorite “Whale Trail”, it’s available for iPhone and Android devices. There are also various browser games like my favorites 2048, threes, aggar.io. Also, there are free games available on steam for you to enjoy. Make sure the video game you play is not too difficult so you can relax. If you can’t find an audiobook of the material you need to research or study make one! While I was in school, I would record my study notes on my phone and listen to them while playing various video games. Reading your study notes out loud while recording will also help you memorize the information. You can find lots of audiobooks on Youtube and Archive.org.
While listening, wear headphones and turn up the volume
This will prevent you from being distracted by small annoying noises. Such as dogs barking in your neighbor’s yard, family or neighbors arguing and crying children. Make sure you invest in a decent pair of headphones that fully cover your ears comfortably. I used Sony DJ style headphones for years, but unfortunately, my kitten chewed up the wire and I haven’t had enough money to replace them.
Listen to relaxing music while reading or listening to an audiobook of what you need to research or study
Good, relaxing music will put you in a trance so you can focus on the information you need to absorb. You can find various hour-long videos of excellent music on youtube if you type in “study music” or “relaxing music”. I find that this music helps ease my anxiety. Rock ballads and “dream pop” are also excellent study music choices. My favorite study song is clansman by Iron maiden. Which is about Scotish clansmen, not American KKK klansmen.