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Plan for Focus This Semester

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  • Focus_5b195c6b71f97.jpg

    In the fall "end of semester" survey, roughly 1/3 of students who fell behind by more than one week attributed this to lack of schedule and distractions. Almost HALF of you said that significant activities or obligations, e.g., a work schedule, caused you to fall behind.

    Take time now to be PROACTIVE. Think about what you CAN control -- and PLAN around your needs. This is so important that you'll see a related question on this week's quiz.

    Work at a TIME when you know you'll be most efficient. Think about when you need the greatest amount of energy to focus. Are you a morning person? Are you a night person? Having four children myself, I know that my efficiency drops precipitously once my kids are home from school, so I often plan to do my easier tasks at that time. Since my kids can't interrupt me when they're not awake (most of the time, anyway!), I often work early mornings or late at night. In a similar way, previous students have told me that they work late at night when noisy siblings are asleep, and others work best by chunking their time with a "block schedule" for their classes, i.e., working on three classes every other day. What TIMES will work best for you?  Create a weekly schedule for yourself like this example by making a copy of this template. (You'll submit it on this week's quiz).  

    Choose a PLACE that allows you to be positive and focus. That probably isn't your super-comfy couch. You probably don't want a high-traffic area where people can walk through your space.

    Plan for DISTRACTIONS:  Use an extension or app to block specific time-wasting websites. Use a "focus" app like Forest  on your phone or browse.  If you know that a certain friend's texts will derail you, or if you know that a trip to the kitchen for a snack will cause you to stop by the TV, then turn off your phone when you work or get a snack before you start.  If noise is an issue, consider using noise-canceling headphones as part of your required school supplies.

    Struggling with ANXIETY or PERFECTIONISM? I've seen students cope by using affirmations or mantras. Sometimes scheduling a five-minute mindfulness break or meditation can help you be more productive. As a recovering perfectionist myself, I've found that creating deadlines in my schedule helps me avoid obsessing about details.

    WHATEVER your individual needs are, take time TODAY to make a plan for yourself.  This week's quiz will include a question about your plan-- so be sure you have a detailed answer and a schedule to upload.