The effectiveness of your study time is only as good as your ability to focus and concentrate while studying. Choosing a quality study environment, decreasing any internal or external distractions, and limiting your multitasking can help make your study time productive and effective.

Choosing a study environment

The environment you study in can have a big impact on your ability to concentrate.  Choosing a good environment is a proactive step towards monitoring possible distractions. Consider the following factors when evaluating a potential study location:

  • Are you unlikely to be interrupted or distracted?
  • Is the environment (lighting, temperature, etc.) comfortable enough to work, but not so comfortable that you fall asleep?
  • Are you able to either tune out the ambient noise, or do you have control over the noise levels?
Distractions and interruptions

Distractions come in all shapes, sizes and sounds. External distractions include things like noise, people talking, TV, music, phone alerts, and anything else that diverts your attention from the task at hand. Internal distractions like hunger, fatigue, illness, stress, worries, other distracting thoughts (things you should be doing instead, things you’d rather be doing,  etc.) can interrupt your concentration as much as external distractions.

Multitasking

When it comes to studying, multitasking is ineffective.  While it may seem like multitasking would be a good thing, research has shown that people who are multitasking are not doing two things at the same time.  Instead, they are switching back and forth quickly between tasks.  The result of this movement is that performance suffers on both tasks, and people who are multitasking are less likely to remember information later (Dzubak, 2008). There may be other areas of our lives where multi-tasking is useful; however, studying and problem solving require deep concentration, and interruptions and distractions make it harder to focus and decrease your chances of recalling information later.

Not sure where to go from here? Take a look at the ideal study session below, and check out these tips to increase your concentratuion and limit your distractions.

image of the ideal study session

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