How to Stay Focused in Class

Friends who have known me for a long time would know that I am a terrible person when it comes to taking care of my phone. Last week, I dropped my phone (for the 8362619th time since I got it 6 months ago) and it died on the spot. My screen was shattered and my phone couldn’t function at all. My heart was broken, and so was my bank account.  However, out of the unfortunate incident, I also got a great learning out of it – that being gadget-free can help me to focus better in the classroom. 

Put your gadgets away

For the few days that I did not have a phone, there was one less distraction for me to stay focused in class. There were no notifications that would remind me of random stuff and make me reply messages, and I couldn’t scroll through my social media feeds during the dull moments of my lectures. I have to admit that I felt weird and extremely uncomfortable at first, but the discomfort went away after a while. Ever since that incident, I decided to put my gadgets away during classes to help me focus. I would keep my phone in complete silent mode (not even vibration) and try to keep it in my bag or pocket during classes.

Out of sight, out of mind. Put your gadgets away during classes, you don’t need those notifications when you are learning.

Write your notes instead of using your laptops

I had always been struggling between wanting to use a laptop or a notebook for note taking. I felt like using a laptop is more efficient (I type faster than I write) and environmental-friendly (save those trees yo!), but I also always get distracted easily when using it. Instead of taking notes, I always end up checking my emails, arranging my weekly schedule, scrolling through Facebook, and sometimes even go to the extend of searching for healthy recipes on Pinterest. I knew that I shouldn’t be doing it, that it was not only a distraction for myself, but also to those who sit around me, but I just couldn’t control myself.

At the start of this term, a professor of mine shared a study that shows that writing out notes is proven to be more effective than using laptops, even when it is only used for its intended function of note taking. This study was the one that finally got me to choose pen-and-paper over laptop for my notes. Like, I really don’t know how to justify myself to use a laptop anymore. If you are interested in checking out the study, click on the link above for the 2014 paper published in Psychological Science.

Sit at the front row

KEEEEEENER. Joke. Wait. Actually, I am not joking.  I don’t care if I look like a keener, I go to class to learn, not to worry about being judged.

We have spoken a lot about gadgets and laptops being distractions. Even though we are be able to reduce our personal use in class, it is inevitable that some of our classmates will still be using laptops and gadgets in class. I find that sitting at the front row of the classroom helps in focusing, not only because you’re closer to the instructor and are forced to listen to him/her, but also because it reduces distractions from your classmates. Think about it, there will be less or zero human beings moving in front of you, which reduces the probability of multitasking creatures with screens that are showing online shops/basketball games/Facebook conversations etc. in front of you, which reduces distractions. Right??? 

Get enough sleep

We all know that a tired soul is one that is unable to focus on everything.

Be prepared for your class

If you want to be involved in what is going on, you have to know what is going on. I find that being prepared for classes, even by going to the classroom a few minutes earlier to get my mindset ready for the class, or by going through my course schedule and seeing the topic of the day can give me a better idea of what to expect and stay focused on during class. Of course, I have also learned to go through my required readings when I am asked to. Got to be ready for my drill right? 😛

Alright, enough of geeky-ness and wanting to stay focused in class now. I am going to head out and enjoy a well-deserved can of beer after my busy week, or maybe two, or maybe… Ah, you know what I mean! Have a great weekend everybody! 😀