One common source of problems for maintaining focus is having distractions from some other activity. Typically these activities include a job, a too-active social life, athletics, or campus organizations.
In general the issue for each of these is maintaining a proper balance with your academic commitments and your other activities. Check out the topics Planning Your Day 1 and Planning Your Day 2. You need to start developing a daily plan for what you will do. Your plan should contain a 4:1 balance between academic activities and the other activities. The ratio 4:1 means 4 hours of academic activities for one hour of other activities.
Making the plan is the easy part. Sticking to it is the hard part. Here are some suggestions for keeping the 4:1 balance.
- Limit doing the other activities until you have finished the academic activities.
- Start looking at your plan as an hour-to- hour challenge. If you can get through two weeks of winning each of the hour –to- hour challenges, you will have developed the focus skills and routine that you need.
- Change the venue and time when you work. When you separate yourself from distractions, you’ll be surprised how much you focus will improve.
- Find a discipline coach who you can report to. This will be someone who can keep you honest. Your coach should be someone you look up to and don’t want to disappoint.
- Do an honest assessment of what you are getting from the other activities. You might find that they aren’t that important. Or you may find that some other activity would be more worthwhile.
- If the activity is a job, learn to say no to your boss. Employers will often try to add hours to your schedule. If need be, look for another job.
- If your focus challenge is athletics, you might want to check out the topic: Managing Athletics and Academics. Remember your coach has a career in athletics, and you probably won’t. Think of athletics as the vehicle to get to the career you want, but athletics shouldn’t take away your focus and result in losing your future career.
- Campus organizations can function just like a job. The hours commitment can creep up on you. If the organization is consuming a lot of your time, look for others to help. If you are the only one who can be counted on, then the organization is probably very dysfunctional.
Becoming focused can be a source of imminence personal pride. Those who lose focus often become very depressed when they realize how much of their college investment they are squandering. Once you regain your focus, it’s something that you will really want to keep. .