How to Stay Focused on Projects and Schoolwork: Tips for Middle School and High School Students
Today's guest blog post comes from CK-12 member, Robert Morris. Robert is a professional writer from New York. Creating useful tips for students is his favorite. Passionate about edtech.
Unfortunately, being focused doesn’t come with getting older. In fact, when middle school and high school students are in question, the ability to focus on schoolwork and projects is disproportional with the years – they are more interested in having fun and hanging out with their friends as they get older. The parade of distractions is never-ending, and even the strongest wills break under the influence of teenage years.
However, you still want to achieve success in school and you surely wish good grades would come on their own. We can’t help you with that, but we can offer tips that will help you stay focused during the time you devote to your studies and achieve more work in less time.
- Block websites that distract you.
If you need to work on a demanding project with a tight deadline, the last thing you would want is end up wandering over Tumblr, Reddit, Facebook and similar distractions. If you are using Chrome, we recommend you to install the StayFocusd extension, which will allow you to set up sites to block. Don’t worry, you can unblock them any time you want. LeechBlock is an add-on for Firefox that does pretty much the same thing. Although you think that you can stay out of those websites without installing extensions, these productivity tools will really keep you focused on your projects.
- Read motivational books
You can’t do well at school if you’re not motivated to achieve your best. There are many motivational books that will teach you how to get the best out of yourself. If Michael Jordan is your definition of a hero, you should definitely read the book How to Be Like Mike and learn what personal characteristics made him an athlete god. Other motivational books will teach you how to accept rejections, train your mind to work in optimistic mode, and everything else you need to become a more focused and more successful student.
- Put your headphones on
If there are other people around you and they keep distracting you, it’s time to use the good old trick – wear headphones and put the right music on. This will narrow your sense of space to small shell that surrounds you, which will help you keep your attention on the work you are doing.
- Have a reward system
As we already said, being motivated is crucial for successful schoolwork, and thinking of a reward is the best way to stay motivated. Set up a system that lets you relax for 15 minutes after spending a whole hour of focused work without interruptions. This will keep you away from checking Twitter and Facebook every five minutes.
- Use more than one computer or desktop
Not every student has the chance to do this, but if you have more than one computer in your home, make sure to use their potential and have a separate computer reserved for your school-associated activities. Install only the necessary apps and take the computer somewhere quiet. A simple way to make this trick cheaper is to use more than one desktop (with Dexpot app for Windows and Mission Control for Macs).
- Have control over time-wasters
Keeping track of the apps and sites that are mostly consuming your ability to focus will help you realize where you waste your time. RescueTime is a free tool that will monitor your online activity and inform you about the time-wasters you need to put under control.
- Turn off everything unnecessary
When you get focused and start working on your school project, the last thing you would want is for your friends to start bugging you with messages or phone calls about tomorrow’s party. Turn off the phone, unless you are expecting an absolutely necessary call from someone. Don’t check the e-mail, stay away from Facebook, instant-messaging apps and everything else that will be a distraction.
The more complicated your project is, the bigger distractions you will get. As you progress with your studies, it will be harder and harder to stay focused on the really important things. However, that doesn’t mean that you should give up on the ambition of being a great student, because the above-mentioned tricks will help you stay concentrated and do your best on all projects and schoolwork assignments.
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