21 April 2021

5 Unusual Tips to Stay Focused While Studying

The clattering of the laptop’s keyboard filled the silent atmosphere of the dimly lit room. With some lo-fi music playing through noise-blocking headphones and the smell of coffee staining the air with its notorious strength, she was confident that this assignment could be completed in the next 5 hours or so. A few hours later, the heaviness in her eyes started to take control despite the 6 cups of coffee consumed. Eventually, she puts her assignment on her to-do list for tomorrow and drifts off to a peaceful place where flying cats and swashbuckling knights exist.

Does this scenario seem a tad too familiar to you? Well, this isn’t an uncommon sight, especially since online distance learning became more popular over the past year, impacting the productivity of students to a great extent. However, every problem comes with an impactful solution which sometimes, might be unfathomable to many. 

So, lo and behold — 5 scientifically proven but unusual tips to stay focused while studying!

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1. Listen to Electronic Music

It’s finally time to ditch those instrumental beats and channel your inner party bug! Electronic music or its subgenres (contemporary electronic music, EDM, chiptune, electroacoustic, glitch, industrial, trance) have been proven to improve concentration. Even listening to it for 10 minutes will result in an increase in your spatial reasoning skills — known widely for absorbing knowledge and solving problems quickly. 

With an abundance of electronic music playlists on Spotify, there’s no doubt that you’ll be able to find a playlist that you resonate most with. From personal experience, listening to electronic music does help me finish my assignments quicker than usual. It also keeps me glued to my screen without any distractions. However, I’d really recommend taking a break from the screen every few hours to prevent issues such as dry eyes and discomfort.

Preevena’s Corner:

Want to listen to electronic music but don’t know where to start? Here are my top Spotify playlist picks to get you through any study session: Techno Bunker, Electronic Focus, Electronic Running. Or listen to The Risers’ Study Playlist.

2. Dress in Your Best Attire

While some of us have transitioned back to campus, a majority of us are still studying from home. And with studying from home, comes the very tempting option to study in uber comfy clothes — hoodie, sweatpants, pajamas, you name it! Unfortunately, this only makes you more prone to dozing off in the midst of cracking the solution to a nerve-wracking problem. 

So, what’s the solution? 

Studies have shown that those who dress up have fewer issues paying attention and accomplishing their tasks. Besides that, students who wore white lab coats while doing tests made about half the errors as those wearing regular clothes! Although it may be a daunting task to wake up early just to get ready for online classes, it may be worth a shot. For a motivational boost to dress up despite having online classes, why not try turning on your web cameras too?

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3. Work in Natural Lighting

Sunlight is definitely nature’s best gift to the world. When its rays hit your face, there’d usually be 2 different reactions to it. The first one would be running away or shielding yourself from it. The second would be basking in the glorious light it produces. Regardless of your reaction towards it, some fresh air and sunlight are indeed necessary to increase your alertness and productivity. 

Artificial light, aka your regular room lighting, would eventually make you significantly sleepier by the end of the evening. Try sitting by a window, with the curtain drawn, to get some needed natural light in. However, if getting natural lighting isn’t possible for you, consider going out for a brisk walk outside to recharge before starting your day in the morning or after a hectic day in the evening.

4. Increase Your Exposure to Heat

Air conditioning has become man’s best friend in recent times. The unbearable heat topped off with the discomfort of being a sweaty mess has definitely made us rely on the air conditioning a little too much. However, being in a cold atmosphere caused by prolonged air conditioning usage has led to a decline in productivity rates

Scientifically, your body uses more energy to keep yourself warm when it's cold, leaving you with less energy that enables you to focus and concentrate. So, it’s definitely time to set a timer to your air conditioning and open up the windows to get some good old fresh air!

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5. Chew Some Gum

With brands like Mentos and Wrigley’s producing new flavours of chewing gum, it’s no wonder that chewing gum is still widely consumed. For purposes ranging from a symbol of ‘coolness’ or to stop smoking via the usage of nicotine-coated gums, the chewing gum market is really huge. Now, there’s a purpose for students to chew gum! 

According to studies, chewing gum has contributed to a greater cerebral activity amongst its consumers. However, the gum has to be chewed for 5 minutes and spat out before a study session for it to work.

Fun Fact: Sugar-free gum works best to prevent issues pertaining to oral health.

Well, there you have it — 5 unusual but proven tips to stay focused and productive! 

Hopefully, these tips would help anyone, especially you, to concentrate. It’s finally time to bid adieu to an unhealthy amount of daily caffeine consumption and say hello to a new age of productivity!

Preevena Jayabalan is currently pursuing Cambridge A-Levels at Taylor's College. She is also the Vice President of Marketing of the Taylor's Lakeside Model United Nations Club, Co-Lead for the Public Engagement Department of Senate18, and one of the 45 selected fellows for the Felo Parlimen Malaysia program. She's a bibliophile and a strong human rights advocate.

Preevena Jayabalan
Guest Contributor