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How to Boost your Attention Span and Learn to Study Better

In their early lives, students are given a high degree of supervision by teachers, guardians, or mentors. Children are eased into the concept of homework and slowly learn that they will be held accountable for fulfilling assignments. It’s a gradual uptake in responsibility, and by the time the student reaches senior high school, it’s generally expected that they will have developed some good study habits that will be of use as they then possibly pursue higher education, and ‘adult life’ that comes after school. One of the things harped on – and which teachers universally say they hope students will develop – is willpower. It’s somewhat frightening to discover that scientists believe while there are some ways to improve a person’s intelligence, these are limited. Much of your brainpower – or so-called IQ – is likely genetic. However, you can boost your self-control, and self-control can help you do better at almost every task and event in your life. Self-control, therefore, is more important than intelligence as, without self-control, even a mega genius would never get anything done. 

For students in the 21st century, self-control often boils down to figuring out how to sit still for long enough to digest new information, compile information, or write about or make a report on information. All such information processing requires concentration, but the very tool that ignited the information age – the internet – is also the biggest tool for distraction. This is why it’s been reported, across the globe, that students are taking advantage of a weapon known as a website blocker. This is an app that is easily downloaded and then syncs across your devices. You then have an incredible degree of choice. Perhaps you’ll want to choose to block YouTube videos during all study hours – or from 9:00 a.m. to noon, for example. You could block social media during times when you have a big exam coming up, or you could block it during study hours every single day. All those choices are up to you. And having such choices is an excellent way to boost willpower, as it creates a virtuous cycle. You choose to block YouTube, for example, and then you get more studying done. After you get more studying done, you feel like you’ve accomplished something. After you feel like you’ve accomplished something, you want to accomplish more. Voila! A cycle of good study habits and measurable productivity has been created.

These are the keys to modern students boosting their attention spans and learning to study better. Students must become their own teachers in the sense that when a student gets to roughly junior high school, the amount of ‘looking over your shoulder’ is significantly reduced. One must learn to control – or police – themselves. This is harder than it sounds. Often students look to outside intervention or guidance to lead them or indicate that they’re on the right track… but this is not always forthcoming. If, however, a student can quantify their progress by themselves, they will be encouraged to continue. It’s all about getting the right set of study muscles in the right shape – and it starts with finding a way to overcome the short attention spans that are a byproduct of modern life. None of us are entirely to blame for the distracted state we often find ourselves in. The world we live in is a world where the cards are stacked against us. Most of us have multiple devices able to connect to the world wide web. Every couple of moments there’s a ‘ding’ or a ‘ping’ or something that can divert attention. 

Interestingly, human brains and most computers work in a very similar way. Only ‘supercomputers’ process information simultaneously. Ordinary computers and human brains perform one task after another. In humans, when we jump from one thing to another, it’s called task switching and task switching is highly energy depleting. Let’s say you’ve begun studying for a math exam and you’re halfway through some algebra problem, when an email notification catches your eye. Your brain shifts the processing power from the math you were just doing over to this new task of looking at and answering an email. But then when you shift back to the algebra problem, it’s not like you can fast-forward to where you left off. You have to once again build-up to the level of processing power – which is tiring.

Using a blocking app, you could disable email notifications for a few hours while you are studying algebra. That way you wouldn’t need to task switch, and your brain could work effectively on a single task at a time. Finish doing your studying and then enjoy the web for an hour. Trust us, you’ll enjoy web surfing more if you do it during times when other essential tasks are over. It’s a win-win. You will become more productive, while also enjoying your free time more as you hop around the web, scour social media sites, chat with friends, or mindlessly read articles on whatever interests you. The separation between the two is how to bring order to your life and impose self-control. And it’s a whole lot easier to exercise self-control with the aid of a tool such as a site blocker… because as they say, out of site/sight, out of mind. We highly recommend that any student (or worker, or parent, or…anyone) who’s trying to get something done, give this technology a try. Fight tech distraction with technology…use blocking tech to keep you away from the sticky web of the internet for as long – or as short – as you decide.

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About the author

Alex Jones

Blogger, Entrepreneur.
Startup Enthusiast.
I cover various tech-related articles on world-wire.com

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