Homework is probably not the highlight of your day – it’s tiring, seemingly unnecessary and it steals away precious hours that you would rather have spent doing something more enjoyable. But, unfortunately, it still has to be done. So how exactly can you keep yourself focused on this tedious task? Read on to find out. You’ll be amazed at how easily your results can improve just by making a few adjustments to your study habits…and your mindset.
*Always remember the bigger picture
No one would want to do something if they didn’t understand the reasoning behind it. So part of staying focused on your homework is to remind yourself of why it’s important. The main idea of homework is that it keeps you up to date. It forces you apply the knowledge you’ve recently learnt and to practice techniques. But, most importantly, it helps you to realise what you do and don’t understand, so that you know what you should ask your teacher to help you with. In this way, homework makes sure that you keep up with everything you’ve been taught – meaning that you don’t have to stress when it comes to test and exams. So the next time you’re battling to focus on your homework, remember the bigger picture!
*It all starts in class…so concentrate!
I know the feeling – you finally sit down at your desk to work, look at the book in front of you, and realise that you have no idea what’s going on. This is not the situation you want to be in! It’s obviously very hard to do your homework if you don’t understand any of it, and the only way to understand is to concentrate in class. The more carefully you listen during the school day, the more you’ll learn and the easier and quicker it will be to do your homework later. Sit at the front of the class, ask questions and do whatever else will help you to actually remember what is being taught. That’s why a person goes to school after all – to learn.
*Turn distractions into rewards
Before you start your homework, remove anything from your working environment that will distract you: switch off the TV, close the internet browser and put your cellphone away. Now, decide exactly how long you will work before you will need to have a break, what you will do during that break and exactly how long that break will be. In this way, you have planned when you will allow yourself to be “distracted” (in other words, when you will take a break) and you have created an incentive to work hard until that break. Just make sure that you stick to the plan! If you only allow yourself to be “distracted” for the time that you originally planned to be, then it can be considered a reward; otherwise it’s just an outright distraction!
*Have a schedule
It’s a lot easier to do homework if it simply forms part of a routine. But it’s hard to make something routine if every day is so different – different days of the week may mean getting home at different times, having different sporting commitments or cultural commitments. The best way to get around this is to draw up a proper schedule. In this schedule, write down everything that you will typically have to do on each day of the week. Once you’ve done this, look at each day and decide on a time slot that you will use to do your homework (now fill this in on the schedule too!). If you stick to your schedule, homework will become a routine and will be a lot easier to stay focused on.
*Try to actually enjoy it
We always find it easy to do things we enjoy. So why not try to enjoy doing your homework? Think of it as self-improvement – it’s making you more knowledgeable after all! When you come across something in your work that you don’t quite understand, try typing it into Google and reading up on it (but don’t be tempted to wander off to Facebook). The more you understand a topic, the more interesting it will seem and the more you’ll enjoy learning about it. It can be very satisfying to learn something new, you just have to have the right mindset.
*Set up your working area properly
Staying focused while doing your homework has a lot to do with your environment. Pick a suitable study area – don’t try and do your homework on your lap in front of the TV. Work at a table or on a hard surface and make sure that the area is well-lit. Choose a working area that is reasonably quiet, and (as I mentioned earlier) make sure that all distractions are switched off or far away.
Before you start working, get all the study material and stationary you need together. It’s always a good idea to have some scrap paper nearby as well, in case you just need to quickly write something down that doesn’t really belong in your exercise book. You may also want to poor yourself a glass of water. The idea is to have everything you could possibly need at your working area before you start. If you get up to fetch something, you put yourself at risk of being distracted.
Focusing on homework is tough, but it’s a whole lot easier if you approach it with the right mindset and the right habits.