We’re all familiar with what a to-do list is. And whoever uses it, knows the benefits of having all your tasks written down in advance, and then always knowing what’s left to get done.
It’s a simple and yet powerful strategy to be productive and finish all the important things you want to.
But the problem comes when people start to include many more items in it than they should. Then this list – that was supposed to be short and to the point – gets bigger and bigger, and at some point you start avoiding even looking at it.
Also, we often lose focus, get distracted, start doing other things that only waste out time and get us nowhere.
That’s when it’s time for a not to-do list.
It’s the opposite of the to-do one, and as Tim Ferriss says:
“Not-to-do” lists are often more effective than to-do lists for upgrading performance. The reason is simple: what you don’t do determines what you can do.”
I’m sure there are things you find yourself doing without realizing, stuff that takes you hours but doesn’t really change anything, old procrastination habits, and so on.
Well, write all these down and be mindful of them.
Sit down and take some time to figure out what these activities are, and make a list for the next day. Then, look at it as often as you look at your to-do list.
You’ll get much more done, will feel proud of yourself, won’t be under the control of the time-wasting habits of our generation (like social media), will have more time for meaningful tasks, and will be more focused throughout the whole day.
What can you include in a not to-do list?
– checking email more than 2 times a day; – using your phone in bed; – getting up after 8 am; – being late; – watching TV; – thinking about editing when writing; – spending time with people that make you feel bad about yourself (here are 5 types to avoid); – doing tasks someone else is supposed to do; – eating sugar; – drinking coffee on an empty stomach; – trying to do more than one thing at a time; – feeling upset about something you can’t change; – drinking during the week; etc.
You get the point.
Include all the things you want to stop doing, the stuff you feel is taking you nowhere, the annoying habits you have that you want to avoid.
Once you make such a list your mind will consider them something important than needs to get done. And it will be more conscious of these activities, in this case – its goal will be to avoid them no matter what.
So that’s a simple and easy technique, but which can be powerful beyond measure once you implement it and make it an important part of your days.
All people have been interested in studying at one moment in their lives. There are different goals set for diverse learners and each of them requires serious learning at one point in time.
Successful learners are those with full concentration during their studies as this helps them in remembering what was learned and apply it in the undertaken tests. However, irrespective of the reasons as to why people study, most of the times one would have his mind invaded by different thoughts distracting his concentration.
It is also possible to have one diverted by noises and stories made by one’s roommates, children, and neighbors among others.
With these intrusions, an individual would lose focus and this is what is required to be successful in what one was reading. It is therefore important to identify possible issues that can lead to distraction in order to come up with the most appropriate ways of remaining focused. Here are some tips:
1. Pick the right time and place when reading.
This helps in getting rid of the clear distractions.
For instance, a person would not easily focus if he chooses to study in the presence of friends who are engaged in other activities. Similarly, one would not read well if with music, television, phone, or computer on.
Once the phone vibrates or rings, an individual would be tempted to answer and this would divert his attention.
In understanding how to stay focused, it is recommended that a reader has conducive environment bearing in mind that different learners would stay alert at different circumstances.
This is an indication that no single environment fits all types of students. The right time would also involve studying at the moment when a learner feels comfortable with the schedule such as in the evening or very early in the morning.
The place chosen should not be the classroom or bedroom. But rather a quiet and nice place with a relaxed sitting position such as the library or the office.
2. Take frequent breaks.
In addition, tips for students indicate that instead of succumbing to distraction, a pupil has to take short breaks.
When engaged in 45-minutes of learning, the student should take breaks of between ten and twenty minutes. Taking longer of breaks of over 20 minutes are dangerous for they might lead to forgetting what one was initially studying.
By planning breaks with an alarm, you not miss them or accidentally take longer ones.
Breaks are considered very crucial because they help the brain to recharge after processing the earlier acquired information. Breaks involving walking around should also be taken as an opportunity to improve recalling memory and test scores.
Breaking in between reading is, therefore, a good way of ensuring that a reader does not overburden his brain/mind with information that would not be processed. Taking pauses in between the reading session refreshes the brain and makes it possible to read for long and wide volumes.
3. Staying focused while reading is also linked with staying motivated.
As stated on EssayZoo, there are different forms of distractions for varied learners and this can be addressed by understanding the reason behind one’s studying.
This is done by taking a test or exam as something meant to challenge the reader’s learning. Since a person’s learning would eventually be rated, the process should start by setting a goal.
Even though the set goal should not be unrealistic, it should be challenging so that the learner can perform better than he has been found in the past tests or maybe better than people expect.
Once an individual is able to surprise others based on their expectations, he would feel motivated to continue studying.
Additionally, learning should be motivated with a reward, which acts as a form of self-control by ensuring that a student is compensated for hard work, studying well, being prepared, and performing well in an exam.
Encouragement should also be done by understanding what learning is important, which is different for diverse readers but all meant to enhance attentiveness to achieve personal goals.
4. Getting enough sleep during studying is a vital way of improving concentration.
Even though many of the times pupils learn under pressure especially when exams are near, this does not mean an individual should read without sleep.
Just like taking breaks during a day of reading, sufficient sleep refreshes the brain and makes it ready to be fed with and process acquired information.
Learning is successful if one can remember and apply the learned information during a test. This is possible if a person is able to actively concentrate during the planned hours of studying.
According to tips for students, studying for long hours without break or sleep is on strenuous and does not bear the expected results.
Dedicating at least 6-8 hours of sleep ensures that a person wakes up fresh, alert, ready, and relaxed for the day’s scheduled learning activities.
Once ready to learn, a student would be organized and in an ordered place with only the reading materials a person requires, aware of the number of hours to spend on a topic, and the number of breaks he will take including their times.
5. Stay calm to concentrate.
Lastly, remaining focused when learning can be done by practicing concentration.
Once a student has everything he needs on the table, he should not postpone the learning exercise. It is advisable that a pupil is aware of the most crucial information to study first before proceeding to the rest. This is to ensure that one is guided by key concepts that would make the learning enjoyable and encouraging.
Also, practice concentration by not panicking, minimize computer and phone use, don’t listen to music unless it aids in studying, and remaining on topic.
It is notable that by panicking, one would make mistakes.
So make sure you remain calm, take deep breaths, and convince yourself that you read, understand, and pass the exams.
Further, a student should turn the computer, Internet, and the cell phone off to ensure maximum concentration. This is to avoid responding to text messages or searching via the Internet things that are not related to the topic of study.
It is arguable that listening to music when learning acts as a distraction because the learner is provided with additional information to process thus interfering with the real intention of the learning process.
In order to stay on-topic, you shouldn’t explore different subjects at the same time more so when studying boring, complex, and unexciting topics.
Studying would thus be effective if a person remains focused in order to achieve the set goals. Nobody enrolls for a course or learning institution without a goal. This would be achieved if concentration is always at its maximum.
While there are major ways of enhancing attentiveness, the discussed ones in this essay are picking the right time and place, instead of succumbing to distraction, taking short breaks, staying motivated, getting enough sleep, and practicing concentration.
The aim is to ensure that a learner understands the importance of learning and is committed to achieving his intentions.