When it’s time to study, it seems like everything other than your books becomes incredibly interesting. It takes next to nothing to become distracted, and even things that would never interest you otherwise become highly entertaining.

Studying is essential, and learning how to stay focused while doing so will prepare you for the future. Whether you’re a student with an exam fast approaching, or have just received new information at your job, these tips will help you stay focused while studying so you can achieve outstanding results.

1. Stick to a Schedule

Tips to Staying Focus while Studying

You are more likely to study when you put it into your schedule. Otherwise, you will fill your time with something else, or underestimate the amount of time you have available to study “at a later time”. Life can also become quite chaotic fairly quickly without one. So, set a schedule, whether daily or weekly, to ensure that you stay focused and on top of the material you’re learning. Knowing that you have dedicated time to studying will prepare you mentally, while also decreasing stress. However, you must stick to the schedule you make. Never push studying back simply because something else came up.

2. Don’t Overcommit Yourself

Tips to Staying Focus while Studying

With the grind of today’s society, it seems normal to be overly committed and completely bombarded with things to do. However, when you know you have something to study for, learn to say no.  Whether it’s a night out on the town, a networking meeting or helping a friend, you have to prioritize to ensure that you give yourself plenty of study time, as well as time for some well-needed rest and relaxation.  A hectic schedule will increase your stress levels, which will make it even harder to study and retain information. If a proposed activity can wait, let it.  Say no to all the activities that will complicate your schedule, and yes to the ones that will reduce stress and create more time for you to focus on things of priority.

3. Find the Perfect Study Space

Tips to Staying Focus while Studying

Studying on your bed with your favourite sitcom playing in the background is tempting, but it won’t be nearly as effective as it should be. In order to fully retain the information you’re studying, you must be in the right environment and mindset. Too many distractions will quickly take you away from the learning process. Avoid places that are too busy, such as the local hot spot that is famous for their cup of java, and choose an area that is a little more quaint and quiet. Libraries, lounges and even picnic areas can be an excellent place to study, assuming they aren’t overridden with people and noise. You also want to choose a study area that is well lit and comfortable. A bad setup can significantly affect your work efficiency, so never underestimate the power of finding the perfect study spot.

4. Turn off the Tech

Tips to Staying Focus while Studying

Forget the technology. Although you love your tablet, iPod and smartphone, turn it off, put it down and don’t pick it back up until your schedule declares studying time to be over. All of the notifications, text messages and phone calls are just going to take away from your productivity. Now, you may be tempted to skip over this studying tip, especially if you plan on using your electronic devices to “help” you study. But stick with the traditional paper, pen and highlighter method to ensure that you fully retain all the information you’re studying. Make sure that your perfect study area is a gadget-free zone, and you’ll get the most out of the time you have dedicated to studying.

5. Schedule Time for Distractions

Tips to Staying Focus while Studying

With all that said, studying intensely for long periods of time with absolutely no enjoyment in your life won’t be beneficial either. With no breaks, you are setting yourself up to be a prime candidate for a burn out. Schedule time for distractions, and you will be more focused when it comes time to hit the books. See these study breaks as a reward for your hard work, and let that motivate you to sit back down and study once your break is over. All work and no play can be just as detrimental as all play and no work. So, find a balance that works for you to ensure your happiness and productivity are equally satisfied.

Inappropriate forms of studying are highly tempting. After all, everyone likes to listen to music, watch their favourite television show and surround themselves with good company. However, these are inappropriate forms of studying because they are not effective and with drastically affect your productivity.  Follow these tips for staying focused while studying, and you’ll get the perfect balance of productivity and play.