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Stay Focused: Feel, Think, Act

With so many things going on and so many things to do it is hard for students to focus on one thing such as homework or a test. Below are some helpful tips for staying on track.

1. Know your learning style. Understand your weaknesses and strengths.

2. Fidget! Use fidget toys or another item you like to help you focus.

3. When you “hit a wall” while studying switch to a different subject. Come back to the other task later.

4. Breathe! Before you start your homework or a test. Take 3 deep breaths and visualize yourself successfully completing the task. If you lose focus in the middle of a task stop and take 3 deep breaths as well.

5. Stand up and stretch when you lose focus. Stretch your arms up in the air while standing straight and tall. Then, stretch fold your arms down and touch your toes. Do this a few times. This helps blood circulate to the brain. Afterwards, you will be ready to sit, focus, and begin again.

6. Eat, drink, sleep! All three are vital to your well-being and affect your ability to focus.

7. Get off the phone! If you need to put it in a different room or in a bag where it is not in your vision. This way it won’t distract you.

8. Examine your environment. Where are you studying? Is it conducive to studying? Do you need to change something?

9. Choose your study buddies wisely! You know who will help you focus and who won’t. Sometimes your best friend is not the best person to study with.

10. Handwritten notes will keep you focused and help you retain more information than notes you take on the computer or tablet. They help you create visuals, stay engaged, and promote self-questioning.

11. Create routines. Prioritize. Use a planner system.

12. Schedule distractions. Use the pomodoro app to schedule breaks. Breaks are essential to staying focused.

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How parents can support students

1. Ask your student to describe a time when they were able to focus well. Ask: What helped you stay focused?

2. When it comes to your learning style what strategies do you use to leverage your strengths? What strategies do you use to develop your weaknesses?

3. If there was one thing you could change about the environment in which you study what would it be?

4. How can I help you focus?

5. What study strategies are you currently using that work?  What is not working? What new things to you want to do to help you increase your focus and be successful?

Melanie Black of Student Futures is a certified academic life coach for students and teens. She has a passion to help students succeed. Academic coaching helps develop life skills for students as well as gives them academic strategies, which help to decrease anxiety and stress in students. Contact Melanie Black today for a free consultation at or (904) 487-8269.