We live in a world that is full of distractions so it can be a challenge to focus for longer periods of time on the demanding material needed for academic study. Being able to concentrate effectively is not a matter of will-power and forcing yourself, but about reflecting on what works for you, and setting up an environment that minimises your potential distractions.

Scroll down for our recommended strategies and resources. 

Set yourself up for success

This simple list of strategies looks at the main areas of your working environment and approach to see where you can make some small changes to avoid common distractions:

Seek support

Sometimes we can’t concentrate on studying because we have other stresses or priorities happening in our lives. You don’t have to deal with these alone. You can talk to Wellbeing or your Student Support Coordinator. If you would like an anonymous space to chat about how you are feeling, Brookes has partnered with Togetherall to provide 24hr access to online mental health support for students. You can register for Togetherall using your Brookes email address.

Be realistic

We often feel we need to sit still and concentrate for hours at a time. In reality, our minds tend to focus on average for 20 minute blocks. Thinking in terms of shorter segments of about 20-30 minutes with short 5 minute breaks in between can be more realistic and productive. There are more time management strategies here:

Train your mind to focus

Concentration is something we can develop with practice and through having healthy habits. Wellbeing have good resources:

Managing fragmentation of online materials

Many people find it harder to concentrate when learning online as there can be so many materials and recordings to click through. It can seem like an overwhelming and fragmented experience. Regain perspective by looking at the overall module aims and main issues in the module. How does this activity or recording fit with them? What are you trying to find out from these materials and why is that important? See the guide below for more strategies on how to connect your online learning into a coherent whole:

Switch off online distractions

Online meetings involve a number of simultaneous forms of communication, such as the chat box, online polls, and speaking to the group. You may also be tempted to check your email or text a friend at the same time. All these communication streams can quickly become distracting. Try to avoid dividing your attention during live meetings by closing browser windows, turning off notifications, and not checking your phone.

Plan non-screen time

Spending too much time in front of a screen can make you feel tired and headachy. It's easy to just continue watching another video, so explicitly plan in breaks and non-screen study time to give yourself variety and give your eyes a chance to recover. For more tips on avoiding screen fatigue see the link below: