Recently, I had to gather all my concentration to start working on my master thesis. This exercise is hard and time-consuming. Thus, it is compulsory to stay focus and efficient for the longest time. However, I easily lose my concentration. A white wall quickly becomes more attractive than my studies and my mind spreads itself with a disconcerting ease. To fix this, I absolutely needed to find a solution. That is why I tried several techniques to stay focus for the longest time.
The first technique I tried, move regularly. Based on the assessment that immobility harms your performances, it is then recommended moving regularly. This technique recommends standing up and walk every 30-40 minutes to change your mind and get some fresh air. Ma small personal approach is to drink a lot of water. The point here is every 30-40 minutes, I need to go to the toilets and stretch your legs.
The concept here is simple and relies on a brain mechanism. You just have to start the chronometer on your phone for 5 minutes and try to stay focus 100% until the end. Our brain will push us to achieve this simple goal, by staying focused 100% for the 5 minutes. Once the 5 minutes are done, just restart the chronometer for 10 minutes, then 15, then 20, etc… The ideal spot is between 15 and 20 minutes. Personally, I could not go beyond 20 minutes.
PS: Try the Forest App, a tree will grow as long as you don’t use your phone. Pretty thrilling!
Divide your final objectives
To have a final objective as big as “write a Master Thesis” is too significant for a one-shot. And a too large objective hard to achieve is demotivating. You will tend to push the due date.
Think about dividing your objectives in your work, by doing a list of small intermediary objectives you can achieve easily. By associating small objectives, you will be more motivated to go forward, and quickly tick the lines of this to-do list.
For instance, “Write a Master Theses” is too big. Start with “chose a subject, a country, an industry or a time-bound.” then “ask yourself questions”,”try to identify an issue, a core research question” etc…
And this way of working is useful in any other kind of job.
Get daily objectives
This tip is related to the previous one. Before starting your workday, try to establish a small list of daily objectives you could achieve. Small objectives like “write 3 pages today, study the section about biology, read 30 pages, etc…” By having 2-3 small objectives for your day, you will work better and faster. You will also have the satisfaction to realize your project is going forward.
Do not hesitate to link this tip to other tips of the post. This is a good technique to stay focus by putting small daily challenges in your life, and this works well with competitive people.
This is certainly the most famous technique here. It relies on Francesco Cirillo‘s work during the 80s. Based on brain mechanisms, the Pomodoro technique recommends to work hard for 20 minutes, take 5 minutes break and do it again. By linking this with small objectives, you could work significantly faster.
Fun fact : Pomodoro comes from “Pomodori” which means tomato in Italian. Indeed, the first cook chronometer used for this work was the famous tomato chronometer.
Here is a list of tips you can link with the previous techniques. They are related to your work environment or working conditions.
Work outside his house
It is a classic tip, but it works. Working outside his house allow you to avoid distractions. No more books, manga, series, siblings or parents. There is only you and your objective!
The ideal place will be a place next to your house, where you can work in silence and serenity. No transportation time and a quiet work environment. Hopefully, in China, there is a lot of public libraries or coworking spaces like WeWork.
This tip is simple. Caffeine helps you stay awake and focused. Do not drink coffee to excess, at high doses, caffeine is harmful to health. During the afternoon, a coffee will harm your sleep, and thus your concentration in the next morning.
Differentiate Work and Home
Do a clear distinction between house and work. When you are at work, give everything you have, do your best and once you’re coming back home, work is over. Use this time to think of something else, watch a serie or enjoy your free time. You will have the time to get back to work tomorrow. This is time for a break and avoid burnout.
Once you are home, no more stress, you are back in your haven of peace. This will help you sleep better, far from all the stress and anxiety of your work. A good night of sleep is essential to stay focus in the morning, more lively, and less susceptible to fatigue. This Master thesis will give you a hard time, so face it in good condition.
This technique will require more time to achieve your finals goals, however, it will allow you to work without putting too much pressure and poisoning your mind.
Specific hours for specific tasks
Dedicate specific hours to special tasks. Indeed, your brain is made so your productivity varies during the day. Some will be most focused by working mathematics in the morning and geography in the afternoon. On a personal side, I know I can write more 1-2 hours before lunch. Thus, I keep these hours for the redaction, and the rest to research.
I tried every one of these techniques and I try to use them when I work on a project. I’ve also seen several other techniques that didn’t seem interesting or efficient.
To go further, here are some articles you may be interested in about others techniques, tips or thoughts to stay focus at work :
- 7 façons pour rester superconcentré… à court et long terme
- 15 façons scientifiques de rester concentré toute la journée
- 6 conseils pratiques pour rester concentré(e) au travail
- Comment être tout le temps parfaitement concentré ?
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