Distractions come in a number of different flavors. When it comes to class time, doodling is one of the most common. It also happens to be the subject of this week’s question.
I can never take good notes in class. I try to focus but I always end up distracting myself with doodling or some other stupid thing. I just can’t focus through class.
This inability to focus in class is usually a symptom of something that’s deadly when it comes to success in school. It’s typically a symptom of your brain actually working in the way it’s supposed to work. Not being able to focus through something you find particularly boring is what your brain is supposed to do. (It’s supposed to not get distracted by the boring background noises in order to focus on potential tigers in bushes.)
I’m saying this to try and emphasize a major point. Not being able to focus is not something you should feel bad about for any personal health reasons. It’s a good thing. The only reason you might want to feel bad about it is because you’re not maximizing your efficiency through class time. Don’t lose sight of the difference. The problem probably isn’t you. The problem is probably your class.
That being said, now that you know your class is all screwed up and boring to you, you can change your behavior to adapt to it. It may never be the most interesting thing in the world but you may be able to dig in and find details that you can find interesting. Finding those things can help you get distracted from class less often.
One of the most useful strategies I’ve found for increasing my focus on a class is to change my approach to taking the class. I often don’t take notes in class. I don’t hold onto anything. I just sit and watch the teacher. Then I focus on, instead of taking notes, what the teacher says and writes. I try to treat my brain as my notepad. I repeat things the teacher emphasizes in my head.
This is one of the most basic ways to push yourself into a better position for studying. When you’re not taking notes, you may feel a pressure that you have to remember what your teacher is teaching. That pressure can help you remember significantly more of what the teacher says. Since you don’t have a pen or paper to worry about, you’re also much less likely to get distracted.
One of the other major advantages of this strategy is that, assuming you’re watching and listening carefully, the teacher will notice how much you’re actually focusing on the class. This can help when it comes to the subjective grading situations.
Notes may help but they’re often overrated. For someone that loves to doodle, they can be such a miserable distraction that they’re not even close to worth the extra trouble.
If you have perfect focus in class then you don’t need notes. If you don’t have perfect focus in class then you won’t have good notes anyway. It’s probably better to put your focus into some other area like learning memory tricks that can make perfect focus in class less valuable.
I should add one note though. Some studies have suggested some students play with their pencil and doodle to focus better on what their teacher is saying. People aren’t designed to sit motionless during class. These little movements can help focus particularly active students. That being said, if you say that it’s hurting your ability to focus then trust yourself and try stopping. You can always go back if you realize you’re wrong.
You can still study in less than 15 minutes a night while still scoring near the top of your class. This blog is all about teaching those strategies. Be sure to follow along, read the archives, and check out the ebooks in the sidebar.
Leave Procrastination In The Dust! Never EVER let it stop you again.
Doing stuff is easy – sometimes, right?
You only procrastinate the stuff that sucks. You don’t say, “Ahhh… I’ll read that text from my crush later.” Nope. Now… Any pause is intentional and coordinated to respond better.
Here is the problem with academics:
You probably think most academic stuff sucks – at least a little. (Especially compared to other things you could be doing.)
And the thing is:
FORCING YOURSELF TO STUDY JUST MAKES IT WORSE!
You’re slowly hardening your association of school and being miserable.
You need to create positive associations with academics. You want your brain to be getting hyped up and positive when you’re thinking about studying and giving into this internal oligarchical instinct to force yourself to studying – ain’t helpin’.
Chill the internal dictator for a moment…
A big secret: You need to STOP forcing yourself to study so much.
But, if you’re not forcing yourself then how are you going to see those killer straight-a’s that you’re always pining over?
It’s not difficult but it can sound weird to unfamiliar eyes.
Get your copy of my book about How To Get Happier Straight A’s.
It only costs $4.99 (and if these strategies don’t work like magic like it has for thousands of other students then you can get a full refund.)