Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

How to concentrate

  1. Sep 14, 2009 #1
    Hello everyone. I find that when I do homework, my brain tends to wander a lot. The result is that I take very inefficient amounts of time to do simple assignments and inordinate amounts for challenging ones. Does anyone know of methods to help increase my concentration?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 14, 2009 #2
    Alot of people watch movies, listen to music or play games from their main desk with a computer. That can be a big distraction if you do homework in the same place. Solution is to create a small study corner or study in the library which is away from all the recreational activities.
  4. Sep 14, 2009 #3


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Hi quantum13. I'm the same way. I found that going to a dedicated place helped me. I went to the Reading Room at my university...what a great room...


    Also, I wore earplugs.

    But I don't think it was the fantastic room or the earplugs that did the trick...it was the ritual of it all that set my mind to studying.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2009
  5. Sep 14, 2009 #4
    Yep, your bioclock will begin to adjust if you study the same time everyday. 1-2 weeks of regular attendence works for me.
  6. Sep 14, 2009 #5
    Some people need to eat first, others need a release of tensions, others a hot shower - everyone is different. I agree with lisab - find something that works for you and stay with it.
  7. Sep 14, 2009 #6


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I just taught myself all the tricks to doing the work with the least amount of, well, work. So that way even if I was inefficient, I didn't spend a lot of time on it anyway.

    Warning: Results may vary
  8. Sep 14, 2009 #7


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    in the library! well, if I go there it won’t take me 20 minutes before I become asleep!:biggrin: I know it’s odd.

    actually, I think it depends on your personality, where/when/how do you like to study? for example, I know people who can’t study at all unless there is enough noise around, others like to study at night, and vice versa. bottom line, you have the answer to your Q, but I have this advice for you, don’t start studying before you’re done with your other concerns, good luck :smile:
  9. Sep 15, 2009 #8
    I used to never study for exams without episodes of the simpsons or Top Gear in the background. And I'm happy to say

    that it doesn't work.

    Just get your head down and study for a certain period of time. Take a break, then do it again.

    It's almost like sex. You can't go for just 3 seconds, but you can't keep going on and on for hours on end. Thrust for a few minutes, switch positions, take a breather, say some romantic things, funny things, get ready, thrust again.

    That is to say, you shouldn't be saying romantic things and funny things to your book, especially in a public place like a library. And don't have sex with it either. Just study.

    For homework, do the same thing but just take it one problem at a time (if it's math or science). If it's English, write a paragraph (if it's writing), read a few pages, and then take a moment to digest it all and take a breather. If you persist in such a manner, your work will be done more efficiently, you won't rack your brain and you won't be too distracted with long and tiring sessions of homeworking and studying.
  10. Sep 15, 2009 #9
    Don't ask me. I lost my job at Tropicana because I couldn't concentrate.
  11. Sep 15, 2009 #10


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Bruce Lee's philosophy was that your body had to be solid before your mind could. Exercise and eat well.
  12. Sep 15, 2009 #11


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Try a few different "methods". What works varies from person to person.
    I more or less have to listen to music in order to be able to concentrate. It is a habit I picked up in high school and I still use this "method". I have an mp3 player I sometimes use in my office and nearly always in the lab (especially if I am working with something under a microscope and really need to focus).
    Note that it has to be music I've listened to many times before*; I can't focus at all if I am listening to music on the radio or TV.

    Note, that I am not saying that this works for everyone; many people can't concentrate at all while listening to music. But this -and any other method you think might work- is worth trying. Sooner or later you will figure what works for you.

    *This habit has had some strange consquences. I still e.g. tend to associate REM with analysis (it depends on the record), Prodigy with EM and Nick Cave with statistical physics; simply because I was listening to these artists when studying for those exams.
    (and no, unfortunately I am not joking, and yes I am a bit weird:shy:).
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook