Focus

“Turn off your email; turn off your phone, disconnect from the internet; figure out a way to set limits so you can concentrate when you need to, an disengage when you need to. Technology is a good servant but a bad master.” – Gretchen Rubin

This lack of focus can have major costs for you.

Many high school and college students struggle with maintaining focus – especially on assignments that require sustained attention, like writing papers or reading textbooks.  Working while distracted can dramatically increase the amount of time you need to spend on your homework.  All this extra time spent on homework can cause you to stay up late and lose sleep…which makes it even more difficult for you to stay focused and avoid distractions the following day.

There are many reasons why you may have trouble focusing, including…

Physical factors (low energy, dehydration, etc.)

External distractions (phone, computer, siblings/parents, etc.)

Internal distractions (thoughts, worries, etc.)

Difficult or confusing task

Low motivation

No sense of urgency

Studies have shown that college students who spend more time on social media tend to spend less time studying and have lower GPAs than their peers. 

Luckily, there are quick and simple solutions that you can use to reduce distractions and increase your ability to focus! 

Here are some…

Nourish your body & refresh your brain

Work at a time of day when you naturally have more energy.

Exercise before you study.  Just 15-20 minutes of aerobic exercise can give you an immediate boost in executive function, which helps you avoid distractions and maintain focus on your work.

Drink more water!  Studies have shown that even being slightly dehydrated can have a significant impact on attention and focus.

If you’re having trouble focusing while you sit, try standing or walking while you work. Some find that they can think and focus more effectively while they’re physically active.

Take short breaks after completing each assignment, or after 30-60 minutes of focused work.  Getting up to walk around, refill your water bottle, use the bathroom, pet your dog, etc. can help reset your focus & attention.

Eliminate external distractions

Turn off or silence your electronic devices.  If you can’t turn them off, put them on silent and turn off all notifications. Block internet access for websites that tend to distract you with one of the great tools designed for this.

Try changing your location to someplace less familiar, where there are fewer potential distractions nearby.  For example – instead of your room, do your work in the library.  That may  be an awesome hiding place!

If studying in silence is distracting, try listening to ambient sounds or music

Minimize internal distractions

If your mind is racing in 100 different directions as you sit down to work, take a few minutes before you start to write down everything that’s on your mind so you can deal with it later, after your work is completed.

Keep a notepad (or a text file) nearby while you’re working, so you can quickly jot down any ideas that come to mind while working but are NOT related to the task you’re working on. Each time, remind yourself: that’s NOT what I’m doing right now.

If you’re worried about something, make a commitment to worry about it at a specific future time later in the day, and set an alarm to remind yourself so your brain can trust you enough to let it go, knowing you’ll get to it later.

Make it easy to get started

Identify the physical next step you need to take in order to make progress with your work and focus on WHAT you need to do to move things forward. For example, instead of telling yourself you need to write your essay, just focus first on finding the rubric.

Shrink the task down to something so easy that you’re 100% confident in your ability to do it successfully.  For example: commit to focus on your work for just 5 minutes, or to write just ONE paragraph, and then give yourself a break.

Reduce performance pressure. For example: Instead of trying to write a “good” essay, start by creating a rough first draft.

Increase your motivation

Create a reward, or incentive, for yourself by planning a specific, fun activity you will do as soon as you finish your work.

Focus on how good you will feel as soon as you have completed it, or about how much better you will do on your next test. 

Increase the time pressure

Reduce the total amount of time you have available to do the work, by creating constraints that require you to finish your work at a particular time.

Instead of setting aside 3 hours for homework, divide your work into shorter intervals and give yourself a deadline for each task. 

C.A.N. is here for you to ensure that you are up to the challenges that lay ahead.  If you would like to discuss the transition to college and how C.A.N. can be of assistance, please fill out the contact us page on our website. http://www.canstudentconsultants.com/

A time and a place for everything

I want you to think about the reason you want to throw your hands up in surrender and give up. You probably like some of your classes but wish that were true of the amount of work you have to do for them! Do you feel like you can’t put your hands on your notes for this class or that?  Did you misplace that gift card you got for your birthday?  Do you cringe when you enter your room, because the clutter stresses you out?  Is your desk a crazy mess?

If you’re in the same boat as most of us, here are a few things to get you started in dealing with the stressful week and how to continue to manage it.  The easiest fix for your desk problem is to clean off your desk!  Its hard enough that you have to have a desk in your bedroom, because if it is not neat it will remind you of the things you have not done. The piles of papers are going to make you feel uneasy and mess with your sleep. So don’t do this to yourself.

It is time for you to get your desk cleaned off! Here is how to do this!  Do you ever run into the problem of knowing what you are looking for is on your desk someplace? There are so many papers on your desk that it takes forever to sort or plow through them to find the one thing you are looking for. Then your whole piling system LOL is destroyed in just a few minutes of frantic searching.

It is time to stop living this way! In order to accomplish this we need to get your desk cleaned off! It has been your catch; your mail dumping ground. Most of what is on your desk is trash!

Go get a trash can and three boxes. Use your timer and work fast! Take breaks!

Place a trash bag in the trash can!

Label boxes LEFT, RIGHT, CENTER

Take everything off the left side of your desk and put in box

Take everything off the right side of your desk and put in box

Take everything off the center of your desk and put in box

Stand back and look at your clean desk! Wipe it off.

Put the Left Box on the desk and start getting rid of trash real fast

Put the papers you need to keep back in the left box.

Do the same thing with the Center and Right box.

With the trash gone all that is left is important papers

Combine all important papers into one box. Label IMPORTANT

Empty Trash Can.

C.A.N. is here for you to ensure that you are up to the challenges that lay ahead.  If you would like to discuss the transition to college and how C.A.N. can be of assistance, please fill out the contact us page on our website. http://www.canstudentconsultants.com/

You’ve graduated….now what?

If fear and uncertainty is clouding the feelings of excitement and anticipation for this new chapter (college) of your life, you are not alone. 

As more and more college campuses close and learning goes online, it raises significant concerns for new students about what this summer and the fall semester will look like for them.

The virus is preventing new college students from participating in campus visits, standardized testing, and meeting their college peers.  This uncertainty that is flooding the country is seeping into students’ lives and multiplying the fear of their transition from high school to college life.

While this is understandable, you will need to put this aside and decide right here and now that regardless of what the world is dealing with, you will meet these challenges and succeed in spite of them.  These circumstances will shape you into who you will become.  Years from now, you will be able to say that you not only survived a pandemic but you had the most unique high school and college experience than any other generation!

You will not only get through this, but you will succeed.  We are all in this situation to help one another. 

C.A.N. is here for you to ensure that you are up to the challenges that lay ahead.  If you would like to discuss the transition to college and how C.A.N. can be of assistance, please fill out the contact us page on our website. http://www.canstudentconsultants.com/

Get a grip

You made it! You worked hard, got admitted to college and graduated from high school. But now what?  Here are a few words of advice to prepare you for the next stage of your academic journey: college.

Get Purpose, Build Relationships, Discover Your Identity, and Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan!

  1. Get a Purpose.  Researchers have shown that students who have high aspirations do better academically, seek out opportunities for professional and personal growth and take full advantage of what their college has to offer. What’s your goal? To be successful, set a goal to finish strong, and develop a sense of purpose for your college years. Once you do, you’ll feel like you’re flying with a strong tailwind. It’ll also help you avoid distractions, which will be many in college.
  2. Build Relationships. College and life were not intended to be a lonely journey. Research has found that the students who were most successful in college had two types of relationships: 1) good relationships with their faculty and administrators; and 2) they were engaged on campus and had a strong peer network. To be successful in college…and in life, you have to build relationships in both dimensions.
  3. Discover Your Identity. If someone asked you to complete the sentence, “I am _____,” what would you say? Probably your name, right? That’s how most of us would respond. But what if you couldn’t use your name? What attributes would you highlight?
  4. Plan, Plan, Plan. Another thing that separates the exceptional students from all others is their ability to plan — by the semester, by the week and by the day. Planning your work and working your plan are essential to success in college…and in life.

C.A.N. is here for you to ensure that you are up to the challenges that lay ahead.  If you would like to discuss the transition to college and how C.A.N. can be of assistance, please fill out the contact us page on our website. http://www.canstudentconsultants.com/

You have the power

I can give you the road map, but you have to drive the car.  You are responsible for 100% of your life.  We have been conditioned to blame something outside of ourselves for the parts of our life we don’t like.  We need to start saying to ourselves, “I have created my current conditions and can uncreate and re-create them.”

You need to stop looking outside of yourself for the answers as to why you don’t have what you want.  You have control over three things:

  1. Thoughts that you think
  2. Images that you visualize
  3. Actions that you take

You can either create or allow everything to happen to you.  In order to find your purpose consider this:

Make a list of times you have felt most joyful and alive (what are the common elements of these experiences?  Can you figure out a way to make a living doing these things?)

Create a compelling statement of your life purpose to guide and direct your behavior

Read your life purpose every day

Once you decide what you want, you have to decide how to get it.  Don’t live someone else’s dreams.  Don’t settle for less than you want. 

C.A.N. is here for you to ensure that you are up to the challenges that lay ahead.  If you would like to discuss the transition to college and how C.A.N. can be of assistance, please fill out the contact us page on our website. http://www.canstudentconsultants.com/