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How to concentrate for long hours

As much as we try to stay organised and plan our time effectively there inevitably comes a time when deadlines pile up and we find ourselves needing more hours than there are days.

So how can you be your most effective when the deadline is looming? We spoke to one of Swinburne Online’s Student Coaches Vivien to find out her top tips for remaining productive over a long period of time.

1. Change up your environment

This won’t always be possible but if you have a block of free time to study, try getting out of the house.

The library is great - not only will you easily find a quiet nook, you’ll also be surrounded by other people who have their heads in their books too! When you leave your house you need to be organised, which also puts you in a great study headspace.

2. Plan your time

When there’s a lot to get done it’s easy to get overwhelmed and your efficiency can dwindle.

Grab a pen and write down all the tasks on your to-do list. Then, prioritise those tasks by marking them urgent, important, both or neither. When you have an idea of what is urgent and important it will help you plan your focus for each day.

 

When you have an idea of what is urgent and important it will help you plan your focus for each day.

3. Take short breaks

Working longer doesn’t necessarily mean getting more done. In fact, a study into the optimum work to break ratio found that 52 minutes of focus, followed by a 17 minute break was the best for productivity.

So if you’re planning on putting in a few hours, it’s really important that you take good quality breaks. That means you need to get away from your computer, go for a walk or grab a coffee – anything that takes you out of your study space and helps refresh your mind.

4. Fuel your brain

Some foods are just better for your productivity. To stay at your best, make sure you include plenty of fruit and vegetables and keep well-hydrated which will help keep your attention sharp. There are many articles on foods that boost brainpower so do your research and start cooking!  

5. Sleep

The best thing you can do for your attention span, memory and general wellbeing is to get enough quality sleep. Not only does sleep help reduce stress, it’s also vital to helping you sustain a big study session. See our tips for a good night’s slumber.