Youth Counselling

I can’t concentrate on my studies

I can’t concentrate on my studies, as when I study, most of the time I feel sleepy. The biggest problem is my mobile. I cannot keep it away from me; I have to study from it as most of the notes are on it. I want to study but I just cannot and my family expects very good marks in my exams.
Soumit (18)

Dear Soumit,

Looks like you feel quite helpless about not being able to focus on your studies, and there is the added pressure of your family expectations for good marks. Even though you say you want to study, it seems like you don’t have a strong personal motivation to do so — this makes it easy to let your mobile control your attention.

Firstly, make studies meaningful. Look at your course of study as a path to the career you are interested in. To make your studies interesting, connect them to your interests, to real life. If sports interest you, connect the topics you learn to sports; this will make it more fun and easier to master.

Secondly, use the brain-based technique that I often mention. Study in short sessions. Start with 15-minute sessions; then increase them to 25-to-40-minute sessions. During the session, crack a deal with yourself to a) agree to put a DND on your mobile; refer to it only for notes and to keep an alarm for the required duration, and b) to learn a small amount but learn it thoroughly. To learn actively, use written techniques — note-making, diagrams, charts, graphic organizers, infographics, mind maps, etc. Then after the session take a 5-minute break as a reward. Set another alarm and get back to another session, then take a 10 to 15-minute break. Look at completing a study target (number of topics), rather than number of hours. You can space this out instead of sitting at one go. Over and above this, revise every week. Create your own test papers; solve papers. Study a variety of topics, not just one.

Support yourself by including physical exercise, nutrition, a hobby, and most importantly sleep, in your daily routine. Keep separate mobile time-slots to check messages, see videos or play games. Limit it to no more than 45-50 minutes in the day. Do consult your family doctor to see if you need any vitamin supplements for a short period of time.

Active learning + daily routine (exercise-nutrition-sleep) is a great way to improve your academic performance. Try it!

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Nasreen Hashambhoy is a Counsellor, Life Coach and a Facilitator of training programmes for schools and corporates. Through a combination of coaching, counselling and facilitation techniques based on cognitive science and positive psychology, she helps clients achieve their true potential. She is the author of the series Values In Action published by Better Yourself Books.

Nasreen Hashambhoy

Nasreen Hashambhoy is a Counsellor, Life Coach and a Facilitator of training programmes for schools and corporates. Through a combination of coaching, counselling and facilitation techniques based on cognitive science and positive psychology, she helps clients achieve their true potential. She is the author of the series Values In Action published by Better Yourself Books.