Tips for Staying Focused as Temperatures Rise


As winter comes to a close and temperatures begin heating up across the country, it can be difficult to keep focused on schoolwork—even as final exams rear their heads. Here are our tips for keeping your head cool from spring fever.

Tip 1: Study outside

When the weather gets nice, you might find yourself staring out the library window, wishing you weren’t cooped up studying. Instead of wistfully looking outside, find a bench or a picnic table where you can study. Bonus tip: Scope out a spot in the shade (and near an outlet) if you’re planning to use a laptop or tablet.

Tip 2: Take small breaks

Staying focused for long chunks of time can be difficult, especially when you’re anticipating summer vacation. Build some small breaks into your study schedule: try studying for 45 minutes uninterrupted, followed by a 10-minute break. Set a timer to avoid constantly staring at your watch or phone.

Tip 3: Make a to-do list

Even if you’re not typically the to-do list type, having clear guidelines for what you need to accomplish can be helpful as winter turns to spring. Students often find themselves in pinches at the end of the year as big exams, papers (with APA style or MLA style citations), and projects approach. Although deadlines can sneak up on you, you can ensure your success by planning in advance. For longer term assignments, try creating mini-deadlines for yourself before the big due date approaches. That way, you won’t have to scramble at the last moment.

Tip 4: Have a refreshing drink

Staying hydrated is important throughout the year, but it becomes even more important as temperatures increase. If you don’t feel like sipping flat water, try flavored sparkling water to add a summery element to your study session. For a more filling alternative, swap out your usual drink for a fruity smoothie.

Tip 5: Work with friends

Studying can be better with company. Ask a friend to be your study buddy, and promise to hold each other accountable until semester’s end. If you prefer to work alone, you can still check in with each other periodically to make sure your studying is going according to plan.

Tip  6: Reward yourself

Building small breaks into your schedule is important, but what’s even more important is to reward yourself for a job well done. Keep the ultimate goal—good grades for the semester—in mind, but don’t neglect to have some fun, too. If you want to go out for ice cream or go shopping, do it! But tell yourself, “I can go get ice cream after I read Chapters 2 and 3 in my textbook.” The promise of a treat will lead to higher productivity—and ensure that your work plan stays on track.

Before turning in final papers, make sure to check your in text citations or works cited page to make sure your citations are accurate!  

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About the Author

Ella Chochrek

Ella is a student at Washington University in St. Louis studying political science and psychology. Originally from Westchester, New York, Ella loves to write and edit. She is editor-in-chief of Wash. U.’s student newspaper, Student Life, and tutors students on, primarily helping with paper editing.