Can’t sit still, focus whilst learning?
in this post, I will be sharing with you the ways on how you can sit still
when you are learning something.
(This is most especially when learning something online).
There are times that we want to learn something for a project,
for our business or even for the course or in other words subject we are learning.
Finding something online may be the option
The only easiest place we can find good information to help us is online.
Sometimes we want to learn how we can better ourselves,
and the best information we have found is online.
But sometimes we are in a class, and we are unable to learn from the teacher.
This post is to help you sit still when you are learning something online,
but can also do with learning something without the internet, or in the class or doing work for your class.
Firstly, I would like to go into a condition called ADHD because I feel like this can be related in some way.
What is ADHD
ADHD is something that people suffer from that discourages them from learning effectively.
People with ADHD are unable to sit down for long periods of times or concentrate on a task.
I think this is mostly triggered when a person sees the activity they are doing is boring.
ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, which is caused by an effect in the brain.
I believe even those who are not diagnosed with ADHD can still have problems sitting still online.
I believe not being able to sit still has something to do with a chemical called dopamine.
It has been suggested that a reduction to dopamine has a part to someone having ADHD.
What is dopamine?
Dopamine is a chemical in the brain that makes you feel good. It is found when we do activities that provide pleasure.
This could be eating food we enjoy, watching television and even exercising.
I think what may stop someone from being able to sit still is the craving for something with pleasure.
When you spend your time getting pleasure constantly through your actions on a daily basis,
it can be hard to concentrate on tasks, that do not provide the pleasure you crave.
Why is it hard to learn something online, but easier to find something to eat, or easier to watch television?
It is due to pleasure, we find what we like the most easier to do than what we find boring.
I want you to be aware of dopamine because as human beings we crave pleasure,
and knowing this can make you aware of the actions you take on a daily basis.
Learning something online and Procrastinating
How do we find learning something online easier without avoiding it or procrastinating over it?
Firstly, procrastination is avoiding an activity that you are meant to do at the current moment and
planning to do it or leave it for a later time.
Procrastinating is very common when learning something online and the reason
is we may distinguish using the internet as pleasure.
Because of this, separating ourselves from pleasure can be difficult.
The reason why we postpone activities is usually that we see it as a boring task
and instead we want to do something that is fun.
Can’t Sit Still? – There are four ways that will help us sit still when learning online:
Firstly I would like to say that even though I mention learning online,
I believe this can also include when you are planning to learn without using the internet.
These are the 4 ways that can help us sit still when learning something online:
- Separate ourselves from the pleasure we crave to what is the most important to do at this current moment
- Mix work with pleasure
- Take short breaks
- Switch fun with imagination
Separating ourselves from the pleasure to what’s the most important
(Can’t sit still, this way could help you)
To separate yourself from pleasure to the most important, you need to first ask yourself
or identify how much time you spend on a daily basis doing something of pleasure,
this could be going on social media, watching tv or even eating food.
You might have an addiction for these things which is
preventing you to separate pleasure to whats the most important.
If you spend a ridiculous amount of time daily, which is at least 4 hours a day doing something out of pleasure,
you need to reduce those times, or split them up into different times.
Spending 1 hour doing something out of pleasure should be considered in terms of affecting your productivity
Spending 1-4 hours at once doing something out of pleasure will
prevent you from getting into the mindset of your work.
The way to separate yourself from pleasure, is you need to get into a zone.
If you spend 1 hour none stop taking part in doing something of pleasure, you have got in that zone already,
and it can be hard doing what is important. What zone do you mean?
Example Of Being In The Zone
I like to call it zone, and I don’t think you have heard of this before.
When I mean, the zone, I mean where your mindset is at and this mindset might include the environment you are in at that time.
I would call it the mindset of concentration.
The mindset of concentration occurs when doing activities.
An example I would give you to explain more of what a zone is, is when you are at the cinema to watch a film,
the lights are off and you are sitting in the cinema room.
You cannot go on social media or use your phone when you are in that zone. The full focus is on the film.
While the film is playing or when the film has finished, you leave the room,
and you get into a stage of confusion because you have to get used to the environment again.
But when you were in the cinema room, you were focused on the film at hand, and when you leave,
it is a different feeling, you have to get back to reality.
What I am trying to say is…
But what I am trying to say is you have got into the zone, where nothing else happens, only
what you need to do at the current moment.
When you leave that zone, it is hard to get back into reality.
How does this correlate with doing something important? Well, we need to ask ourselves how
can we get into the zone where we are focused on our work and distractions are not a priority.
How To Get In The Zone In Terms Of Learning
I think to get into the zone, we need to put our mindset on what is important, and focus completely on whats important.
Ask yourself based on what I have explained, how many minutes will it take to get used to being in the cinema room and focusing completely on the film at hand?
I would say 10 minutes at a minimum because this is when we understand or get an idea of what the film is about.
This will stop us from leaving the cinema room.
The lights are off and your phone must be off.
once you leave the room, you have to get back into reality.
Give yourself 10 minutes completely, for example, to focus on your work at hand, so that you start to have a mindset of concentration.
Firstly to get in the zone…
To get into the zone, we have to prep our environment. What is around us, would it distract us from what we are learning?
do we need to eliminate things around us?
A way to help prep your environment is to eliminate as many distractions as possible,
sit somewhere that is comfortable, have everything you need such as a notebook
and a pen to jot down what is helpful to what you are learning.
Another way to prep your environment…
Another way to prep your environment, where you will be learning or working on something is to
make your environment prevent you from leaving that environment
and force you to focus on the work. This could involve putting pillows around you
and barriers around you to prevent you from leaving that specific environment.
(In the cinema, the lights are completely off.)
A thing you can do is use different lights in the room to indicate you are in study mode.
This mood lamp is able to give lights of different colours in the room:
Wearing glasses as a reminder…
Another thing you can do is when you are in the “zone” wear the glasses you own
and have been advised to use while using a computer.
Take the glasses off when you are no longer in the zone.
It’s all about putting yourself in the study mode.
If you are in your room, get the environment you are in completely clean and tidy,
to avoid temptations and distractions, and put what distracts you in another room.
Make sure you have done everything you are meant to do before getting in that zone.
When you are ready to learn, a suggestion could be to give yourself 10 minutes to prep for what you are about to do.
An example to prep for what you are about to do is do something relatable, this could be writing what you are going to focus on the next hour
or watching a video in relation to motivate you or encourage you to get in that zone.
To stay in the zone, you must make sure you are fully comfortable,
using the toilet can be very important before you start learning,
and having everything you need should be a priority.
What I want you to know about this method
As I mentioned before, when you spend a full hour doing something pleasurable,
it will be hard to focus on what is important.
If you practice getting into the zone on a consistent basis,
it will be so easy to switch from pleasure to what’s most important.
The advice I would give you to make it easier, do not spend a full hour just partaking in what is pleasurable.
Let there be a space in that one hour, to do something more productive.
This could be going for a walk or doing what you need to do, like focusing on the goals you want to achieve.
A fact to consider
I want you to realise that when you are watching something on television,
there are always adverts in between and the reason for this is so that you can have a short break.
Trying the method I recommended can take time to adjust to.
But practising what I have explained on a daily basis will help you in terms of gaining self-discipline.
Now, the next question, is what do I do if I am learning from a tutorial video,
and unable to take notes or do anything until the video ends?.
This is when the next option comes in which is to mix work with pleasure.
Mix work with pleasure (Can’t sit still, this way could help you)
Firstly, we need to be aware of what do we like doing. What are our hobbies?
A hobby could be watching a movie, playing music, playing games, singing, going on social media.
When we know what we like doing, we will be able to know how to mix that with work.
I would also recommend thinking about other hobbies to take part in which will help you sit still while learning.
So how do we mix work with pleasure?
While you are listening to someone online as part of your learning for a specific topic, note-taking will help to allow you to sit still.
If note-taking is not an option, then the next option is to mix work with pleasure.
While you are listening to the person speaking, you can do something pleasurable at the same time.
For example, if you enjoy watching movies and you have a laptop and Netflix on it.
You can minimise the screen to watch Netflix and learn at the same time, this is the form of multi-tasking.
If this does not work, another hobby to look into is playing music.
This could range from classical music to what you like. Put it in a much lower volume.
Another thing that you can do is colouring. Use colouring pencils and colour an interesting picture you like while listening.
Colouring pencils Colouring book
But How Am I Meant To Concentrate When Learning Something Online And Mixing Work With Pleasure?
This technique I have explained is a suggestion that can work for you depending on which hobby you have.
Playing Netflix and learning something online can be difficult to do at the same time.
Personally, this technique is sometimes difficult for me.
So another hobby I do instead at times is play games or
do colouring and this helps me pay attention to what the person is saying online.
This also encourages me to take notes, because it allows me to pay more attention,
than daydream or go in my thoughts while the person who I am listening to is speaking.
Take Short Breaks
Mixing work with pleasure and taking short breaks can go hand in hand.
If what I have explained with mixing work with pleasure does not work,
another alternative which can relate to mixing work with pleasure is
to focus on what you are learning online for 5 minutes and then do something of pleasure for about one minute and let this be a cycle.
This does go against what I said about being in the zone
because you are not separating yourself from pleasure the easier way.
But this is a suggestion I think would work.
A technique that I believe would help in terms of taking short breaks is known to be called the Pomodoro Technique.
The Pomodoro technique…..
The Pomodoro technique is a system that promotes time management and productivity.
It was developed by a man called Francesco Cirillo In late 1980s.
The whole point of the Pomodoro technique is to focus on the work at hand
in the current moment at a time frame and consistently take short breaks.
It works by focusing on your work 25 minutes and then taking a 5 min break.
This is a 4-time cycle and then you are suggested to take a longer break
which is 2 hours and then you can repeat the whole cycle again.
Switch Fun With Imagination (Can’t sit still, this way could help you)
This is the last way that will help you sit still whilst you want to learn:
How do I switch fun with imagination?
I think what may be stopping us from sitting still when learning something online
could be our perspectives on ourselves in relation to the task at hand.
The perspectives we may have on ourselves is that the work is too hard,
boring and we will not be able to concentrate.
This means we may perceive ourselves having no discipline or
enough self-control to handle the task we dread on focusing on.
Thinking the work is hard to focus on…
When we are trying to learn something online, and we start to think the work
or in other words, what we are watching is hard or boring,
our easier alternative could be to
go on our phone to make us feel better or do anything for pleasure such as eating.
Thinking the work is too hard or is causing us some stress in some way,
can make us want to go on our phone to alleviate that stress because
we think we are unable to deal with that stress.
To Switch Fun With Imagination Do This
To switch fun with imagination, when you do feel that stress thinking in,
and start to think of using your phone as a way to pass time, imagine yourself completing that task,
imagine yourself being that disciplined or self-controlled person you desire.
Doing this daily could train your subconscious to think of yourself as that disciplined person you desire to become.
This method I learnt it through a book that explained about autogenic conditioning,
which is visualising the person you ought to become.
Visualising is guaranteed to help once you master it
When you visualise or imagine yourself completing the task or being a disciplined person.
Once that stress kicks in, it could help you to be calmer.
While learning something online, visualise yourself once that thought of work being hard kicks in.
You do not need to pause what you are watching, just imagine yourself being that person you desire to be.
Thinking of yourself as your ideal self daily will train you to become that person.
This method will also help you control your mind. For example, whenever a thought comes telling you that you are not good enough,
think about yourself achieving the belief that you are good enough.
The book that helped me learn about autogenic conditioning which is visualizing the person you ought to become is: Mastering Personal and Interpersonal Skills: Key techniques for effective decision-making and personal success
I highly recommend this book, it promotes time management to self-confidence to setting goals to positivity. Everything you need to know in terms of your self-improvement is in this book.
It explains about the subconscious mind and what limits us and how to remove any limitations.
To conclude, the 4 ways I have explained to help you sit still whilst learning
can make a huge difference in terms of your productivity.
These 4 ways will enable you to stay focused on what you are learning so that you can achieve the goals you set to achieve.
It is all about pushing through with what you struggle with the most, with focus and a positive mindset.
Check out some of my previous posts: How To Stick To Your Goals Purposely In 2020 and How To Set Goals For Life In 5 Holistic Ways To Maximise Potential.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a common mental illness characterized by the inability to concentrate or sit still. The condition is, of course, more involved than these two symptoms. However, when people think of ADHD, the image is of a young child squirming in his seat.Why is it so hard for me to stay focused while studying? ›
Distractions such as social media, phone calls, and a busy environment can affect your focus. If you want to concentrate, try switching off electronic devices and find a tidy space with minimal noise and crowding. Insufficient sleep can make it hard to concentrate.Why can't I focus when learning? ›
Several factors can contribute to a lack of focus, including procrastination, lack of sleep, low energy levels, and distractions.How do people with ADHD focus? ›
Make a list. If a swarm of concerns is keeping you from attending to the task at hand, take five minutes to write down what you have to do. Once these tasks are on paper and you no longer have to worry about remembering everything, you'll find it easier to focus.Why can't people with ADHD sit still? ›
Having ADHD means you have a brain thats hungry for reward, stimulation, something interesting. Uninteresting tasks dont fulfill that need, which is why we tend to have a hard time sustaining focus on them. Essentially, sitting still is the perfect example of an “uninteresting task” thats unrewarding and unstimulating.Is ADHD where you can't sit still? ›
ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It is a medical condition. A person with ADHD has differences in brain development and brain activity that affect attention, the ability to sit still, and self-control. ADHD can affect a child at school, at home, and in friendships.Why am I so bad at staying focused? ›
Such symptoms may be due to an underlying condition, like mild cognitive impairment, or a mood disorder, like depression and anxiety. Declining focus also could result from lifestyle issues that should be addressed, such as stress, fatigue, poor sleep, dehydration, an unhealthy diet, or sedentary behavior.Why can I barely focus on anything? ›
Loss of focus can happen for many reasons. They include mental and physical health problems, stress, the use of some medications, and a lack of sleep or and inadequate diet.Why do I feel lazy when I have to study? ›
Studies show there are multiple factors that discourage us from getting off our butts and finishing tasks at hand, but among the top few are those most familiar to us. The lack of motivation, no sense of urgency, and a fear of stepping outside our comfort zones represent factors that lull us into laziness.Is struggling to focus ADHD? ›
But some kids have such trouble paying attention, staying focused, and finishing tasks that it interferes with their schoolwork, home life, and friendships. These difficulties might be signs of a developmental disorder called attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.
Many factors can cause lack of concentration in a child. ADHD is often the first disorder associated with inattention, but it's not always the correct diagnosis. Different forms of anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder.Is my lack of focus ADHD? ›
If you feel like focusing is a struggle for you, it could be because of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, better known as ADHD. It may shock you to learn that an inability to focus is a common ADHD symptom.What does ADHD hyperfocus feel like? ›
Hyperfocus is a state of intense concentration where you lose track of time, you really enjoy what you're doing and you seem to be better at that than whatever it is you're doing. Now if you're playing a video game, you're really good at playing that video game.What are the signs of ADHD in female adults? ›
- Fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes.
- Has difficulty sustaining attention, does not appear to listen.
- Struggles to follow through with instructions, has difficulty with organization.
- Avoids or dislikes tasks requiring sustained mental effort, loses things easily.
Like distractibility, hyperfocus is thought to result from abnormally low levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is particularly active in the brain's frontal lobes. This dopamine deficiency makes it hard to “shift gears” to take up boring-but-necessary tasks.How do you sit still while studying? ›
- Finding your ideal posture. When you're about to sit down at your desk to study, sit on the edge of the chair and slouch your head and your shoulders forward. ...
- Adjust your chair. ...
- Keep your screen at eye level. ...
- Try to keep constantly used objects close. ...
- Take regular breaks.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common mental disorders affecting children. Symptoms of ADHD include inattention (not being able to keep focus), hyperactivity (excess movement that is not fitting to the setting) and impulsivity (hasty acts that occur in the moment without thought).How do you stay still while studying? ›
- Find a suitable environment.
- Create a study ritual.
- Block distracting websites + apps on your phone, tablet, and computer.
- Divide up + space out study sessions.
- Use the Pomodoro Technique.
- Find the best tools.
- Focus on skills, not grades.
- Schedule downtime.