Ever walked away from a lecture with no idea what was just said? These tips will give you the tools to help you get into gear and focus on school when other things are clamoring for your attention. These tips are for everyone! Incoming freshmen all the way to last semester seniors who have all but checked out. Make these habits and you’ll be on your way to success.


Identify Your Motivation

Why are you in school?

Can you answer this question? If not, this is where you need to start. Without a purpose or motivation, there’s no way you’ll put your phone down or turn off Netflix. So shut your laptop, lock your phone and dig deep. I’ll wait.

Now, examine your answer further. Is your answer something that matters to you? Are you working to better your future? Or are you just here because you have to be? Once you have a connection to your why, focus comes naturally. Envision your end goal when distractions come.

Motivation in action: On harder days, mentally run through why you are going to class today. Think of the real reason you are in school, and why specifically you need this class. Then, think about why you need to be present today in order to achieve your goals. It’s much easier to say no to the friend that just invited you to lunch at the same time as your next class when you remind yourself of your motivations.  


Prepare Yourself Before Class

  • Get to class ten minutes early. 
  • Sit where you will stay alert. Don’t sit next to someone who you know you’ll talk to through the lecture. 
  • Put your phone in your backpack and fight the urge with all you have to check it! 
  • Pull out your laptop or notebook, and get ready to learn!


During Class – Take Notes

Wanna know a secret? Notes weren’t just a torture method used by high school teachers. There’s no rule enforcing you to take notes in college, but trust me, they are worth it in the long run! Not only do they help you stay focused in class, but they also help you when studying and doing homework.

Here are 5 tips on taking notes in college:

Take them in the way that makes the most sense to you

  • Don’t write every word 
  • Stick to bullet points
  • Use headers and Sub headers
  • Get creative so you’ll want to look at them and use them!


Plan Ahead

Schedule time for your classes, assignments, and weekly studying. That way, you’ll be done by the time everyone else is having fun. This means planning ahead weekly or even daily instead of putting things off and needing to cram things in at the last minute. You’ll be able to enjoy yourself when spending time with friends and family instead of sweating through the evening stressing about the term paper that’s due at midnight.

Pro tip: Never miss a due date by putting reminders in your phone calendar!

Notebook with monthly calendar sitting on desk Photo by Eric Rothermel on Unsplash






    Find a Study Space

    Set aside a designated study space. Make sure that when you’re there, you’re working. Go through that mental preparation you did before class and remind yourself again why you are studying. These steps tell your mind and body to focus on what you’re there for.  Make sure to leave when you’re done. Stay strict about this! This isn’t your Netflix binge spot.

    Image of bedroom with a bed on the right side and a wooden desk and chair in the left corner.

    Photo by Raphael Schaller on Unsplash






    Limit Electronics

    Let’s be real, most studying means scrolling on your phone with your computer open for about an hour before you even look at your notes. Set a rule that study time means your phone is off. Be strict about what tabs are open on your computer.


    Reward Yourself

    Treat yo’ self is something to live by, but only after you’ve done something to deserve it! Make sure to give yourself the time to relax and rejuvenate after you’ve put 100% effort into your schoolwork. Figure out what is special to you and go get it after what you have planned is accomplished!


    These next four years can be filled with heartbreak, love, laughter, friends, and a roller coaster of other emotions. With the tips listed, you can stay grounded, so if and when it comes down to it, you can stay focused on something that really matters, you and your future.


    Now get to work!


    Infographic summarizing the different points of the blog

     Read about the benefits of a digital marketing degree here.

    Categories: College


    Cheryl Brown · December 4, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    Great idea to start by thinking about why you are in school. That may help students to get back on track and get motivated. Very clear graphic with the highlights. The points are easy to understand and have impact.

    Cyd · December 4, 2019 at 7:22 pm

    These are amazing tips! I used some of them in school, but wish I knew about ALL of them!!!

    Jacosa Reiss · December 4, 2019 at 7:31 pm

    Amen to all of these tips! Wonderful advice that is applicable to everyone. I’d say I would even need to better myself with these things when I work, especially from home! Thanks for sharing.

    Ashley · December 4, 2019 at 7:32 pm

    Love this! Great ideas!!

    Michael A Vanhille · December 4, 2019 at 7:35 pm

    Very good summary! I can attest to how all of those ideas are helpful. I’ll add just one more–when taking notes, use color pens! They keep your attention and make you want to go back and study! The visual summary is great.

    Danny · December 4, 2019 at 7:49 pm

    I couldn’t agree with this more! Identifying your motivation is seriously so important. I don’t really care about statistics, but I care about getting my degree, and when I keep that larger goal in mind, I can power through the unpleasant things like my stats class

    Carolyn · December 4, 2019 at 7:51 pm

    Great article! I especially liked the tips to about identifying your “why” and treating yourself after completing an assignment.

    Alisia · December 4, 2019 at 8:08 pm

    Thank you. I tend to focus on what’s in my Instagram feed rather than what’s on my calculus homework when studying because quite honestly I get bored easily.

    Fran · December 4, 2019 at 8:12 pm

    Very good blog. Wish I had that in front me when I was going to school. Much of what you said, Natalie, can be used in any endeavor. Thanks

    Jake · December 4, 2019 at 8:24 pm

    Seriously love all of these ideas! So much of the time it’s difficult to be so structured as to do all of these, but a humble attempt is worth something!

    Thank you for sharing with all of us 🙂

    Pam Brown · December 4, 2019 at 8:31 pm

    I enjoyed this article. Several very useful tips were given in a fun and poitive way. Thanks for the pointers on focusing!

    Marlene · December 4, 2019 at 8:37 pm

    Very helpful, I will share this with my students

    Lorraine Bratton · December 4, 2019 at 9:11 pm

    Great advice Natalie! I wish I had this back when I was in college.

    Rozelle · December 4, 2019 at 9:56 pm

    Great work Natalie!! Information is clear and organized and the coordinating muted colors do not detract from the message. 🙂

    Tamara · December 4, 2019 at 10:01 pm

    What great advice! Electronics weren’t a distraction when I went to college, but they definitely are now. Self control is key to success!! Great article.

      Angelina Santillan · December 5, 2019 at 8:25 am

      Great tips! And a useful resource I can use with my patients needing some tips to manage stress in school. Thanks!

    Bryce · December 5, 2019 at 12:49 am

    Great simple way to realign your focus. And this can apply to many other areas of your life, not just school. Great thoughts.

    Ash · December 5, 2019 at 1:29 am

    Good advice. Would be a great presentation to first year students so they can start college off right.

    Mary Ann Sanders · December 5, 2019 at 1:36 am

    What a motivating and informative report! Thank you.

    Wendee Graham · December 5, 2019 at 1:50 am

    Perfect pointers on focusing!!! A great read!

    Carrie Eustice · December 5, 2019 at 2:02 am

    What great tips! Thanks Natalie!

    Garrett Graham · December 5, 2019 at 5:20 am

    This is great stuff! I don’t like school much and this would have helped me out so much! I just started a new job and have a lot to study and learn. This will help me get the info I need quick.

    Garrett Graham · December 5, 2019 at 5:24 am

    Great stuff! I have a new job and have a lot to study and learn as quick and efficiently as I can. These tips and tricks are gonna make it way easier.

    Melania · December 5, 2019 at 2:54 pm

    Excellent article! Very helpful.

    Darlyn · December 5, 2019 at 3:10 pm

    Great job Natalie! I’m going to share these ideas with my kids!

    Rochelle · December 5, 2019 at 4:36 pm

    These tips will help anyone trying to learn a new skill. I especially like the idea to reward yourself. Sometimes that is a great motivator.

    Brittanu · December 5, 2019 at 10:10 pm

    Such great ideas!

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