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Ask Dr. Syl: Help! How Can I Stay Focused?

Dr. Syl

Dear Dr. Syl, 

How can I stay focused in school when I have a lot of other things going on in my life?


 Stay Focused


Dear Stay Focused,

This is a great question!  I think most people have to work towards staying focused during all the stages of their lives. The key is to figure out what works best for you.  There are different organizational tools and methods that you can explore to help keep all of your life obligations on track.  This can be an agenda or calendar, a task or to-do list, or you can even check out the various apps available that may work for you.   


When I was a college student, I made sure to have an agenda or calendar that I used to write down all of my deadlines, assignment due dates, exam dates, work days and all personal events.  It took a couple of years to figure out what format worked best for me. This agenda or calendar became the most useful tool for keeping track of my time and managing all of my responsibilities.  I continue to use an agenda to manage work and life as a mother.  


My favorite tool to stay focused is the easiest… the to-do list.  This is extremely helpful and I do it almost daily.  I make my to-do list at work to make sure I complete the most important tasks first.  I also make a list when I have to run errands.  This will help guide me and make sure that I more efficiently do all the things I need to do. I also use a list to complete housework and have tried other methods to help improve efficiency.  


One method that I like is the power-hour method that I found on YouTube. This is a method where you write a to-do list of all the things you would like to accomplish and use a timer set for exactly one hour.  Once the timer begins, you try your best to go as fast as possible and complete all the tasks on the list. Once the hour is complete, you feel very accomplished and can use the rest of the day to focus on school work, readings, and other assignments.  


Overall, the most important thing to do is try out methods to see if it works for your particular lifestyle. Hope these tips help you make this school year more efficient and productive.


Good luck in all you do!

From Dr. Syl

Stay tuned for the next segment of Ask Dr. Syl every 15th of the month!!

Author: Dr. Sylvia Landaverde

Sylvia, also known as Dr. Syl, is a first generation college student with a B.A. in sociology with a minor in women’s studies from California State University, Long Beach, an M.P.A. from Cal State Dominguez Hills, and her Ed.D in Educational Leadership from the University of Southern California. Dr. Syl lives with her fiancee and two-year-old son and enjoys travel, volunteer work and spending time with her family.


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