Your dorm room should be the place where you’re most relaxed. It feels good to study in a space where you can curl up in your sweats, stay connected with your friends, and grab a snack whenever you want one. But dorm noise and distractions can be overwhelming. How can you stay focused in a chaotic environment and get work done? Here are some of the most effective ways to study in a noisy dorm.
Use Tomato Time
The Pomodoro Method is a simple productivity method that helps you stay on task and improve your brain agility. The technique is easy:
- Select a task.
- Set a timer for 25 minutes, which equals one Pomodoro interval.
- Work on your task until the timer rings. If you think of something else you need to do, jot a note to yourself but stay on task.
- When the timer rings, take a short three- to five-minute break. Then reset the timer for another Pomodoro work interval.
- After four Pomodoro intervals, take a 15- to 30-minute break and begin again.
Pomodoro is the Italian word for “tomato,” and the method is named after the tomato-shaped timer its creator used in college. You can find Pomodoro timer apps, but the novelty of having an actual timer in hand might help you stay focused.
Take Action Breaks
Did you know that exercise improves your brain power? Daily physical activity helps boost your brain speed and cognitive abilities. Going for a quick walk or jog will give you a change of scenery and some fresh air while your brain rests, and you’ll return energized and refreshed. If you can’t get outside, do a few jumping jacks, dance to some music, or climb a couple of flights of stairs. A yoga break is another option that combines exercise with stretching and focus.
Listening to music helps combat stress and could help you improve your focus. If you opt for noise-canceling earbuds from Sony, your music can serve double duty by shutting out distractions, too. You can even use your playlists to set study intervals for yourself. Consider pairing a Mozart soundtrack with your math homework, since studies have shown that listening to Mozart’s music specifically boosts spatial-temporal reasoning, which includes mathematical ability.
The Right Light
Some students find that working in a pool of light in a darkened room helps them feel more focused in the evening. Turn off overhead lights, and sit near a lamp to see if you find localized lighting more soothing. For daytime studies, open the windows and let sunlight flood the room to lift your mood.
You may need to create a barrier between yourself and the world around you so you can concentrate. Bed tents are not only useful for sleeping, but they also offer a place to retreat when you need more privacy. You could also drape a sheet to create a private space for yourself. At the very least, you can reduce distractions by facing a wall while you work.
Choose the Right Snacks
It’s always tempting to load up on carbs like chips, crackers, noodles, and sugary foods when studying. Instead, snack on nuts for their omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to boost brainpower and can reduce test anxiety. Try to include other protein sources as well, like hard-boiled eggs or string cheese. Keep sandwich fixings in your mini fridge so you can keep hunger at bay.
Shut Down Distractions
Turning off your phone is a bold move that sends a powerful signal that you are serious and ready to focus. If you simply can’t bring yourself to turn it off, or if you need your phone to play your music, at least put it into airplane mode. Install a distraction-blocking tool on your browser to limit access to highly distracting sites like Facebook for a predetermined interval. Freedom, ColdTurkey, SelfControl, and FocusMe are all popular options. Getting focused in a busy dorm takes a little effort and planning, but it is possible. Pay attention to what distracts you the most. As you learn more about your study style, you can focus on correcting those issues and perfecting your system.