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Looking for tips to stay alert & focused doing work & homework

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

I get tired and unfocused pretty easily, I think mostly because my body is overly sensitive to lots of things. I'm just wondering, for those of you who also have to hit the books (studying) or computer (programming, typing, research, etc) for hours at a time, how do you stay productive and keep yourself sharp? For example let's say you HAVE to get a bunch of work done, but your brain is moving like a sloth through molasses. You can't get all that work done at this pace. What do you do?

 

I was thinking maybe like jumping jacks or drinking lots of water could help. confused_face(1).gif

 

If you need more info or details just let me know.

 

Limitations: I can't have caffeine or energy drinks.

 

Thanks


Edited by Sduibek - 12/2/12 at 6:04pm
post #2 of 26
Break the work into smaller chunks and prioritize it. Don't make each chunk perfect - just get it to work then move on to the next chunk.

And for gawd's sake, stay off head-fi!
post #3 of 26

Avoid Head-Fi like the plague. Seriously. The internet can be pretty distracting so try to work in a quite place without a lot of distractions.

post #4 of 26

music. Find the music that works best with your mind, it'll "plug you in" and your life becomes like a movie montage. I prefer alternative electronic music like The xx and Purity Ring, but whatever works for you, works for you. Sometimes for me it's Jazz, Classical, or even Pop-Punk. I know a kid that listens only to Disney sound tracks. There's no judgement in what works. My roommates have a game they play when I'm coding or doing physics: they see how many 5 gallon water jugs they can place in my little 8 foot by 15 foot room before I notice them. Their current record is 5. The music definitely helps

 

Some sort of a drink helps, even if it's not caffeinated. I prefer herbal tea when I'm not having a caffeinated drink, but that's just me personally.

 

use your distractions to your advantage. As someone with ADHD who often finds himself doing homework 8hrs a day I've learned that a complex is a hell of a tool if you swing it the right way. Lay out like 2 or 3 assignments/tasks in front of you. Whenever your mind starts to get distracted, let it, and switch to a different assignment.

 

Use your breaks to recharge, not to shut down. If you use your breaks to watch tv or get on facebook, you lose your momentum and your brain starts to shut down. This is when you realize you're tired/hungry/bored/miserable/etc. If you have a hobby like writing, drawing, playing music, or anything like that, give that a shot as your study break, and it might help keep your mind moving so you don't lose steam.

 

 

Your Milage May Vary and In My Humble Opinion and all that, but this is the advice of a college physics major with ADHD, so I know where you're coming from.

 

 

 

oh, and in case no one has mentioned it. Stay off of head-fi. wink_face.gif

post #5 of 26

My friends and family have also noted my sensitivity to things. Another ADHD student here.

 

If you can, print out your readings. Avoid using the computer as much as possible.

 

I know uni textbooks are expensive, but the least you can do is to print out the pdfs at a print shop. I personally hate reading pdfs on my monitor. I've done so this entire semester, and I definitely regret not buying them used.

 

YMMV when it comes to listening to music. For me, I can listen to music when I'm doing repetitive stuff like solving Calculus problems, which is when my brain goes on autopilot. For other stuff, music is a complete distraction. I'm assuming this is because I'm paying less attention to the music when I'm doing repetitive stuff. After all these headphone purchases I'm still not quite satisfied with my setup. That in-your-head feeling when listening to headphones also generates distraction for me. If I were you, I'd invest in a decent 2.1 system for listening.


Edited by mbamg - 12/3/12 at 9:09am
post #6 of 26

well calculus is all problem solving so music is ok, but if you really need to understand something, I would keep the music off especially with a lot of written words in one sentence, like example:

 

 

"The linear range of operation of the MOS differential pair can be extended by operating the MOS FET at a higher value of the overdrive voltage Vov"
 
One of the easier ones to digest but it can reach much longer lengths that you really need to focus in order to make sense of all the terms being said.
post #7 of 26

You can reward yourself, for example after finishing certain task you can have something to eat or a snack. Thats what i do tongue.gif

post #8 of 26

I find that chewing gum is a simple solution.

post #9 of 26

I find the fresh air from opening a window helps me stay alert.

post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sduibek View Post

I get tired and unfocused pretty easily,

Perhaps you are doing boring academic work. Some people are lucky in that they can do what they like instead of having to like what they do.

 

Try finding a mentor.  A mentor can help you to spend time more efficiently in working toward your chosen purpose.

post #11 of 26

Avoid sugar and other high glycemic index foods such as pasta and bread. Eat plenty of protein, and make sure to get enough magnesium. Supplements of B vitamins(B50) may also help. Snack on raw nuts and seeds(almonds, unshelled pumpkin and sunflower seeds) while studying. Make sure to drink enough water while studying. Every 60 to 90 minutes or so take a 10 minute break and do some walking.

post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by fubar3 View Post

Perhaps you are doing boring academic work. Some people are lucky in that they can do what they like instead of having to like what they do.

Try finding a mentor.  A mentor can help you to spend time more efficiently in working toward your chosen purpose.

This.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JK1 View Post

Avoid sugar and other high glycemic index foods such as pasta and bread. Eat plenty of protein...

This too. I'm so glad someone beat me to this.

Personally I enjoy listening to music while doing most anything, but the genre and type of music certainly matters depending on my activity (in other words, don't put Rage Against The Machine or Rammstein on if you want to be very calm, and don't try to get pumped up with Voodoo Child or FSoL tongue.gif).

I'd also suggest avoiding other distractions, like the Internet, TV, etc unless you have the ability to selectively multi-task (not everyone does). And finally I'd agree with billy's advice - break your work down into pieces and move through it, so for example:

Say you need to write an essay. So instead of sitting down and saying "I write essay now" sit down and think about "what do I want to write about?" and then go from there. The next step would be figuring out what, and then filling in the information, and so on. You don't have to script all of that out, but working through that mentally is very helpful (and you feel like you're accomplishing things), so now you're dealing with a list of tasks:

- Decide on a topic (or if you already have a topic given, take this step out)
- Figure out what you already know about that topic
- Figure out if that is enough to finish your task
- If not, go learn more about the topic (in a reasonable manner, don't sit down and try to read six books at once, etc)
- Figure out how you want to tell the world about the topic
- Start outlining and then expand from there

Much easier than sitting there and waiting for blood to pool at your fingertips. wink.gif

And you can more or less extrapolate or scale this kind of "outlining" to other tasks, basically the point is to break tasks down into smaller pieces, and then sort those pieces and build a solution. Or as the old saying goes: "how do you eat an elephant? one bite at a time."

Finally, I would encourage you to get enough (and regular) sleep, and figure out when YOUR best working hours are - not everyone is best suited to waking up at 9 AM, doing their best work from 9 AM to 5 PM, and then going to bed at 8 PM.
post #13 of 26

"Finally, I would encourage you to get enough (and regular) sleep, and figure out when YOUR best working hours are - not everyone is best suited to waking up at 9 AM, doing their best work from 9 AM to 5 PM, and then going to bed at 8 PM."

 

Some people are lucubrators.

 

Budgeting time is crucial. Use a triage system, having the most important things on the top of your list to do for each day, that way at least the most important things get done.

 

Procrastinate tomorrow. One person asked me to read a great article on procrastination, and I told her I would read it later. Today is tomorrow's yesterday.

post #14 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fubar3 View Post

Perhaps you are doing boring academic work. Some people are lucky in that they can do what they like instead of having to like what they do.

 

Try finding a mentor.  A mentor can help you to spend time more efficiently in working toward your chosen purpose.

 

Working on it. I took "College Success" and "Career & Life Planning" this quarter. My plan has changed from CS/EE to Graphic Web Design. Next quarter is all art classes. I haven't taken any in college yet, which is hilarious and curious since I've been drawing since.... forever. Anyway. Fingers crossed!

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JK1 View Post

 

Procrastinate tomorrow. One person asked me to read a great article on procrastination, and I told her I would read it later. Today is tomorrow's yesterday.

 

Yeah, I'm planning on nipping my procrastination in the bud this weekend.  ;)

post #15 of 26

A few suggestions: ambient music (http://turntable.fm/ambient_chillout_trip_hop2 or Pandora) at moderate volumes, healthy snacks like seeds/nuts/water, and getting up to walk/pace to describe/recite what you've just learned, etc. Other than that, stay away from the internets, lol.

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