Amanda’s Corner: Find the Focus

Amanda's Corner
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Spring break should be time for, well, a break – but for the past week, I have been wading in schoolwork. Such is the life of a college senior, and quite frankly, I love working on my senior thesis and reading a novel for my Gothic lit class. But with more unstructured time on my hands than usual, my dog to playfully distract me (Buddy, a Hungarian Vizsla who acts more like a puppy than a seven-year-old) and prolonged periods of sunshine thanks to Daylight Savings Time, it is harder for me to stay focused right now. Luckily, I’ve found some ways to maintain my mojo while I work, though, and I thought I would share them with all of you:

Set a timer: After browsing Facebook or various blogs for too long or sneaking in one too many rounds of Ruzzle, I usually decide to set the timer on my iPhone for 15 minutes and work on nothing but one specific task for school. This is especially useful if I am in a rut during a thesis writing session, which in turn makes me lose motivation and interest—and gain frustration—in my thought process. Having a timer does not put the pressure on but instead allows me to take a breath and tackle whatever is before me. Last night, for example, I set my timer for 12 minutes, decided to focus on another paragraph of my thesis and suddenly found myself energized by my ideas! When the timer stopped, I kept writing for over an hour.

Get up and move: My parents like to say that my brother and I have our “spots” when we are home on break. Lately, I have been working from a yellow gingham armchair with a matching footrest in our living room. It is comfy – almost too comfy, at times. While I am working, I like to get up and play with my dog. That way, we both get some exercise.

Close all of your windows: And no, I don’t mean all of the windows in your house – unless there is a draft, of course. Getting rid of any unnecessary Internet pages will free you from both distraction and clutter. Sometimes I have thirty tabs open across three Internet windows at a time – yikes!

Take a break: That’s what spring break is for, right? Don’t worry, I haven’t been in this armchair for an entire week – I’ve been out and about, running errands, spending time with loved ones and watching movies. This is my last undergraduate spring break, after all! Having that time away from my computer helps me feel refreshed when I return to it.

What do you do to stay focused? Share your secrets in the comments!

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