• Published on September 15, 2022
  • September 15, 2022

How to Focus on Homework and Actually Get Things Done: 12 Hacks for Busy Students

A teen using his laptop and learning how to focus on homework

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Chances are, you’ve had some days when you felt overwhelmed after a long day at school. You couldn’t imagine doing anything other than plopping down in front of the television, let alone finding out how to focus on your homework. 

How can you overcome the resistance and get it done? How do you get your mind to include this task in your day as well?

With just a few adjustments, you will be able to expand your capacity to concentrate.

Why Can’t I Focus on My Homework?

Countless factors constantly fight for your attention : social media, people, overthinking, and anxiety. All of this can make you feel as though you have little control over your mind. 

If you want to start to focus better on your homework, you’ll need to set your mind up for success. Remove all distractions .

Here are two key principles that can help you be more successful in your studies:

1. Identify the distractions in your surroundings

What are the things in your daily life that take your mind away from your studies? Clearly identifying these distractions can help you understand both the problem and what causes it.

Among our environmental distractions, digital distractions are one of the worst kinds, and according to a number of studies , their effect is on the rise in the classroom.

If you’re looking to gain more concentration and, thus, form better study habits, question your online behavior first and foremost.

2. Limit the use of technology to find focus

What’s the role of social media in your daily life? Have you ever sat down to calculate how social media distracts you from doing the things you should be doing?

When you are wondering how to focus on homework long after you’ve put your phone away, you’re still thinking about the last posts you saw on Instagram. The sound of new notifications can be enough to reroute our attention from the task at hand.

And then comes the information overload, the fear of missing out, and the all-too-common signs of addictive behavior. Technology is affecting your mind more than ever, and it’s taking your focus away.

A teenager learning how to focus on homework

How to Focus on Homework: 12 Things You Can Do to Be More Indistractible

Here are 12 tips on how to stay focused while completing your homework, taught by superbrain coach Jim Kwik and habit transformation expert Nir Eyal .

  • Make a routine
  • Set up a study-friendly environment
  • Avoid heavy meals
  • Organize your study notes
  • Tell others to stay away
  • Listen to study music
  • Set deadlines
  • Take brain breaks
  • Use discomfort as motivation for productivity
  • Use time blocking
  • Let go of thoughts that distract you
  • Reimagine your task

Let’s look at each study hack in more detail.

1. Make a routine

Routines help you be productive without exerting as much effort. When you have homework to do, a study routine can be the reason you actually sit down, set enough time aside, concentrate, and stay focused until you complete the project.

This process doesn’t need to be complicated: just tell yourself that you will sit at your desk at home once you’re back from school. Put your phone on silent, make an outline of the work that needs to get done, and simply begin with what’s most important.

2. Set up a study-friendly environment

A place for everything and everything in its place. That applies to studying, too.

Lying in bed with your notebook is considered a distraction, as is being in the living room with your laptop while others are doing their activities.

You need an isolated place when you decide to focus on your homework. Make it feel comfortable, keep it organized, keep it clean, and consider putting up some motivational posters or positive affirmations .

3. Avoid heavy meals

It’s not advisable to have a big meal beforehand. Big meals can ruin your focus and make you feel sluggish and lazy because it takes a big amount of time and energy for your body to digest. A snack is okay.

There are also some foods , though, that are just plain bad for your productivity. For example, soda, candy, and fried foods are all full of sugar and have no nutritional value. They make your insulin spike up, but then it crashes very fast, which makes you feel depleted of energy.

4. Organize your study notes

Prioritize your work. Keep lists and place the most important items on top. Then work on the items that you should get done first.

It helps to outline what you need to do, breaking it down into smaller, more manageable steps. Use colors to highlight the essentials . 

This makes it all look much simpler and you’re more likely to actually get started. The brain loves organization and it won’t be so likely to procrastinate when it knows you have a structure set in place.

5. Tell others to stay away

Don’t be afraid to let others know that you’re studying and require some time and space to get your work done. Decide on fixed hours for studying and tell your friends and family members that you won’t be available during that time of the day.

If others respect your study time, you’ll be more inclined to respect it as well. 

6. Listen to study music

There are many tracks out there designed to help your mind focus. Whether you use binaural beats or just instrumental music, the right sounds can really help to tune your brain into a productive frequency.

This meditation is also great to listen to; it puts your mind in a clear, concise, and ready-to-take-on-the-world mode:

7. Set deadlines

Even if your teacher has already given you deadlines for each assignment, set new ones yourself at earlier dates.

This helps you build discipline, learn how to focus on studying, and prioritize every day.

8. Take brain breaks

Frequent breaks actually increase your productivity and focus. You’ll see that after each study session, the brain needs to be engaged with something different —  you need to activate other parts of your brain before going back to your studies so that you can reach top performance.

You can also use the Superbrain Yoga Technique. In the Superbrain Quest, Jim talks about implementing it during your breaks. It goes as follows:

  • Massage the left lobe of your ear with your right hand, and the right one with your left hand
  • Inhale and squat down
  • Exhale and come back up while continuing massaging your opposite ear with the opposite hand
  • Keep going for a few minutes
As your body moves, your brain grooves. — Jim Kwik, trainer of Mindvalley’s Superbrain Quest

9. Use discomfort as motivation for productivity

The brain is wired to protect us from danger, and our ancestors needed this function of the psyche to survive. Discomfort is associated with danger, and whenever they felt it, they knew it was time to run away or protect themselves in one way or another.

In today’s world, danger isn’t so imminent. However, discomfort is, and the brain still works to protect us in the same way. 

So why not use it to your advantage?

Once you have this mindset shift, you can see the discomfort that comes with doing your homework as fuel for moving forward, from pain to pleasure. So instead of procrastinating and avoiding the discomfort, just use it as motivation to get things done.

And maybe you can even save yourself a fun activity to do later in the day, so you have something to look forward to.

10. Use time blocking

You can use time blocking and set a specific amount of time for parts of your homework that needs to be done. For example, you block 30 minutes of reading, then another 30 minutes of writing down highlights from the text. 

This method will give you more structure and support you when you need to focus on school work, as you will have a dedicated structured time to do so.

11. Let go of thoughts that distract you

When you need more concentration, but your thoughts keep getting in the way, here’s a fun visualization exercise you can use:

  • Before you start working on your homework, close down your eyes and imagine a flowing river in front of you. 
  • Now, place every thought on a leaf and let it run down the river while watching it move away from you. 

Do this repeatedly for 5-10 minutes and see how your mind becomes clearer, more productive, and more inspired.

12. Reimagine your task

How can you make the process of doing your homework more fun? Is there any way you can think of to make it more exciting and engaging?

As you introduce play and fun into any task, your capacity to stay focused will increase. So just try out different methods to engage more in your homework. 

For example, what if you made a trivia quest about your history lesson homework? Or what about riddles to make you remember all the characters from the novel you have to read? 

Once you play around with these kinds of games, you might find that focusing on your homework isn’t as boring as you thought it would be.

Unleash the Power of Your Focus

Discovering how to focus on your homework can go beyond schoolwork and actually support you in many other activities you want to do. Concentration is one of the best skills to nurture for your growth.

If you need a little guidance at the beginning of your focusing journey, Mindvalley has it in store for you. 

By unlocking your FREE Mindvalley access , you can check out sample classes from quests that help you develop better focus and study habits, such as Becoming Focused and Indistractable by Nir Eyal and Superbrain by Jim Kwik. You can also immerse yourself in beautiful sounds and guided meditations designed to improve concentration and help you enter the flow state.

The earlier you start, the greater your journey of self-discovery will be. Welcome in.

— Images generated on Midjourney.

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Jim Kwik is the trainer of Mindvalley’s Superbrain and Super Reading Quests. He’s a brain coach and a world expert in speed reading, memory improvement, and optimal brain performance. Known as the “boy with the broken brain” due to a childhood injury, Jim discovered strategies to dramatically enhance his mental performance. He is now committed to helping people improve their memory, learn to speed-read, increase their decision-making skills, and turn on their superbrain. He has shared his techniques with Hollywood actors, Fortune 500 companies, and trailblazing entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Richard Branson to reach their highest level of mental performance. He is also one of the most sought-after trainers for top organizations like Harvard University, Nike, Virgin, and GE.

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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, how to do homework: 15 expert tips and tricks.

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Everyone struggles with homework sometimes, but if getting your homework done has become a chronic issue for you, then you may need a little extra help. That’s why we’ve written this article all about how to do homework. Once you’re finished reading it, you’ll know how to do homework (and have tons of new ways to motivate yourself to do homework)!

We’ve broken this article down into a few major sections. You’ll find:

  • A diagnostic test to help you figure out why you’re struggling with homework
  • A discussion of the four major homework problems students face, along with expert tips for addressing them
  • A bonus section with tips for how to do homework fast

By the end of this article, you’ll be prepared to tackle whatever homework assignments your teachers throw at you .

So let’s get started!


How to Do Homework: Figure Out Your Struggles 

Sometimes it feels like everything is standing between you and getting your homework done. But the truth is, most people only have one or two major roadblocks that are keeping them from getting their homework done well and on time. 

The best way to figure out how to get motivated to do homework starts with pinpointing the issues that are affecting your ability to get your assignments done. That’s why we’ve developed a short quiz to help you identify the areas where you’re struggling. 

Take the quiz below and record your answers on your phone or on a scrap piece of paper. Keep in mind there are no wrong answers! 

1. You’ve just been assigned an essay in your English class that’s due at the end of the week. What’s the first thing you do?

A. Keep it in mind, even though you won’t start it until the day before it’s due  B. Open up your planner. You’ve got to figure out when you’ll write your paper since you have band practice, a speech tournament, and your little sister’s dance recital this week, too.  C. Groan out loud. Another essay? You could barely get yourself to write the last one!  D. Start thinking about your essay topic, which makes you think about your art project that’s due the same day, which reminds you that your favorite artist might have just posted to Instagram...so you better check your feed right now. 

2. Your mom asked you to pick up your room before she gets home from work. You’ve just gotten home from school. You decide you’ll tackle your chores: 

A. Five minutes before your mom walks through the front door. As long as it gets done, who cares when you start?  B. As soon as you get home from your shift at the local grocery store.  C. After you give yourself a 15-minute pep talk about how you need to get to work.  D. You won’t get it done. Between texts from your friends, trying to watch your favorite Netflix show, and playing with your dog, you just lost track of time! 

3. You’ve signed up to wash dogs at the Humane Society to help earn money for your senior class trip. You: 

A. Show up ten minutes late. You put off leaving your house until the last minute, then got stuck in unexpected traffic on the way to the shelter.  B. Have to call and cancel at the last minute. You forgot you’d already agreed to babysit your cousin and bake cupcakes for tomorrow’s bake sale.  C. Actually arrive fifteen minutes early with extra brushes and bandanas you picked up at the store. You’re passionate about animals, so you’re excited to help out! D. Show up on time, but only get three dogs washed. You couldn’t help it: you just kept getting distracted by how cute they were!

4. You have an hour of downtime, so you decide you’re going to watch an episode of The Great British Baking Show. You: 

A. Scroll through your social media feeds for twenty minutes before hitting play, which means you’re not able to finish the whole episode. Ugh! You really wanted to see who was sent home!  B. Watch fifteen minutes until you remember you’re supposed to pick up your sister from band practice before heading to your part-time job. No GBBO for you!  C. You finish one episode, then decide to watch another even though you’ve got SAT studying to do. It’s just more fun to watch people make scones.  D. Start the episode, but only catch bits and pieces of it because you’re reading Twitter, cleaning out your backpack, and eating a snack at the same time.

5. Your teacher asks you to stay after class because you’ve missed turning in two homework assignments in a row. When she asks you what’s wrong, you say: 

A. You planned to do your assignments during lunch, but you ran out of time. You decided it would be better to turn in nothing at all than submit unfinished work.  B. You really wanted to get the assignments done, but between your extracurriculars, family commitments, and your part-time job, your homework fell through the cracks.  C. You have a hard time psyching yourself to tackle the assignments. You just can’t seem to find the motivation to work on them once you get home.  D. You tried to do them, but you had a hard time focusing. By the time you realized you hadn’t gotten anything done, it was already time to turn them in. 

Like we said earlier, there are no right or wrong answers to this quiz (though your results will be better if you answered as honestly as possible). Here’s how your answers break down: 

  • If your answers were mostly As, then your biggest struggle with doing homework is procrastination. 
  • If your answers were mostly Bs, then your biggest struggle with doing homework is time management. 
  • If your answers were mostly Cs, then your biggest struggle with doing homework is motivation. 
  • If your answers were mostly Ds, then your biggest struggle with doing homework is getting distracted. 

Now that you’ve identified why you’re having a hard time getting your homework done, we can help you figure out how to fix it! Scroll down to find your core problem area to learn more about how you can start to address it. 

And one more thing: you’re really struggling with homework, it’s a good idea to read through every section below. You may find some additional tips that will help make homework less intimidating. 


How to Do Homework When You’re a Procrastinator  

Merriam Webster defines “procrastinate” as “to put off intentionally and habitually.” In other words, procrastination is when you choose to do something at the last minute on a regular basis. If you’ve ever found yourself pulling an all-nighter, trying to finish an assignment between periods, or sprinting to turn in a paper minutes before a deadline, you’ve experienced the effects of procrastination. 

If you’re a chronic procrastinator, you’re in good company. In fact, one study found that 70% to 95% of undergraduate students procrastinate when it comes to doing their homework. Unfortunately, procrastination can negatively impact your grades. Researchers have found that procrastination can lower your grade on an assignment by as much as five points ...which might not sound serious until you realize that can mean the difference between a B- and a C+. 

Procrastination can also negatively affect your health by increasing your stress levels , which can lead to other health conditions like insomnia, a weakened immune system, and even heart conditions. Getting a handle on procrastination can not only improve your grades, it can make you feel better, too! 

The big thing to understand about procrastination is that it’s not the result of laziness. Laziness is defined as being “disinclined to activity or exertion.” In other words, being lazy is all about doing nothing. But a s this Psychology Today article explains , procrastinators don’t put things off because they don’t want to work. Instead, procrastinators tend to postpone tasks they don’t want to do in favor of tasks that they perceive as either more important or more fun. Put another way, procrastinators want to do things...as long as it’s not their homework! 

3 Tips f or Conquering Procrastination 

Because putting off doing homework is a common problem, there are lots of good tactics for addressing procrastination. Keep reading for our three expert tips that will get your homework habits back on track in no time. 

#1: Create a Reward System

Like we mentioned earlier, procrastination happens when you prioritize other activities over getting your homework done. Many times, this happens because homework...well, just isn’t enjoyable. But you can add some fun back into the process by rewarding yourself for getting your work done. 

Here’s what we mean: let’s say you decide that every time you get your homework done before the day it’s due, you’ll give yourself a point. For every five points you earn, you’ll treat yourself to your favorite dessert: a chocolate cupcake! Now you have an extra (delicious!) incentive to motivate you to leave procrastination in the dust. 

If you’re not into cupcakes, don’t worry. Your reward can be anything that motivates you . Maybe it’s hanging out with your best friend or an extra ten minutes of video game time. As long as you’re choosing something that makes homework worth doing, you’ll be successful. 

#2: Have a Homework Accountability Partner 

If you’re having trouble getting yourself to start your homework ahead of time, it may be a good idea to call in reinforcements . Find a friend or classmate you can trust and explain to them that you’re trying to change your homework habits. Ask them if they’d be willing to text you to make sure you’re doing your homework and check in with you once a week to see if you’re meeting your anti-procrastination goals. 

Sharing your goals can make them feel more real, and an accountability partner can help hold you responsible for your decisions. For example, let’s say you’re tempted to put off your science lab write-up until the morning before it’s due. But you know that your accountability partner is going to text you about it tomorrow...and you don’t want to fess up that you haven’t started your assignment. A homework accountability partner can give you the extra support and incentive you need to keep your homework habits on track. 

#3: Create Your Own Due Dates 

If you’re a life-long procrastinator, you might find that changing the habit is harder than you expected. In that case, you might try using procrastination to your advantage! If you just can’t seem to stop doing your work at the last minute, try setting your own due dates for assignments that range from a day to a week before the assignment is actually due. 

Here’s what we mean. Let’s say you have a math worksheet that’s been assigned on Tuesday and is due on Friday. In your planner, you can write down the due date as Thursday instead. You may still put off your homework assignment until the last minute...but in this case, the “last minute” is a day before the assignment’s real due date . This little hack can trick your procrastination-addicted brain into planning ahead! 


If you feel like Kevin Hart in this meme, then our tips for doing homework when you're busy are for you. 

How to Do Homework When You’re too Busy

If you’re aiming to go to a top-tier college , you’re going to have a full plate. Because college admissions is getting more competitive, it’s important that you’re maintaining your grades , studying hard for your standardized tests , and participating in extracurriculars so your application stands out. A packed schedule can get even more hectic once you add family obligations or a part-time job to the mix. 

If you feel like you’re being pulled in a million directions at once, you’re not alone. Recent research has found that stress—and more severe stress-related conditions like anxiety and depression— are a major problem for high school students . In fact, one study from the American Psychological Association found that during the school year, students’ stress levels are higher than those of the adults around them. 

For students, homework is a major contributor to their overall stress levels . Many high schoolers have multiple hours of homework every night , and figuring out how to fit it into an already-packed schedule can seem impossible. 

3 Tips for Fitting Homework Into Your Busy Schedule

While it might feel like you have literally no time left in your schedule, there are still ways to make sure you’re able to get your homework done and meet your other commitments. Here are our expert homework tips for even the busiest of students. 

#1: Make a Prioritized To-Do List 

You probably already have a to-do list to keep yourself on track. The next step is to prioritize the items on your to-do list so you can see what items need your attention right away. 

Here’s how it works: at the beginning of each day, sit down and make a list of all the items you need to get done before you go to bed. This includes your homework, but it should also take into account any practices, chores, events, or job shifts you may have. Once you get everything listed out, it’s time to prioritize them using the labels A, B, and C. Here’s what those labels mean:

  • A Tasks : tasks that have to get done—like showing up at work or turning in an assignment—get an A. 
  • B Tasks : these are tasks that you would like to get done by the end of the day but aren’t as time sensitive. For example, studying for a test you have next week could be a B-level task. It’s still important, but it doesn’t have to be done right away.
  • C Tasks: these are tasks that aren’t very important and/or have no real consequences if you don’t get them done immediately. For instance, if you’re hoping to clean out your closet but it’s not an assigned chore from your parents, you could label that to-do item with a C.

Prioritizing your to-do list helps you visualize which items need your immediate attention, and which items you can leave for later. A prioritized to-do list ensures that you’re spending your time efficiently and effectively, which helps you make room in your schedule for homework. So even though you might really want to start making decorations for Homecoming (a B task), you’ll know that finishing your reading log (an A task) is more important. 

#2: Use a Planner With Time Labels

Your planner is probably packed with notes, events, and assignments already. (And if you’re not using a planner, it’s time to start!) But planners can do more for you than just remind you when an assignment is due. If you’re using a planner with time labels, it can help you visualize how you need to spend your day.

A planner with time labels breaks your day down into chunks, and you assign tasks to each chunk of time. For example, you can make a note of your class schedule with assignments, block out time to study, and make sure you know when you need to be at practice. Once you know which tasks take priority, you can add them to any empty spaces in your day. 

Planning out how you spend your time not only helps you use it wisely, it can help you feel less overwhelmed, too . We’re big fans of planners that include a task list ( like this one ) or have room for notes ( like this one ). 

#3: Set Reminders on Your Phone 

If you need a little extra nudge to make sure you’re getting your homework done on time, it’s a good idea to set some reminders on your phone. You don’t need a fancy app, either. You can use your alarm app to have it go off at specific times throughout the day to remind you to do your homework. This works especially well if you have a set homework time scheduled. So if you’ve decided you’re doing homework at 6:00 pm, you can set an alarm to remind you to bust out your books and get to work. 

If you use your phone as your planner, you may have the option to add alerts, emails, or notifications to scheduled events . Many calendar apps, including the one that comes with your phone, have built-in reminders that you can customize to meet your needs. So if you block off time to do your homework from 4:30 to 6:00 pm, you can set a reminder that will pop up on your phone when it’s time to get started. 


This dog isn't judging your lack of motivation...but your teacher might. Keep reading for tips to help you motivate yourself to do your homework.

How to Do Homework When You’re Unmotivated 

At first glance, it may seem like procrastination and being unmotivated are the same thing. After all, both of these issues usually result in you putting off your homework until the very last minute. 

But there’s one key difference: many procrastinators are working, they’re just prioritizing work differently. They know they’re going to start their homework...they’re just going to do it later. 

Conversely, people who are unmotivated to do homework just can’t find the willpower to tackle their assignments. Procrastinators know they’ll at least attempt the homework at the last minute, whereas people who are unmotivated struggle with convincing themselves to do it at a ll. For procrastinators, the stress comes from the inevitable time crunch. For unmotivated people, the stress comes from trying to convince themselves to do something they don’t want to do in the first place. 

Here are some common reasons students are unmotivated in doing homework : 

  • Assignments are too easy, too hard, or seemingly pointless 
  • Students aren’t interested in (or passionate about) the subject matter
  • Students are intimidated by the work and/or feels like they don’t understand the assignment 
  • Homework isn’t fun, and students would rather spend their time on things that they enjoy 

To sum it up: people who lack motivation to do their homework are more likely to not do it at all, or to spend more time worrying about doing their homework than...well, actually doing it.

3 Tips for How to Get Motivated to Do Homework

The key to getting homework done when you’re unmotivated is to figure out what does motivate you, then apply those things to homework. It sounds tricky...but it’s pretty simple once you get the hang of it! Here are our three expert tips for motivating yourself to do your homework. 

#1: Use Incremental Incentives

When you’re not motivated, it’s important to give yourself small rewards to stay focused on finishing the task at hand. The trick is to keep the incentives small and to reward yourself often. For example, maybe you’re reading a good book in your free time. For every ten minutes you spend on your homework, you get to read five pages of your book. Like we mentioned earlier, make sure you’re choosing a reward that works for you! 

So why does this technique work? Using small rewards more often allows you to experience small wins for getting your work done. Every time you make it to one of your tiny reward points, you get to celebrate your success, which gives your brain a boost of dopamine . Dopamine helps you stay motivated and also creates a feeling of satisfaction when you complete your homework !  

#2: Form a Homework Group 

If you’re having trouble motivating yourself, it’s okay to turn to others for support. Creating a homework group can help with this. Bring together a group of your friends or classmates, and pick one time a week where you meet and work on homework together. You don’t have to be in the same class, or even taking the same subjects— the goal is to encourage one another to start (and finish!) your assignments. 

Another added benefit of a homework group is that you can help one another if you’re struggling to understand the material covered in your classes. This is especially helpful if your lack of motivation comes from being intimidated by your assignments. Asking your friends for help may feel less scary than talking to your teacher...and once you get a handle on the material, your homework may become less frightening, too. 

#3: Change Up Your Environment 

If you find that you’re totally unmotivated, it may help if you find a new place to do your homework. For example, if you’ve been struggling to get your homework done at home, try spending an extra hour in the library after school instead. The change of scenery can limit your distractions and give you the energy you need to get your work done. 

If you’re stuck doing homework at home, you can still use this tip. For instance, maybe you’ve always done your homework sitting on your bed. Try relocating somewhere else, like your kitchen table, for a few weeks. You may find that setting up a new “homework spot” in your house gives you a motivational lift and helps you get your work done. 


Social media can be a huge problem when it comes to doing homework. We have advice for helping you unplug and regain focus.

How to Do Homework When You’re Easily Distracted

We live in an always-on world, and there are tons of things clamoring for our attention. From friends and family to pop culture and social media, it seems like there’s always something (or someone!) distracting us from the things we need to do.

The 24/7 world we live in has affected our ability to focus on tasks for prolonged periods of time. Research has shown that over the past decade, an average person’s attention span has gone from 12 seconds to eight seconds . And when we do lose focus, i t takes people a long time to get back on task . One study found that it can take as long as 23 minutes to get back to work once we’ve been distracte d. No wonder it can take hours to get your homework done! 

3 Tips to Improve Your Focus

If you have a hard time focusing when you’re doing your homework, it’s a good idea to try and eliminate as many distractions as possible. Here are three expert tips for blocking out the noise so you can focus on getting your homework done. 

#1: Create a Distraction-Free Environment

Pick a place where you’ll do your homework every day, and make it as distraction-free as possible. Try to find a location where there won’t be tons of noise, and limit your access to screens while you’re doing your homework. Put together a focus-oriented playlist (or choose one on your favorite streaming service), and put your headphones on while you work. 

You may find that other people, like your friends and family, are your biggest distraction. If that’s the case, try setting up some homework boundaries. Let them know when you’ll be working on homework every day, and ask them if they’ll help you keep a quiet environment. They’ll be happy to lend a hand! 

#2: Limit Your Access to Technology 

We know, we know...this tip isn’t fun, but it does work. For homework that doesn’t require a computer, like handouts or worksheets, it’s best to put all your technology away . Turn off your television, put your phone and laptop in your backpack, and silence notifications on any wearable tech you may be sporting. If you listen to music while you work, that’s fine...but make sure you have a playlist set up so you’re not shuffling through songs once you get started on your homework. 

If your homework requires your laptop or tablet, it can be harder to limit your access to distractions. But it’s not impossible! T here are apps you can download that will block certain websites while you’re working so that you’re not tempted to scroll through Twitter or check your Facebook feed. Silence notifications and text messages on your computer, and don’t open your email account unless you absolutely have to. And if you don’t need access to the internet to complete your assignments, turn off your WiFi. Cutting out the online chatter is a great way to make sure you’re getting your homework done. 

#3: Set a Timer (the Pomodoro Technique)

Have you ever heard of the Pomodoro technique ? It’s a productivity hack that uses a timer to help you focus!

Here’s how it works: first, set a timer for 25 minutes. This is going to be your work time. During this 25 minutes, all you can do is work on whatever homework assignment you have in front of you. No email, no text messaging, no phone calls—just homework. When that timer goes off, you get to take a 5 minute break. Every time you go through one of these cycles, it’s called a “pomodoro.” For every four pomodoros you complete, you can take a longer break of 15 to 30 minutes.

The pomodoro technique works through a combination of boundary setting and rewards. First, it gives you a finite amount of time to focus, so you know that you only have to work really hard for 25 minutes. Once you’ve done that, you’re rewarded with a short break where you can do whatever you want. Additionally, tracking how many pomodoros you complete can help you see how long you’re really working on your homework. (Once you start using our focus tips, you may find it doesn’t take as long as you thought!)


Two Bonus Tips for How to Do Homework Fast

Even if you’re doing everything right, there will be times when you just need to get your homework done as fast as possible. (Why do teachers always have projects due in the same week? The world may never know.)

The problem with speeding through homework is that it’s easy to make mistakes. While turning in an assignment is always better than not submitting anything at all, you want to make sure that you’re not compromising quality for speed. Simply put, the goal is to get your homework done quickly and still make a good grade on the assignment! 

Here are our two bonus tips for getting a decent grade on your homework assignments , even when you’re in a time crunch. 

#1: Do the Easy Parts First 

This is especially true if you’re working on a handout with multiple questions. Before you start working on the assignment, read through all the questions and problems. As you do, make a mark beside the questions you think are “easy” to answer . 

Once you’ve finished going through the whole assignment, you can answer these questions first. Getting the easy questions out of the way as quickly as possible lets you spend more time on the trickier portions of your homework, which will maximize your assignment grade. 

(Quick note: this is also a good strategy to use on timed assignments and tests, like the SAT and the ACT !) 

#2: Pay Attention in Class 

Homework gets a lot easier when you’re actively learning the material. Teachers aren’t giving you homework because they’re mean or trying to ruin your weekend... it’s because they want you to really understand the course material. Homework is designed to reinforce what you’re already learning in class so you’ll be ready to tackle harder concepts later.

When you pay attention in class, ask questions, and take good notes, you’re absorbing the information you’ll need to succeed on your homework assignments. (You’re stuck in class anyway, so you might as well make the most of it!) Not only will paying attention in class make your homework less confusing, it will also help it go much faster, too.


What’s Next?

If you’re looking to improve your productivity beyond homework, a good place to begin is with time management. After all, we only have so much time in a day...so it’s important to get the most out of it! To get you started, check out this list of the 12 best time management techniques that you can start using today.

You may have read this article because homework struggles have been affecting your GPA. Now that you’re on the path to homework success, it’s time to start being proactive about raising your grades. This article teaches you everything you need to know about raising your GPA so you can

Now you know how to get motivated to do homework...but what about your study habits? Studying is just as critical to getting good grades, and ultimately getting into a good college . We can teach you how to study bette r in high school. (We’ve also got tons of resources to help you study for your ACT and SAT exams , too!)

These recommendations are based solely on our knowledge and experience. If you purchase an item through one of our links, PrepScholar may receive a commission.

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Ashley Sufflé Robinson has a Ph.D. in 19th Century English Literature. As a content writer for PrepScholar, Ashley is passionate about giving college-bound students the in-depth information they need to get into the school of their dreams.

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How to Stay Focused on Homework: 13 Easy Tips

Whether you’re a 15 year old and trying to pass the 10th grade or doing your Master’s degree and trying to complete the required reading, learning how to stay focused on homework is a lifelong skill that can feel boring and painful at times, but is necessary.

We learn to dread homework growing up, viewing it as the thing that gets in the way of our recreational time.

Who wants to be doing math problems when they could be outside playing with their friends?

Who wants to deal with pages of required reading or worry about staying focused when studying when they could be watching the latest bingeworthy shows on Netflix?

I’m not here to argue for or against the necessity of homework itself, but instead that sometimes, doing homework is a part of life.

And if we want to succeed in life, we have to do the homework.

We have to get motivated to write that essay , we have to get motivated to study , and we have to learn to stay focused on our goals .

Staying focused on homework when there are so many other distractions competing for our attention can be difficult, so in this post we’re going to get real, get honest, and talk about how to stay focused on homework even when you’d rather be doing anything else.

woman doing homework with ruler

Study Tools You Need RIght Now

how to make yourself concentrate on homework

1. See How Fast You Can Get it Done Accurately

Getting your homework done quickly is usually the goal for most people, and while you don’t want to sacrifice accuracy, making a game out of it and seeing how fast you can get your homework done is usually a great way to stay focused on your homework.

There is a theory that we use as much time for tasks as we give ourselves, so it may be that actually you can write a good essay in 2 hours, when normally you would take 6 hours.

How much of that 6 hours is spent being distracted and wandering around your room aimlessly?

When we limit our time, we can get things done faster.

This isn’t to say that you should try and do 56 math problems in 2 minutes or sacrifice actually learning the material, but making a game to see how fast you can accurately do your homework is a great way to stay focused because now instead of just trying to focus on the content, you are focused on the goal of completing it and that will carry you through when it gets hard to stay focused.

school books

2. Give Yourself a Reward When You Finish

It’s the only trick in the book, but that’s because it works and is one of my best productivity tips .

If you’re find it difficult to stay focused on your homework, make sure to promise yourself some sort of award when you finish.

For example, if you finish your book report, you can watch 30 minutes of your favorite TV show.

If you finish your math problems, you can have the snack you’ve been wanting since you got home.

Those of us adults with homework can also do this, but in bigger ways.

When you finish your dissertation, reward yourself by buying the new purse you’ve been keeping your eye on.

When you finish your physics problems, you can call a friend and go meet up for dinner.

Human nature is to work best when we are working towards something, and this is another way of keeping you focused on your homework by keeping you focused on the reward that will come from staying focused and completing your goal.

math problems

3. Find a New Way to Study

Sometimes, focus comes down to what you’re actually doing to learn the material.

For instance, I never learned well just rereading my notes to study for tests, and I found it much easier to use index cards to create questions and quiz myself with.

If part of your homework is studying for a test or something that you’re able to do in a way that makes more sense to you, do that!

We had quite a few projects that I was able to be more creative on that really helped keep me focused on working on them because I was much more interested.

If you’re having major problems focusing on your homework, check to see that you’re picking topics that really interest you, where possible, or talk to your teachers or professors to let them know that you’re struggling and see if they have any creative suggestions on how you could learn the material.

You can also use something like ClickUp to help you organize your homework and studying virtually.

writing homework with pencil

4. Create a Study Group and Set a Goal

Study groups aren’t always good for focusing on homework because by the end of it, you’ve devolved into planning your Spring Break and no one has stuck to the plan or gotten much work done.

However, I like study groups as a way to stay focused on school work when you have a goal in mind. For instance, you could meet up and say you’re not going to leave the library until you’ve finished the project or you could say you’re not going to leave until you all feel confident that you could pass a test on Chapter 7 or you won’t finish until everyone has finished and understands how to do all of the math problems.

Having a study group just to have a study group isn’t always helpful, but with a clear outcome in mind, you can at least try and keep the socializing to a minimum until you go out and celebrate later for having finished.

You can also do it virtually with a platform like Zoom , which I talk about in my list of productivity tools .

This is also a great time to actually be honest with yourself about who that you know would make a good study group.

girl doing homework on laptop

5. Do the Hardest Homework First

Our ability to focus goes down the longer we work on something, so if you have 4 hours of homework in 4 different subjects, you should start with what you find hardest first when your focus can be at its peak.

By the time you reach the fourth hour, you may be really wishing you had something that was much easier to focus on because you will naturally lose the willpower and ability to stay focused for that long.

This sometimes goes against our natural inclinations to save the hardest homework for last because we don’t want to deal with it until later, but putting it off makes it even harder to focus.

boy doing homework at computer

6. Listen to Instrumental Music

For some people, music can help keep them stay calm when stressed and is a good idea when trying to focus on homework, but make sure it’s the right kind of music.

For me, music with words is actually really difficult to have on in the background while I work on something also related to words (reading or writing or trying to understand concepts) because it uses that part of my brain to try and sing along.

I find that instrumental music is much better, whether it’s just basic instrumental music, instrumental covers of my favorite songs, or dedicated study playlists that use music that is actually thought to improve your concentration based on the tones of the sounds it creates.

You can find tons of these on Youtube and just put it on in the background as you try to get to work.

homework planning to stay focused on homework

7. Create Your Perfect Environment

Equally, some of us find it super hard to focus with any noises in the background.

The aim of the game when it comes to focusing on homework has to do with creating your perfect environment and testing different environments to see what works for you.

Some people will find it easy to work in a library filled with other people working and walking around, while others will want to be in a cubicle with nothing else going on around them.

Some will want complete silence, others will want to blare music.

You should also think about the actual physical way you do your homework and whether that’s helping you.

There is a big difference for some people in the ability to focus when you’re laying down on your bed versus sitting at a dedicated desk, or working outside versus working inside.

Create the best environment you can before you get started on your homework and you’ll make it that much easier for yourself to focus.

homework sitting on picnic table

8. Complete It In 20 Minute Chunks

Most people can focus for about 15-30 minutes before needing a quick break to look at something else or just stop looking at whatever they’re working on for a minute or two.

If you chunk your homework down into 20 minute chunks and aim to complete one at a time, this is actually a really useful way to stay focused because it’s not as daunting and you can focus on getting through one chunk at a time.

You can do this in so many ways, like chunking down the math problems and doing 10 at a time before you take a break, or reading a certain number of pages before you take 5 minutes to look up from your book.

Do everything in your power to make focusing seem less challenging, and your mind and body will more easily cooperate.

homework and procrastination stop sign

9. Get a Tutor

Sometimes, a study group of your friends isn’t necessarily the best idea under many circumstances, but a tutor almost always is.

Unlike a social companion, they’re there basically to help you focus on studying and to help coach you through anything you find difficult.

Having that external person who is sitting with you and helping you chunk down your work and setting goals for you is exactly what some people need to get their homework done in a productive way.

The level of tutor you need depends on what you’re working on.

If you just want someone to help you with the material who has done it before, you could ask someone a few grades above you to help out.

Equally, some families hire tutors for children with learning disabilities or those who are really struggling in a topic, and in this case the tutor may have a lot more experience in behavior and helping people to get the work done that goes beyond having done it beore.

woman doing homework in library

10. Plan to Teach it to Others

Teaching the material to others is always a great way to help yourself stay focused when learning, because believe it or not, you’re learning to!

I used to teach my stuffed animals the material after I had done some homework on it, but you can also try and teach it to anyone to see how much you remember.

Many times, this transition into an active way of learning rather than passive is a great way to stay focused on studying and get things done instead of just hoping you remember it.

woman doing homework at laptop

11. Use Website Blockers on Your Computer

If your problems with staying focused on your homework come down to other distractions, you can install plenty of software on your computer or phone that actually block certain websites when you tell them to.

You could block social media so you’re not taking breaks to scroll Instagram, block the entire internet or turn off the WiFi if you’re trying to focus on reading but can’t help continue to go on Reddit every couple of minutes, etc.

Staying focused isn’t just a “you” problem, it is a pretty prevalent human problem, especially in the modern world where we have more distractions than ever before.

So be strong, block the websites and apps, and then get down to business.

Not giving yourself the option to go on them means you don’t have to use up willpower trying not to.

You could also do this by giving someone else your password to your social media accounts and having them change it and not telling you what it is so it’s impossible for you to get in.

boys doing homework with pencils

12. Make a To-Do List with Color Coding

For us visual people, making color coded to-do lists isn’t just an Instagrammable organizational tip, but a big life hack that helps us stay on track and be more productive.

If you’re struggling with your homework and staying focused, make a list each day of exactly what you need to do and use color codings, post-it notes or another visual way of checking things off to work through your list.

The more that you visually see completed on the paper, the more motivated you’ll be to keep staying focused and getting through the rest.

When you don’t have a list, it can feel like you’re not making any progress.

13. Use a Highlighter When Reading

If your homework involves reading or studying, you can also take an active role in this by using a highlighter to highlight important passages or use a pen to make notes next to the reading as you go.

This is proven to keep you more engaged in the material, which in turn will keep you more focused on your reading.

When you’re forcing yourself to engage with and respond to the material, you’re much more likely to remember and stay focused on it as opposed to what happens when you just passively read a book or read over your notes.

How to Stay Focused on Homework: 13 Easy Tips via @allamericanatlas

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How to focus while studying: Tips for better concentration

Use this helpful toolkit to finally focus better when studying. You'll learn how to plan effective study sessions and improve concentration.

How to focus while studying:  Tips for better concentration

You may enjoy being a student in your chosen field, but memorizing a stack of lecture notes so that you can pass your exams is another story entirely, especially since there are so many distracting, exciting, and colorful things in the … oh look, a butterfly!

Even top-performing students with ninja-level self-discipline struggle to stay focused while studying. The difference, however, is that they have developed the right study habits that not only get them in their chairs to study but keep them there too.

What’s their secret? How can you better concentrate while studying?

You, my friend, are holding the (virtual) answer in your hands. In this article, we're going to show you:

  • How to focus from the start
  • How to maintain focus and overcome daydreaming
  • How to become a more focused person overall

(Also make sure you check out our guide ' Top mental strategies for studying at home ' if you're required to be productive in an environment that can sometimes be a little distracting #doomscrolling.)

How to focus while studying, from the start

Student focusing on studying

Almost all of the problems associated with an inability to focus while studying fall into one of two broad categories:

  • Issues of inertia: Difficulty starting to study
  • Issues of daydreaming: Difficulty maintaining concentration when studying

Both have the same frustrating results but can require slightly different approaches to overcome. What you ideally need to do is calm your thoughts and minimize distractions just like you do when falling asleep, only now you're going to unleash 100% of your cognitive powers on learning and remembering!

Here’s how to do that ...

Tip # 1 for focusing while studying: Set up a peaceful, distraction-free "study bubble"

Prepare your study bubble

  • Set out all your materials , stationery, Diet Cokes … whatever you need to learn. You shouldn’t have to get up for anything once you’ve started.
  • Have a word with your family , housemates, cat, parrot, needy indoor plants … whoever you think might be a source of distraction. Explain politely that it’s study time and that you’d appreciate some quiet with minimal interruptions.
  • Clear out your inbox . If there are emails that require time-consuming action, write it down on a to-do list so that you won’t forget to take care of it later. The science is clear: Multi-tasking does not actually work !
  • Clear your phone of notifications and then turn it on silent so that it can’t ping and distract you. Better yet, leave it in another room. You won’t hurt Siri's feelings, we promise.
  • If you’re working off a device, log out of any apps and social media that might send you distracting notifications.
  • Optimize your body and brain to study . Go to the toilet, fill up your water bottle, brew a cup of coffee or tea, set out your snacks, and get a good night’s rest the night before.
  • Knock out any important, potentially distracting tasks before your allotted study time—like paying a bill, feeding the cat, or breaking up with your annoying boyfriend.

Now, you don’t have to do all of the above to prepare your study bubble, but if you’re easily distracted and have a tendency to procrastinate when studying , clearing your proverbial plate can go a long way in helping you focus better.

Tip # 2 for focusing while studying: Set goals and milestones

The key to mastery is consistently devoting time to learning, whether it’s ten minutes or two hours a day. Therefore, your next step towards honing razor-sharp skills of focus is to set study goals or milestones.

Here are three steps to doing that:

Step 1: Skim the material before diving in

Start at the very beginning of the coursework you need to learn and lightly scan through everything, jotting down an outline as you go (think: roadmap). This will give you a 30,000-foot view of your subject AND prime your brain for the harder learning and memorization work to come.

Step 2: Identify your strengths and weaknesses

This will alert you to the sections and chapters you need to allocate more time . The aim is to be prepared, not surprised , when your "weakest" and least favorite topic shows up on your next exam.

Step 3: Break everything down into "bite-sized" study sessions

Now you can break your outline down into manageable daily chunks , depending on the amount of time you can spare each day to study. This isn’t an exact science so don’t be too rigid but make sure you comfortably spread everything out over the days you have left before your test or exam. And remember to devote more study time to your weaknesses!

(You can use Brainscape's free study schedules and exam planners to do this!)

How does all of this preparation help you to focus on studying from the start?

  • Memory refresh: Scanning through and reviewing your study notes in order to establish a study plan refreshes your memory and helps to connect the dots on everything you’ve learned during the course or semester.
  • A healthy perspective: By establishing that 30,000-foot view of what needs to be done, as well as a plan to get it done, you’ll probably feel a lot less intimidated by the task at hand.
  • Motivation: With the study material broken down into smaller, more achievable milestones, you get that delicious “reward-like” sensation far more frequently. Mmm … dopamine . (Also, keeping a finger on the pulse of your study metrics can be a huge motivation because it allows you to visualize your progress toward your goals.)
  • Momentum: Because this exercise isn’t memory–or even focus-intensive–it makes it easier to start, even if you have the attention span of a goldfish. And once you’ve overcome that study inertia, the momentum can kick in.

Essentially, you have just succeeded in establishing a powerful and convenient framework for learning. Good job! Now let's look at how you can stay focused while studying and maintain concentration.

How to maintain focus while studying

Man sleeping on the desk

If it’s not external distractions (the cat, a noisy housemate, or emails plucking at your concentration), it’s internal distractions and the little siren’s song of the voice seducing you away from your books. Either way, staying focused while studying is hard . How can you overcome that particularly saucy daydream about Adriana Lima or Ryan Gosling (or both)?

Headshot of Ryan Gosling

Tip # 3 for staying focused while studying: Set goals that are appropriate to your mental gear

On some days, it feels like we can cruise through our study material like a Mercedes SLR McLaren 722 on an eight-lane autobahn. On other days, it's like we’re rattling down a potholed country road in an ancient pickup truck.

The trick is to recognize which gear your brain is in and shift your study approach to suit it.

If you're in a high mental gear, plan a long study session and try attacking the areas you’ve been having difficulty in. However, if you’re feeling flakey and easily distracted, shift down and instead, plan a series of short 5 to 10-minute flashcard sessions with frequent study breaks in between and some kind of reward at the end. You'll probably end up studying longer than that if you're on a roll.

The point is to capitalize on the energy you do have and still manage to study productively on the days you find your energy waning. Remember, the most productive people are skilled at managing their energy and attention , and not just their time.

Tip # 4 for staying focused while studying: Vary your learning methods

Everyone burns out after some time. There’s only so much reading and text highlighting you can do before your mind wanders. What can help enormously to re-engage your concentration is a bit of variety , both in your study environment and method:

  • Try a change of scenery : Go for a walk or relocate to your local library, coffee shop, or even just a different room in your home.
  • Do a round of flashcards : Take a break from your books and try a different study medium altogether, such as studying flashcards in Brainscape !
  • Pepper your studies with frequent breaks: Some students follow the Pomodoro Technique , where they study for 25 minutes and then take 5 minutes off. We advise you to use natural milestones as breaks—between chapters or sub-sections—rather than blindly setting a timer that could interrupt you when you're on a roll. Find your sweet spot of time-on versus time-off and give yourself that space to breathe!
  • Arrange a study session with a group of peers: This functions as a nice adjunctive method to your regular studying because (1) it holds you accountable, (2) your peers can help you address your weaknesses, and (3) in helping them, you're able to review your knowledge.

Just leave the beer at home.

Tip # 5 for maintaining study focus: Set automated study reminders

Take the guesswork and decision-making out of studying by programming study notifications into your device . You can easily do this with Brainscape, which has study streak reminders : gentle “nags” to keep your daily study streak alive.

Brainscape study streak reminders

To activate, simply go into the menu in the mobile app (left), select Notifications, and then you can then toggle on Streak Reminders (top right). Those will show up as push notifications on your phone’s home screen (bottom right) reminding you to stop what you’re doing and put in a quick study round with Brainscape. You can also customize the time of day you’d prefer to receive your reminders!

Tip # 6 for motivating yourself to study: Gamify your productivity

Dog catching a treat

If you’re the pony, what’s your carrot? Is it chocolate? A 15-minute walk? A 20-minute episode of Modern Family ? Or even an actual carrot? Find what you can dangle in front of your nose as an incentive to complete a study session and then set yourself moving-target goals like “Once I finish making flashcards for this section on criminal law, I’m going to murder that Snickers bar,” or “Once I answer 10 flashcards in a row with perfect confidence, I’m going to go for a 15-minute walk."

Gamifying your productivity essentially requires that you design a reward system that makes studying feel gratifying for your brain. In other words: train your brain like you would a dog. With treats!

Tip # 7: Use the right tools to stay focused while studying!

One effective study tool that rolls all of the aforementioned hacks into one ridiculously good-looking flashcard-based learning platform is Brainscape , which breaks down content-heavy subjects into collections of bite-sized flashcards. These are then delivered to you via the hyper-efficient learning power of spaced repetition , metacognition , and active recall to help you learn twice as fast as any other study technique .

In short, Brainscape is engineered to:

  • Make starting studying as easy as tapping a single button , eliminating mental inertia.
  • Make learning incredibly accessible , wherever you go, even offline.
  • Deliver the content to your brain in a way that is optimized for retention so you get more done in less time.
  • Create a fun, engaging, and gamified study experience with tons of learning stats and awards to chase.
  • Provide you with detailed study metrics so you can keep a finger on the pulse of your progress.

In other words, if you struggle with staying focused while studying, Brainscape is a powerful study tool that'll get you through any test or exam prep.

Tip # 8 on how to concentrate while studying: Give yourself a chance to reflect

Sometimes you genuinely need to take a break to reflect on your studies, as well as on the things that are distracting you. In fact, if you’re struggling to concentrate, maybe it’s because you haven't given yourself enough "reflective downtime" to process the things that are on your mind, such as an upsetting email, a pressing assignment, or a happy social development.

Opportunities for introspection include long walks, meditation, jogging, swimming, yoga, commuting, peeling potatoes, watching paint dry … any low-intensity activity that allows your brain to wander, daydream, and process. Taking a little study break to reflect, both on what you are learning and on what’s going on in your life is essential to your well-being. It’ll help improve your attention span and you’ll probably sleep better too.

How to become more focused on studying

How to be more focused

Studying is a taxing and demanding mental activity so it’s no wonder that it tends to inspire inertia. And then maintaining focus while studying can feel like a constant battle in this digital world, with its constant distractions and slavish devotion to instant gratification.

But after reading all this, (good job by the way!) you should have a comprehensively stocked mental toolkit at your disposal. Now you know how to improve concentration, how to focus, and how to remember what you learn. You have everything you need to smash that exam into the bleachers right there in your he— SQUIRREL!

Squirrel sitting on a path

Flashcards for serious learners .


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How to Focus on School Work & Stay Concentrated: 18 Tips to Follow

How to Focus on School Work

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Every new academic year has unique challenges that make students ask questions like, "Why can't I focus on school work?" It is more complicated than ever to maintain optimum concentration. Some people struggle because they are juggling family time, social activities, and media platforms. Nevertheless, you can focus on homework and finish your tasks efficiently by adopting interest-focusing strategies. These techniques will be helpful in overcoming diversions and concentrating on your schoolwork. You can achieve this by making simple schedule adjustments. In this blog post, we will discuss 18 tips on how to stay focused on homework in a clear and detailed manner. In case you have any questions or need expert assistance, contact StudyCrumb. Our academic writing team will be glad to solve any homework task you are dealing with. Say ‘ help with my assignment ’ and get top-notch assistance.

Why Can't I Focus on My Homework?

The question "why can't I focus on homework?" is popular among students, as numerous things can be distracting when doing assignments. Several hindrances like social networking sites, overthinking and watching digital content continuously demand concentration. As a result, you have little or no control over your thoughts. You must ensure your brain is dedicated to completing the task at hand. Focusing on an assignment may be challenging for many reasons. From my perspective, one of the reasons why I can't focus on school work is experiencing stress or exhaustion. Of course, being bored with the subject itself could also be the cause of why you are not concentrating. Many people find that figuring out the obstacle is the best way of understanding how to get focused on school work. Similarly, eating well and leading a healthy lifestyle is what helps you focus on homework.

Can't Focus on Homework? Find Out All Distracting Facts

Why can't I concentrate on my homework? Is paying attention to my assignments so crucial? Welcome to the new era where distractions are everywhere, and you can't concentrate on homework. How can you possibly finish your schoolwork and focus on it without being interrupted? Something minor, like social media browsing, may not seem harmful initially, but it can hinder studying. Students must learn how to stay focused while doing homework so that they can perform well. Many factors may contribute to these distractions and make you feel like you have limited power over your thoughts. These elements of distraction include the following:

  • Fear of failure.
  • Electronic devices.

Lack of interest is a common reason why students experience difficulties with concentration. If you aren’t interested in your subject and are looking for an expert to pay for homework , StudyCrumb is the best place to seek for academic help. Let us know the details and we will match you with the best writer in your field.

Tips for Focusing on Homework

You may struggle with focus occasionally as a freshman or a graduate student. One of the obstacles is the question of how to concentrate on homework. It can be challenging when you are thinking about something else. For example, your mind is constantly shifting focus onto your phone, your stomach is grumbling, or you want to lie down and nap. Start by learning how to focus on schoolwork in general by adopting technology as a core part of making you creative. However, technology is responsible for a never-ending stream of diversions that can weaken the will toward education. Check a few tips below on how to focus better on homework while avoiding interference.

1. Provide Quiet and Comfortable Environment

Students should learn how to focus on school at home as a core part of achieving academic success. Using a computer to do your homework staying in a noisy living room environment may affect concentration. To focus on school work, move to a quiet area where you can listen to helpful videos and read books. Make the space cozy, ensure it is also tidy, and maybe use inspirational banners in the room. You will probably have an easier understanding if you minimize distractions when studying. A quiet and conducive environment can optimize the quality of time spent on schoolwork and spare enough hours for free time. This is one of the crucial ways how to stop getting distracted from homework.

2. Prepare Snacks and Water Beforehand

This is another critical method and a sure way how to focus when doing homework. Here, you can learn how to focus on school by consuming water and healthy snacks, including low-fat yogurt, whole-grain bread, and dried fruits. It is not a good idea to eat a substantial meal prior to starting to work on the homework since it takes a lot of energy and time to digest the food. Thus, large meals can make you unproductive. Instead, preparing snacks and water beforehand is one of the easy-to-implement tips to help focus on homework. Water prevents dehydration and helps in digestion. Healthy snacks are a crucial element of a well-balanced diet, particularly when studying for long periods. Easy meals for college students play a critical role in curbing overeating. They also boost energy levels and metabolism and reduce hunger pangs, allowing you to concentrate better on your schoolwork.

3. Provide Silence to Concentrate on Homework

People often need silence when contemplating how to not get distracted while doing homework. Most students wonder why it is so hard to focus on school work in a loud environment. This is because it shifts your mind to what is happening around you rather than concentrating on your homework. Maintaining silence when focusing on school work enables you to absorb information better, remember it, and formulate new questions. You can assess the significance of alternative viewpoints and internalize different emotions and facts. Furthermore, silence allows you to practice deliberate and purposeful communication. It is also necessary to ensure effective use of the time allocated for schoolwork.

4. Organize Your Study Place

Taking an hour or more to arrange your space is helpful when figuring out how to focus on doing homework. If you study in your room, ensure the windows are open for the flow of fresh air. However, remain mindful of outside noise that may become even more distracting. One of the things to help you focus on homework is adequate illumination to help with reading and writing and clearing your mind. Both these preparations can be achieved using music and easy hygiene procedures. If you enjoy classical music, turn it on for the smooth sounds that will help you relax. Spend a few minutes removing dirty things on the desk, table, and study space, including your sitting position. The whole idea of organizing your study space is made to avoid time wastage. Furthermore, great organization boosts concentration and output and helps you avoid distraction.

5. Block Apps and Websites That Can Distract From Doing Homework

Another incredible tip on how to concentrate on school work is by blocking apps and websites that cause distraction. Focusing is undoubtedly tricky if you are completing homework on a laptop. Some apps are beneficial while others are not, especially when you think of what helps you focus on homework and ensure effective use of allocated time. For instance, Screen Time is an app that assists you in avoiding frequent distractions. Avoid apps like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to focus on homework and close any notifications like text messages not to get distracted. By blocking these apps, you will concentrate more on your studies and enhance your workflow. You can run a few applications that support your efficiency in handling schoolwork.

6. Avoid Multitasking to Be Focused on School Work

If you are unsure about how to focus on homework at home, you are in the right place. You should identify different methods so you can concentrate thoughts on schoolwork and optimize the learning process. Focusing on one assignment at a time is another way how to stay focused on school work. Multitasking will reduce your productivity. Avoid watching a video lesson on science while completing your math assignment because you might be losing more than you gain. Before beginning a new task, finish the previous one and concentrate on homework. This enables you to take part in the activity more deeply and stay attentive. In addition, you will retain more knowledge and have less trouble applying the information in the real world if you can focus more on your schoolwork.

7. Choose the Best Time for Homework

As the saying goes, to everything, there is a time and place , and with homework, you need to set the appropriate time and place to work it out. You need to choose designated periods to make yourself focus on homework. Attentiveness to schoolwork may be difficult if the event is not scheduled correctly. Therefore, choosing the most appropriate time to focus on your homework without many distractions is key. The correct perspective in handling assignment deadlines would entail the selection of a timeframe that is best for you. In other words, the time allocation should be uneventful yet scheduled at an appropriate time for maximum efficiency. This means you will consider periods when your mind is fresh and there are minimal distractions to remain productive while focusing on schoolwork.

8. Put Aside All Gadgets

When researching how to do homework without getting distracted, gadgets are considered to be some of the most distracting elements that you can have. Having gadgets around, such as phones, leaves you vulnerable to shifting attention. This entails calls and messages from friends in social media or online interactions. Although gadgets are essential in helping you study, switch them off in order to not get distracted when doing homework. Accordingly, managing screen time must be a central topic when developing ways how to focus on your homework. You will find that without distractions, you can easily set attention to the tasks that matter. Putting off your gadgets often results in higher efficiency and productivity, especially when handling academic tasks.

9. Prioritize Your Homework

As with many other things, priorities are central when getting work done. Schoolwork at home can easily fall into events that are of lower importance. However, eliminating this perspective may be critical when considering how to focus while doing homework. Prioritization is the most effective when planning and scheduling events. Tasks like doing homework should, in this case, be set as the most important and high up on the schedule compared to other events. More time should also be allocated to more urgent events. This allows you to organize your thoughts and ideas while doing your homework without feeling rushed.

10. Plan Your Schedule to Be Concentrated

Students often wonder how to focus more on school work, especially when dealing with time-critical events or when they have a lot on their plate. I have, in several instances, successfully used scheduling when strategizing how to make myself focus on homework. The trick lies in developing a schedule that works for you. The plan, in this case, should operate around all your daily events and take advantage of the free periods. You can therefore complete the tasks that are typically overlooked. Keeping time will be easier with the correct approach to scheduling. You will also make more time for the things that previously fell between the cracks and remain undone.

11. Divide Your Task Into Parts

Undertaking large volumes of work that cannot be well-tracked may seem overwhelming. Being compelled can then make it hard to stay focused. In my experience, the practice of dividing work into parts has been able to help me focus on homework. Breaking down large volumes of tasks enables you to easily keep track of the progress you make and avoid the feeling of being overwhelmed. You can use this as a tip when figuring out what to do when you can't focus on homework. Also, scheduling periodic breaks after completing a stressful section will be helpful.

12. Make To-Do Lists to Focus on Homework

Lists are a common way of tracking the important events that should be done throughout the day. They can also be helpful when thinking of how to stay focused on homework in college or even in your personal engagements. You may wonder how to stop getting distracted while doing homework using lists, and here is how. Listing all the day's tasks in order of how you would like to undertake them keeps you focused on your goals. The order will help you tackle things individually and shape your focus on the next item you need to work on. Setting goals for each step can also lead to exceptional results in completing homework and minimizing distractions.

13. Use Tools and Apps for Studying

As a student, you must leverage technologies and all available ways to focus on homework. The advantage of studying in the modern schooling environment is that you have a wide array of tools and resources. For instance, mobile apps and games can help you meet the objectivity tasks you may require. They will also help you to get useful time management skills . Many free apps and tools help you to focus on school work at home. For example, scheduling apps offer time management and planning resources that help you get that extra edge in keeping focused. These tools provide alerts to inform you of your tasks and even help manage your progress. In addition to scheduling applications, using PDF annotating apps and tools can be very helpful for studying. Apps like PDF Reader Pro allow you to open, edit, annotate and share PDFs with ease. You can highlight important textbook passages, add notes and bookmark pages to better focus on your homework. 

14. Set a Timer While Doing Homework

Using timers is a great option when you are not able to concentrate on homework. Students who can't focus on school work may benefit from using them to manage their engagement in different daily activities. Timers are mainly instrumental in keeping your attention focused on a specific goal. Productivity timers, for instance, may help keep your focus by holding you accountable for every minute that passes. You know you need to finish a set number of tasks based on the time spent on these tasks. This can be beneficial if you are prone to procrastination or are too busy with other things. Older students wondering how to stay focused on homework in college or tertiary institutions may also use timers to manage their efficiencies. Timing yourself can also help keep pressure on the mind and focus your thoughts. Therefore, make timed tasks a habit.

15. Come Up With Motivation

Motivation greatly helps when you wonder what to do when you can't focus on homework. Sometimes, simple inspiration and goal realignment may be all you need to restore your attention. Motivation comes in many forms and shapes. For instance, using reward systems or adjusting your school goals with personal interests may go a long way. Other options include joining group work discussions that match these objectives and engaging in an exercise that may help keep you motivated. So next time you think of how to focus on schoolwork at home, consider what benefits you may get from developing motivation for your goals.

16. Make Breaks for Better Concentration on Homework

Concentration is part of what can help me focus on homework, and there is a chance you may be severely affected by fatigue. Exhaustion is to be expected, especially when handling challenging course materials. I mostly find that I can't focus on my homework when I am tired. It becomes complicated to focus on homework without getting distracted when exhausted, and the solution I have found so far is taking a break. This helps rejuvenate the mind and generate new energy. Scheduling periodic intervals minimizes stress and allows you to refocus your thoughts. Nevertheless, be mindful and do not take a break that extends for too long.

17. Change Study Spot

You may be curious how a change in the environment affects your ability to concentrate or how to make yourself focus on homework with so many distractions at home. Fortunately, there are standard solutions to these questions as well. If you are wondering how to focus on school work at home, you should move to a different study spot. In a spacious house, you can find a quiet, designated space to set up and do your homework. Having a fixed location with the right environment for concentration may increase your creativity significantly. In smaller houses, getting a place that is secluded from direct distractions may also help minimize the impact these distractions have on your attentiveness.

18. Listen to Music

Changing approach to studying may also be needed to stay focused on homework. Listening to your favorite music can be a great option. This is particularly true if you have considered most of the options shared above and are still wondering how to do your homework without getting distracted. Music to study to is a great way to keep you focused, especially when using headphones to prevent external noise. It is exceptionally effective in stress management. There is a higher chance you may get distracted when doing challenging homework assignments. Music is one of the things that can be used to clear the mind when you are curious about what to do if you can't focus on homework. Symphonies and upbeat music, for instance, help manage stress by boosting the thinking process. It is, however, important to avoid listening to songs playing in the background with lyrics that may be distracting. Instrumentals are, in most cases, the more practical option.

Final Thoughts on How to Focus on Schoolwork

Beyond education, learning to concentrate on your schoolwork might also help you in other pursuits in your life. Among the best abilities for fostering your development is concentration. Various tips are practical when you spend all day and night working on school or college papers and cannot concentrate on your assignment. Stick to these 18 strategies if you want to try and work out how to focus on homework without getting distracted. We have all been through the "how do I focus on my homework" moment occasionally. However, listening to music, organizing your study place, and setting a timer will help you stay focused when doing homework. Make it a routine to read and utilize these tips; you will not regret a single day in your life.


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FAQ About Focusing on Homework at Home

1. why can't i focus on homework for more than 10 minutes.

Gaining strict concentration may be one of the most challenging issues affecting students. Many learners find that they can't focus on homework even when they want. Distractions, exhaustion, and a general lack of interest in the subject are to blame for their lack of focus. In some cases, stress and other emotional distractions may affect a person's ability to focus.

2. How can I train my brain to concentrate on homework?

Fortunately, this problem can be solved by simple discipline routines and habits that enable students to concentrate on homework. Working past the undisciplined mind can be achieved by simply following a strict routine. Scheduling tasks and timelines are some of the ways that can be used to keep your mind set on targeted goals. Turning off all distractions, such as the television and background music, may also help improve concentration levels.

3. How to get my child to focus on homework?

Parents or guardians are often a great source in helping their children stay focused when doing homework. Creating an enabling environment and assisting in doing homework are ways that parents can improve their child's concentration and remain involved in their learning process. Other options, such as helping develop workable schedules for children, are also plausible ways that parents can use.


Rachel R. Hill is a real educational devotee. She prides in writing exceptional general guides while listening to every need of students.

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Daniel Wong

30 Tips to Stop Procrastinating and Find Motivation to Do Homework

Updated on June 6, 2023 By Daniel Wong 44 Comments


To stop procrastinating on homework, you need to find motivation to do the homework in the first place.

But first, you have to overcome feeling too overwhelmed to even start.

You know what it feels like when everything hits you at once, right?

You have three tests to study for and a math assignment due tomorrow.

And you’ve got a history report due the day after.

You tell yourself to get down to work. But with so much to do, you feel overwhelmed.

So you procrastinate.

You check your social media feed, watch a few videos, and get yourself a drink. But you know that none of this is bringing you closer to getting the work done.

Does this sound familiar?

Don’t worry – you are not alone. Procrastination is a problem that everyone faces, but there are ways around it.

By following the tips in this article, you’ll be able to overcome procrastination and consistently find the motivation to do the homework .

So read on to discover 30 powerful tips to help you stop procrastinating on your homework.

Enter your email below to download a PDF summary of this article. The PDF contains all the tips found here, plus  3 exclusive bonus tips that you’ll only find in the PDF.

How to stop procrastinating and motivate yourself to do your homework.

Procrastination when it comes to homework isn’t just an issue of laziness or a lack of motivation .

The following tips will help you to first address the root cause of your procrastination and then implement strategies to keep your motivation levels high.

1. Take a quiz to see how much you procrastinate.

The first step to changing your behavior is to become more self-aware.

How often do you procrastinate? What kinds of tasks do you tend to put off? Is procrastination a small or big problem for you?

To answer these questions, I suggest that you take this online quiz designed by Psychology Today .

2. Figure out why you’re procrastinating.

Procrastination is a complex issue that involves multiple factors.

Stop thinking of excuses for not doing your homework , and figure out what’s keeping you from getting started.

Are you procrastinating because:

  • You’re not sure you’ll be able to solve all the homework problems?
  • You’re subconsciously rebelling against your teachers or parents?
  • You’re not interested in the subject or topic?
  • You’re physically or mentally tired?
  • You’re waiting for the perfect time to start?
  • You don’t know where to start?

Once you’ve identified exactly why you’re procrastinating, you can pick out the tips in this article that will get to the root of the problem.

3. Write down what you’re procrastinating on.

Students tend to procrastinate when they’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed.

But you might be surprised to discover that simply by writing down the specific tasks you’re putting off, the situation will feel more manageable.

It’s a quick solution, and it makes a real difference.

Give it a try and you’ll be less likely to procrastinate.

4. Put your homework on your desk.


Here’s an even simpler idea.

Many times, the hardest part of getting your homework done is getting started.

It doesn’t require a lot of willpower to take out your homework and put it on your desk.

But once it’s sitting there in front of you, you’ll be much closer to actually getting down to work.

5. Break down the task into smaller steps.

This one trick will make any task seem more manageable.

For example, if you have a history report to write, you could break it down into the following steps:

  • Read the history textbook
  • Do online research
  • Organize the information
  • Create an outline
  • Write the introduction
  • Write the body paragraphs
  • Write the conclusion
  • Edit and proofread the report

Focus on just one step at a time. This way, you won’t need to motivate yourself to write the whole report at one go.

This is an important technique to use if you want to study smart and get more done .

6. Create a detailed timeline with specific deadlines.

As a follow-up to Point #5, you can further combat procrastination by creating a timeline with specific deadlines.

Using the same example above, I’ve added deadlines to each of the steps:

  • Jan 30 th : Read the history textbook
  • Feb 2 nd : Do online research
  • Feb 3 rd : Organize the information
  • Feb 5 th : Create an outline
  • Feb 8 th : Write the introduction
  • Feb 12 th : Write the body paragraphs
  • Feb 14 th : Write the conclusion
  • Feb 16 th : Edit and proofread the report

Assigning specific dates creates a sense of urgency, which makes it more likely that you’ll keep to the deadlines.

7. Spend time with people who are focused and hardworking.

Jim Rohn famously said that you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

If you hang out with people who are motivated and hardworking, you’ll become more like them.

Likewise, if you hang out with people who continually procrastinate, you’ll become more like them too.

Motivation to do homework naturally increases when you surround yourself with the right people.

So choose your friends wisely. Find homework buddies who will influence you positively to become a straight-A student who leads a balanced life.

That doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun! It just means that you and your friends know when it’s time to get down to work and when it’s time to enjoy yourselves.

8. Tell at least two or three people about the tasks you plan to complete.

Group of students

When you tell others about the tasks you intend to finish, you’ll be more likely to follow through with your plans.

This is called “accountability,” and it kicks in because you want to be seen as someone who keeps your word.

So if you know about this principle, why not use it to your advantage?

You could even ask a friend to be your accountability buddy. At the beginning of each day, you could text each other what you plan to work on that day.

Then at the end of the day, you could check in with each other to see if things went according to plan.

9. Change your environment .

Maybe it’s your environment that’s making you feel sluggish.

When you’re doing your homework, is your super-comfortable bed just two steps away? Or is your distracting computer within easy reach?

If your environment is part of your procrastination problem, then change it.

Sometimes all you need is a simple change of scenery. Bring your work to the dining room table and get it done there. Or head to a nearby café to complete your report.

10. Talk to people who have overcome their procrastination problem.

If you have friends who consistently win the battle with procrastination, learn from their experience.

What was the turning point for them? What tips and strategies do they use? What keeps them motivated?

Find all this out, and then apply the information to your own situation.

11. Decide on a reward to give yourself after you complete your task.

“Planned” rewards are a great way to motivate yourself to do your homework.

The reward doesn’t have to be something huge.

For instance, you might decide that after you finish 10 questions of your math homework, you get to watch your favorite TV show.

Or you might decide that after reading one chapter of your history textbook, you get to spend 10 minutes on Facebook.

By giving yourself a reward, you’ll feel more motivated to get through the task at hand.

12. Decide on a consequence you’ll impose on yourself if you don’t meet the deadline.


It’s important that you decide on what the consequence will be before you start working toward your goal.

As an example, you could tell your younger brother that you’ll give him $1 for every deadline you don’t meet (see Point #6).

Or you could decide that you’ll delete one game from your phone for every late homework submission.

Those consequences would probably be painful enough to help you get down to work, right?

13. Visualize success.

Take 30 seconds and imagine how you’ll feel when you finish your work.

What positive emotions will you experience?

Will you feel a sense of satisfaction from getting all your work done?

Will you relish the extra time on your hands when you get your homework done fast and ahead of time?

This simple exercise of visualizing success may be enough to inspire you to start doing your assignment.

14. Visualize the process it will take to achieve that success.

Even more important than visualizing the outcome is visualizing the process it will take to achieve that outcome.

Research shows that focusing on the process is critical to success. If you’re procrastinating on a task, take a few moments to think about what you’ll need to do to complete it.

Visualize the following:

  • What resources you’ll need
  • Who you can turn to for help
  • How long the task will take
  • Where you’ll work on the task
  • The joy you’ll experience as you make progress

This kind of visualization is like practice for your mind.

Once you understand what’s necessary to achieve your goal, you’ll find that it’s much easier to get down to work with real focus. This is key to doing well in school .

15. Write down why you want to complete the task.


You’ll be more motivated when you’re clear about why you want to accomplish something.

To motivate yourself to do your homework, think about all the ways in which it’s a meaningful task.

So take a couple of minutes to write down the reasons. Here are some possible ones:

  • Learn useful information
  • Master the topic
  • Enjoy a sense of accomplishment when you’ve completed the task
  • Become a more focused student
  • Learn to embrace challenges
  • Fulfill your responsibility as a student
  • Get a good grade on the assignment

16. Write down the negative feelings you’ll have if you don’t complete the task.

If you don’t complete the assignment, you might feel disappointed or discouraged. You might even feel as if you’ve let your parents or your teacher – or even yourself – down.

It isn’t wise to dwell on these negative emotions for too long. But by imagining how you’ll feel if you don’t finish the task, you’ll realize how important it is that you get to work.

17. Do the hardest task first.

Most students will choose to do the easiest task first, rather than the hardest one. But this approach isn’t effective because it leaves the worst for last.

It’s more difficult to find motivation to do homework in less enjoyable subjects.

As Brian Tracy says , “Eat that frog!” By this, he means that you should always get your most difficult task out of the way at the beginning of the day.

If math is your least favorite subject, force yourself to complete your math homework first.

After doing so, you’ll feel a surge of motivation from knowing it’s finished. And you won’t procrastinate on your other homework because it will seem easier in comparison.

(On a separate note, check out these tips on how to get better at math if you’re struggling.)

18. Set a timer when doing your homework.

I recommend that you use a stopwatch for every homework session. (If you prefer, you could also use this online stopwatch or the Tomato Timer .)

Start the timer at the beginning of the session, and work in 30- to 45-minute blocks.

Using a timer creates a sense of urgency, which will help you fight off your urge to procrastinate.

When you know you only have to work for a short session, it will be easier to find motivation to complete your homework.

Tell yourself that you need to work hard until the timer goes off, and then you can take a break. (And then be sure to take that break!)

19. Eliminate distractions.

Here are some suggestions on how you can do this:

  • Delete all the games and social media apps on your phone
  • Turn off all notifications on your phone
  • Mute your group chats
  • Archive your inactive chats
  • Turn off your phone, or put it on airplane mode
  • Put your phone at least 10 feet away from you
  • Turn off the Internet access on your computer
  • Use an app like Freedom to restrict your Internet usage
  • Put any other distractions (like food, magazines and books unrelated to your homework) at the other end of the room
  • Unplug the TV
  • Use earplugs if your surroundings are noisy

20. At the start of each day, write down the two to three Most Important Tasks (MITs) you want to accomplish.

Writing a list

This will enable you to prioritize your tasks. As Josh Kaufman explains , a Most Important Task (MIT) is a critical task that will help you to get significant results down the road.

Not all tasks are equally important. That’s why it’s vital that you identify your MITs, so that you can complete those as early in the day as possible.

What do you most need to get done today? That’s an MIT.

Get to work on it, then feel the satisfaction that comes from knowing it’s out of the way.

21. Focus on progress instead of perfection.

Perfectionism can destroy your motivation to do homework and keep you from starting important assignments.

Some students procrastinate because they’re waiting for the perfect time to start.

Others do so because they want to get their homework done perfectly. But they know this isn’t really possible – so they put off even getting started.

What’s the solution?

To focus on progress instead of perfection.

There’s never a perfect time for anything. Nor will you ever be able to complete your homework perfectly. But you can do your best, and that’s enough.

So concentrate on learning and improving, and turn this into a habit that you implement whenever you study .

22. Get organized.

Procrastination is common among students who are disorganized.

When you can’t remember which assignment is due when or which tests you have coming up, you’ll naturally feel confused. You’ll experience school- and test-related stress .

This, in turn, will lead to procrastination.

That’s why it’s crucial that you get organized. Here are some tips for doing this:

  • Don’t rely on your memory ; write everything down
  • Keep a to-do list
  • Use a student planner
  • Use a calendar and take note of important dates like exams, project due dates, school holidays , birthdays, and family events
  • At the end of each day, plan for the following day
  • Use one binder or folder for each subject or course
  • Do weekly filing of your loose papers, notes, and old homework
  • Throw away all the papers and notes you no longer need

23. Stop saying “I have to” and start saying “I choose to.”

When you say things like “I have to write my essay” or “I have to finish my science assignment,” you’ll probably feel annoyed. You might be tempted to complain about your teachers or your school .

What’s the alternative?

To use the phrase “I choose to.”

The truth is, you don’t “have” to do anything.

You can choose not to write your essay; you’ll just run the risk of failing the class.

You can choose not to do your science assignment; you’ll just need to deal with your angry teacher.

When you say “I choose to do my homework,” you’ll feel empowered. This means you’ll be more motivated to study and to do what you ought to.

24. Clear your desk once a week.

Organized desk

Clutter can be demotivating. It also causes stress , which is often at the root of procrastination.

Hard to believe? Give it a try and see for yourself.

By clearing your desk, you’ll reduce stress and make your workspace more organized.

So set a recurring appointment to organize your workspace once a week for just 10 minutes. You’ll receive huge benefits in the long run!

25. If a task takes two minutes or less to complete, do it now.

This is a principle from David Allen’s bestselling book, Getting Things Done .

You may notice that you tend to procrastinate when many tasks pile up. The way to prevent this from happening is to take care of the small but important tasks as soon as you have time.

Here are some examples of small two-minute tasks that you should do once you have a chance:

  • Replying to your project group member’s email
  • Picking up anything on the floor that doesn’t belong there
  • Asking your parents to sign a consent form
  • Filing a graded assignment
  • Making a quick phone call
  • Writing a checklist
  • Sending a text to schedule a meeting
  • Making an online purchase that doesn’t require further research

26. Finish one task before starting on the next.

You aren’t being productive when you switch between working on your literature essay, social studies report, and physics problem set – while also intermittently checking your phone.

Research shows that multitasking is less effective than doing one thing at a time. Multitasking may even damage your brain !

When it comes to overcoming procrastination, it’s better to stick with one task all the way through before starting on the next one.

You’ll get a sense of accomplishment when you finish the first assignment, which will give you a boost of inspiration as you move on to the next one.

27. Build your focus gradually.

You can’t win the battle against procrastination overnight; it takes time. This means that you need to build your focus progressively.

If you can only focus for 10 minutes at once, that’s fine. Start with three sessions of 10 minutes a day. After a week, increase it to three sessions of 15 minutes a day, and so on.

As the weeks go by, you’ll become far more focused than when you first started. And you’ll soon see how great that makes you feel.

28. Before you start work, write down three things you’re thankful for.


Gratitude improves your psychological health and increases your mental strength .

These factors are linked to motivation. The more you practice gratitude, the easier it will be to find motivation to do your homework. As such, it’s less likely that you’ll be a serial procrastinator.

Before you get down to work for the day, write down three things you’re thankful for. These could be simple things like good health, fine weather, or a loving family.

You could even do this in a “gratitude journal,” which you can then look back on whenever you need a shot of fresh appreciation for the good things in your life.

Either way, this short exercise will get you in the right mindset to be productive.

29. Get enough sleep.

For most people, this means getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. And teenagers need 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night to function optimally.

What does sleep have to do with procrastination?

More than you might realize.

It’s almost impossible to feel motivated when you’re tired. And when you’re low on energy, your willpower is depleted too.

That’s why you give in to the temptation of Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube videos more easily when you’re sleep-deprived.

Here are ways to get more sleep , and sleep better too:

  • Create a bedtime routine
  • Go to sleep at around the same time every night
  • Set a daily alarm as a reminder to go to bed
  • Exercise regularly (but not within a few hours of bedtime)
  • Make your bedroom as dark as possible
  • Remove or switch off all electronic devices before bedtime
  • Avoid caffeine at least six hours before bedtime
  • Use an eye mask and earplugs

30. Schedule appointments with yourself to complete your homework.

These appointments are specific blocks of time reserved for working on a report, assignment, or project. Scheduling appointments is effective because it makes the task more “official,” so you’re more likely to keep the appointment.

For example, you could schedule appointments such as:

  • Jan 25 th , 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm: Math assignment
  • Jan 27 th , 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm: Online research for social studies project
  • Jan 28 th , 4:30 pm – 5:00 pm: Write introduction for English essay

Transform homework procrastination into homework motivation

Procrastination is a problem we all face.

But given that you’ve read all the way to here, I know you’re committed to overcoming this problem.

And now that you’re armed with these tips, you have all the tools you need to become more disciplined and focused .

By the way, please don’t feel as if you need to implement all the tips at once, because that would be too overwhelming.

Instead, I recommend that you focus on just a couple of tips a week, and make gradual progress. No rush!

Over time, you’ll realize that your habit of procrastination has been replaced by the habit of getting things done.

Now’s the time to get started on that process of transformation. 🙂

Like this article? Please share it with your friends.

Images: Student and books , Homework , Group of students , Consequences , Why , Writing a list , Organized desk , Gratitude

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January 19, 2016 at 11:53 am

Ur tips are rlly helpful. Thnkyou ! 🙂

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January 19, 2016 at 1:43 pm

You’re welcome 🙂

' src=

August 29, 2018 at 11:21 am

Thanks very much

' src=

February 19, 2019 at 1:38 pm

The funny thing is while I was reading the first few steps of this article I was procrastinating on my homework….

' src=

November 12, 2019 at 12:44 pm

same here! but now I actually want to get my stuff done… huh

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December 4, 2022 at 11:35 pm

' src=

May 30, 2023 at 6:26 am

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October 25, 2023 at 11:35 am

fr tho i totally was but now I’m actually going to get started haha

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June 6, 2020 at 6:04 am

I love your articles

' src=

January 21, 2016 at 7:07 pm

Thanks soo much. It’s almost like you could read my mind- when I felt so overwhelmed with the workload heap I had created for myself by procrastination, I know feel very motivated to tackle it out completely and replace that bad habit with the wonderful tips mentioned here! 🙂

January 21, 2016 at 8:04 pm

I’m glad to help 🙂

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January 25, 2016 at 3:09 pm

You have shared great tips here. I especially like the point “Write down why you want to complete the task” because it is helpful to make us more motivated when we are clear about our goals

January 25, 2016 at 4:51 pm

Glad that you found the tips useful, John!

' src=

January 29, 2016 at 1:22 am

Thank you very much for your wonderful tips!!! ☺☺☺

January 29, 2016 at 10:41 am

It’s my joy to help, Kabir 🙂

' src=

February 3, 2016 at 12:57 pm

Always love your articles. Keep them up 🙂

February 3, 2016 at 1:21 pm

Thanks, Matthew 🙂

' src=

February 4, 2016 at 1:40 pm

There are quite a lot of things that you need to do in order to come out with flying colors while studying in a university away from your homeland. Procrastinating on homework is one of the major mistakes committed by students and these tips will help you to avoid them all and make yourself more efficient during your student life.

February 4, 2016 at 1:58 pm

Completely agreed, Leong Siew.

' src=

October 5, 2018 at 12:52 am

Wow! thank you very much, I love it .

' src=

November 2, 2018 at 10:45 am

You are helping me a lot.. thank you very much….😊

' src=

November 6, 2018 at 5:19 pm

I’m procrastinating by reading this

' src=

November 29, 2018 at 10:21 am

' src=

January 8, 2021 at 3:38 am

' src=

March 3, 2019 at 9:12 am

Daniel, your amazing information and advice, has been very useful! Please keep up your excellent work!

' src=

April 12, 2019 at 11:12 am

We should stop procrastinating.

' src=

September 28, 2019 at 5:19 pm

Thank you so much for the tips:) i’ve been procrastinating since i started high schools and my grades were really bad “F” but the tips have made me a straight A student again.

' src=

January 23, 2020 at 7:43 pm

Thanks for the tips, Daniel! They’re really useful! 😁

' src=

April 10, 2020 at 2:15 pm

I have always stood first in my class. But procrastination has always been a very bad habit of mine which is why I lost marks for late submission .As an excuse for finding motivation for studying I would spend hours on the phone and I would eventually procrastinate. So I tried your tips and tricks today and they really worked.i am so glad and thankful for your help. 🇮🇳Love from India🇮🇳

' src=

April 15, 2020 at 11:16 am

Well I’m gonna give this a shot it looks and sounds very helpful thank you guys I really needed this

' src=

April 16, 2020 at 9:48 pm

Daniel, your amazing information and advice, has been very useful! keep up your excellent work! May you give more useful content to us.

' src=

May 6, 2020 at 5:03 pm

nice article thanks for your sharing.

' src=

May 20, 2020 at 4:49 am

Thank you so much this helped me so much but I was wondering about like what if you just like being lazy and stuff and don’t feel like doing anything and you don’t want to tell anyone because you might annoy them and you just don’t want to add your problems and put another burden on theirs

' src=

July 12, 2020 at 1:55 am

I’ve read many short procrastination tip articles and always thought they were stupid or overlooking the actual problem. ‘do this and this’ or that and that, and I sit there thinking I CAN’T. This article had some nice original tips that I actually followed and really did make me feel a bit better. Cheers, diving into what will probably be a 3 hour case study.

' src=

August 22, 2020 at 10:14 pm

Nicely explain each tips and those are practical thanks for sharing. Dr.Achyut More

' src=

November 11, 2020 at 12:34 pm

Thanks a lot! It was very helpful!

' src=

November 15, 2020 at 9:11 am

I keep catching myself procrastinating today. I started reading this yesterday, but then I realized I was procrastinating, so I stopped to finish it today. Thank you for all the great tips.

' src=

November 30, 2020 at 5:15 pm

Woow this is so great. Thanks so much Daniel

' src=

December 3, 2020 at 3:13 am

These tips were very helpful!

' src=

December 18, 2020 at 11:54 am

Procrastination is a major problem of mine, and this, this is very helpful. It is very motivational, now I think I can complete my work.

' src=

December 28, 2020 at 2:44 pm

Daniel Wong: When you’re doing your homework, is your super-comfortable bed just two steps away? Me: Nope, my super-comfortable bed is one step away. (But I seriously can’t study anywhere else. If I go to the dining table, my mum would be right in front of me talking loudly on the phone with colleagues and other rooms is an absolute no. My mum doesn’t allow me to go outside. Please give me some suggestions. )

' src=

September 19, 2022 at 12:14 pm

I would try and find some noise cancelling headphones to play some classical music or get some earbuds to ignore you mum lol

' src=

March 1, 2021 at 5:46 pm

Thank you very much. I highly appreciate it.

' src=

May 12, 2023 at 3:38 am

This is great advice. My little niece is now six years old and I like to use those nice cheap child friendly workbooks with her. This is done in order to help her to learn things completely on her own. I however prefer to test her on her own knowledge however. After a rather quick demonstration in the lesson I then tend to give her two simple questions to start off with. And it works a treat. Seriously. I love it. She loves it. The exam questions are for her to answer on her own on a notepad. If she can, she will receive a gold medal and a box of sweets. If not she only gets a plastic toy. We do this all the time to help her understand. Once a week we spend up to thirty minutes in a math lesson on this technique for recalling the basic facts. I have had a lot of great success with this new age technique. So I’m going to carry on with it for now.

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how to make yourself concentrate on homework

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7 Great Tips to Learn How to Focus on Homework without Getting Distracted

  • July 1, 2021
  • Alexandra Uren

how to make yourself concentrate on homework

Table of Contents

Staying focused , especially on something as dull as homework, is rarely easy. There’s so many factors constantly fighting for our attention that even staying focused on an engaging task can be difficult!

Whether it’s the lure of social media or the thought of enjoying the sunshine with our friends, it can often feel as though we have no power when it comes to what our minds choose to focus on.

Focusing properly requires both the right mental attitude and the right environment, but even the very best procrastinators can develop a productive study routine.

how to make yourself concentrate on homework

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Dedicate a Few Minutes to Change

Many students find that getting home and putting on comfortable clothing can help them to focus, as this can help separate the school day from the evening.

It’s also important to allow yourself a break before you get started. You may find a small amount of physical activity or 30 minutes spent doing something completely unrelated to school can give you a little boost of energy and motivation before you start your homework.

Incorporating some ‘fun’ into your after-school study routine can help make the ordeal a little less painful!

How to Focus on Homework - Wear comfy clothes

Identify the Distractions in your Surroundings

Unless you do your homework in an empty room, it’s likely your home is chockablock full of distractions!

Whether it’s the buzz of the TV, the pop-up notifications on your phone, or the whir of the refrigerator daring you to get another snack, escaping distractions isn’t easy.

Identifying the distractions around you can help you to beat them, as often we don’t even realise that we are being distracted. Once you’ve identified what you find most distracting, remove it from your study space.

Whether you’re tackling math homework or struggling to write an essay, removing your primary distractions will help hugely.

Limit the Use of Technology to Find Focus

It goes without saying that electronic devices are one of the biggest distractions.

While Netflix, Instagram and Deliveroo can bring value to our lives (especially on rainy days!), they are not quite so helpful when you’re trying to work.

It’s best to limit the use of technology when you’re trying to focus. Put your smartphone on silent and tuck it away somewhere so that you’re not tempted to look at it.

If you really can’t do without it, tell yourself that once you’ve completed your first task, you’ll allow yourself 5 minutes to reply to any important messages.

How to Focus on Homework - put away devices

Create an Environment that Breeds Creativity and Productivity

The right environment is key. A busy room with siblings playing video games or the TV turned up is only going to distract you.

Your work environment should be quiet, organised and spacious. Let as much natural light in as possible and clear your desk so that you have space to work.

Some people like to listen to some background noise while they are working, be it the hum of the radio or focus music.

Others prefer complete silence. Take some time to determine which environment works for you.

It’s also important to take regular breaks. Taking 5-minute breaks between each task can help you to stay alert and fresh.

Make a Study Plan & Prioritise your Tasks

If you’ve ever had so much to do that it feels pointless even getting started, a study plan is key. Divide your homework assignments into sections, and prioritise them by due date.

A piece of math homework due in for the following morning should be completed first, while the essay due for the next week can be lower down on your to-do list.

Use a planner to write down all your assignments, as well as the date they are due. Break any large projects into smaller sections.

How to Focus on Homework - Make a study plan.

Avoid Heavy Meals

Eating a heavy meal before you start work can interfere with your focus. If you’re too full, you’ll start to feel drowsy and find it harder to concentrate. But being hungry can also cause your concentration to falter!

It’s important you feel satisfied and content , and lots of sugar is unlikely to help.

Snacking on nourishing food before you begin studying will help you concentrate for longer, and prevent you from getting distracted by your rumbling stomach!

Try snacking on blueberries, nuts, wholegrain bread, and ensure you drink plenty of water.

Try a Focused Based Meditation

Sometimes, try as we might, we simply can’t get into the right headspace for studying. Whether it’s due to anxiety , stress or simply boredom, a change of tack is often needed!

A focus-based meditation, like mantra , can help you clear your busy mind, prepare you for study time and helping you to concentrate for longer.

MindEasy has a huge range of mindfulness meditation courses to help clear your mind, ease anxiety and put you in a fresher, more productive mindset.

Whether you’re worrying about the future or feeling anxious about your day at school, a short meditation can help melt away your worries so that you’re better able to focus on the task in front of you.

Organise your Study Notes

A clear desk and well-organised notes is immensely satisfying, and it’s especially important to be organised if you’re preparing for tests and exams.

You’ll be able to access the notes you need faster, without wasting precious revision time looking for things!

Using folders, highlighters and calendars can help you to stay organised when your homework starts to get on top of you.

Group your notes together by subject, then by topic. Many students find colour-coding their notes can help with organisation.

  • Staying focused can be exceedingly difficult, especially with so many distractions surrounding us at any given moment.
  • It’s important to divide up the school day and your evening. Change out of your school uniform, and allow yourself a 30 minute break before you sit down to tackle your homework.
  • To start, identify any distractions (such as your smartphone!) and remove them from your desk.
  • Allow plenty of natural light into the room, and try to stay away from noisy and distracting siblings!
  • Make a study plan and prioritise what you’re going to do first. Allow yourself a short break once you’ve completed each task.
  • Snack on nourishing, healthy food such as blueberries, nuts and wholegrain bread.
  • A focus-based meditation can help you to clear your mind and get into the right mindset.
  • Staying organised is key; group your notes into each subject, and then each topic.

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9 Science-Backed Ways to Stay Focused on Your Schoolwork

These focus strategies for students are proven to peak your concentration.

Do you find it hard to focus on homework? Do certain subjects make your mind drift off to other things? If you want to know how to focus on schoolwork, we've studied the science behind keeping your concentration and have discovered some keys to success! These research-backed focus strategies for students will help you concentrate and even boost your productivity.

Determine Your Learning Style

If you're not engaging your brain in the right way, it can make it hard to focus and understand the material. This can lead to anxiety, which can further distract you. The first step in honing your attention on schoolwork is determining the best ways for you to absorb the information.

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Most people fall into one of three main categories - visual, auditory, and tactile. If you want to find out your learning style, there's a simple self-assessment to determine where you land. Studies show that this information can help you study smarter .

Have a Designated Study Space

While the kitchen table may seem like an obvious place to study, this large space may not do you any favors. First, it's in a communal area, so it's likely there will be a lot of foot traffic in the room. Second, this is also the place where dinner will soon be served.

This will bring an abrupt stop to what you're doing and it will force you to pack up your stuff and get reorganized later. This can shatter your focus, especially if you're in the middle of reviewing a difficult concept. Research shows that by having a designated space to study , students can focus better on their work.

Remove Distractions

Once you've found your designated study space, it's important to get rid distractions in order to get the most out of your study time. This, of course, means turning off your phone and the television, but it can also mean other external diversions like large messes. Keeping a clean work area helps students to better maintain their focus and improve their productivity.

Pay Attention to Your Needs Before Studying

Don't forget about internal distractions as well. If you're hungry, thirsty, tired, or stressed, it can also obstruct your ability to concentrate. Obviously, if you are hungry or thirsty, there's a quick fix, but if you are tired, take a nap.

The key is to rest for the perfect amount of time - 10 to 20 minutes . Less than this and you will feel groggy. Much more, and you'll not only feel fatigued, but you'll also struggle to get back to sleep at night.

For those who are feeling stressed about their assignment, simply take ten minutes to stretch and then ten more to practice mindful meditation . This practice requires participants to let go of the past and focus on the present. Remind yourself:

  • You can only control what is right in front of you.
  • Previous struggles in this subject don't dictate how you will do moving forward.
  • Your instructors designed this schoolwork to help you better understand the concepts.
  • If you continue to struggle, there are other resources to tap into so that you can grasp the specific topic.

Set the Mood

Did you know that listening to classical music while you study can help to hone your concentration and even absorb information more effectively? However, not all melodies are effective. Experts recommend that students "skip over large orchestral pieces, particularly those with a dynamic that ranges from whispers to booming cannons." These can actually cause more distraction.

Instead, they recommend elevator-style music that provides a consistent and relaxing background melody. We also advise that you snag some noise-canceling headphones to listen to these instrumental tunes. These can help to further remove distraction and keep you focused on the task at hand.

Set Specific Work and Break Times

Sometimes, the hardest part about staying focused is having the feeling that the period of study will never end! You can only cram so much information into your brain at one time. Thus, set a timer and then put it in a drawer. When it goes off, take a break!

Want to perform better? Follow the 52-17 rule ! Research has found that this is an ideal work-to-break ratio. When setting alarms, work for 52 minutes and then take a productive 17 minute break.

What is a productive break? One that doesn't distract your mind too much. This means avoiding your phone and the television. Don't check your email or social media either. Instead, have a snack, stretch, go outside, meditate, nap, complete a quick chore , or set goals for the rest of your day. These activities can help you de-stress, stay positive, and concentrate better when you get back to work!

Fuel Up to Better Your Focus

Food for thought? No, really, eat your breakfast! There's a reason everyone says it's the most important meal of the day. Studies show that it can boost short-term memory and improve your attention . If you really want better brain power , snag some walnuts and a smoothie that contains berries and leafy greens! These can also work as a great study snack.

  • Find More Great Brain-Boosting Foods

Get Moving Before Work Times & During Breaks

Need even more of a brain boost? Get moving! Research shows that by working out for 20 minutes before a big study session, you increase blood flow to the brain . This enhances concentration and memory.

Focus Better by Fidgeting

If you find that your focus is fading during your 52 minute study window, grab a fidget toy! Yes , that's right. Fidget toys are a great tool for getting out nervous energy , lowering stress, and keeping your concentration on the task at hand.

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Find Focus Strategies for Students That Work Best for You

Everyone is different. If you find that some of these tips help, but you still have moments of distraction, consider changing the scenery of your study space. Try standing or sitting cross-legged style on the floor, brightening your workspace, or moving your study session outside . Figure out what works best for you and stick to it to have success in high school and beyond!

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How to Stay Awake While Studying

Last Updated: March 21, 2024 References

This article was co-authored by Jennifer Kaifesh . Jennifer Kaifesh is the Founder of Great Expectations College Prep, a tutoring and counseling service based in Southern California. Jennifer has over 15 years of experience managing and facilitating academic tutoring and standardized test prep as it relates to the college application process. She takes a personal approach to her tutoring, and focuses on working with students to find their specific mix of pursuits that they both enjoy and excel at. She is a graduate of Northwestern University. There are 12 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 383,146 times.

Studying is hard work, and all that work often makes you tired! Sometimes, studying through your fatigue is part of the road to success and getting good grades in school. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help increase your energy and focus .

Here are 16 tricks to help you stay awake while you’re studying.

Study somewhere that’s not too comfortable.

Feeling too comfortable makes you more drowsy.

  • If you like to study at home, make yourself a dedicated study space . This could be a corner of your room with a desk and a chair or a kitchen table. Wherever you can concentrate without being too comfortable is great!

Change your study spot every day to boost your memory.

This keeps you out of a single comfort zone that can make you tired.

  • Choose locations that fit your studying style and personality. For example, if you study best in silence, pick a library or quiet room, whereas if you prefer background noise, opt for a cafe or common area.

Turn on bright lights if you’re studying late at night.

The right lighting helps your brain focus on the data it’s absorbing.

  • If your space doesn’t have much lighting, relocate to a brighter area, if possible.

Eliminate outside distractions if you can’t concentrate.

Things like noises...

  • You can also turn your phone off, leave it in a different room, or put it on “Do Not Disturb” mode, so you don’t receive any texts or notifications.
  • If you’re easily distracted by surfing the Internet, use an app or Internet browser extension that lets you set controls to block certain websites for a set period of time so you aren’t tempted.

Listen to upbeat music to keep your brain alert.

The right music can help your brain process and retain new info.

  • If you’re in a public place, use headphones to listen to the music of your choice.
  • Look for upbeat playlists online or on a music app. You can also find premade playlists with music specifically for studying.

Read out loud to engage your brain.

You’re less likely to fall asleep if you listen to your own voice.

  • If you don’t want to read everything out loud, you can also try talking to yourself when you study. For example, when you finish studying a topic, say out loud: “Okay, I finished studying for my history test, now I can study for the English exam!”

Chew mint gum while you study to wake up your brain.

Mint is linked to enhanced cognitive function.

  • Keep a pack of mint-flavored gum in your backpack or pencil case so you always have it with you when you’re studying.

Eat foods that are high in protein for longer-lasting energy.

Protein gives you energy without making you sleepy like carbs do.

  • Avoid sugary foods or drinks, like cookies or soda, along with carb-heavy foods, like potato chips. These might give you a quick boost, but you’ll crash later on.
  • Try to eat every 2 to 3 hours, even if it’s just something small, to avoid low blood sugar, which makes you feel sleepy.

Drink lots of water to fight fatigue.

Stay hydrated...

  • Avoid alcohol, particularly on days when you're studying or the day before. Drinking alcohol regularly can negatively affect your brain function along with dehydrating you.

Drink a caffeinated beverage if you want an instant boost.


  • Be aware that coffee and other caffeinated drinks can actually be dehydrating, so you should drink water with them, too.
  • Avoid drinking coffee or consuming anything with caffeine, like chocolate, soda, or tea, within 6 hours of when you plan to go to bed or you may have trouble falling asleep.
  • Don’t consume more than 200 mg of caffeine in a day. Too much caffeine can be very dangerous for your heart and can also worsen existing conditions, like anxiety or depression.
  • Avoid energy drinks and pills that contain caffeine and/or chemicals. While quick fixes are tempting, they can have dangerous side effects, like increased anxiety or even heart problems. [9] X Research source

Study in 25-minute intervals if you like having scheduled breaks.

Try what’s known as the Pomodoro technique to keep yourself on track.

  • Use your 5-minute breaks to relax and recharge your brain. Do something unrelated to what you’re studying, like stretching out your body or watching a funny YouTube video.
  • Take a longer 30-minute break after you complete 4 intervals.
  • Try to keep each total study session to no more than 5 hours long. If you study for longer than that, you’ll likely get burnt out.

Take a 10- to 20-minute nap if you’re really tired.

Short naps...

  • If possible, choose a spot that’s quiet and dark to take your nap, which will help you get better quality sleep.
  • Make sure you're getting at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, too. Naps are a good boost but they aren't a substitute for uninterrupted sleep.

Exercise for 15 to 20 minutes to get your blood flowing.

This improves your concentration and mood.

  • If you can, do your exercise outside for even more benefits. Fresh air is an instant energy boost. Instead, you can meditate for 10 minutes.
  • You can also find ways to incorporate exercise into your studying. For instance, swap your chair for a stability ball to work your core while you sit, or do stretches at your desk while you read.
  • If you’re studying in intervals, try taking an exercise break after each one. For example, after studying for 25 minutes, do 5 minutes of bodyweight exercises like pushups and jumping jacks.

Switch topics every 30-60 minutes to stay focused.

The variety helps your brain refocus on the new subject.

  • If you’re studying in timed intervals, switch the topic you’re studying after each interval.
  • If you're only studying for 1 class, like English, change the specific material you're reviewing if possible. For instance, start with Shakespeare, then move to Chaucer.

Organize a study group if you get tired of working alone.

This makes studying less boring and monotonous.

  • Keep your study group to 3 to 6 people. Too many people can become distracting or difficult to manage.
  • Stay on task by setting group goals for each study session, like finishing 2 chapters of a textbook or covering 1 topic. Otherwise, it may be tempting to just waste time talking or goofing off.You can also do meditation for 10minutes

Try to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night.

If you’re not sleeping well, it’s harder to stay awake while you study.

  • Note that this is how much sleep the average person needs. Some people need a few more hours to feel rested and others do fine with less. The most important thing is to be consistent with your sleep. If you feel good with 6 hours of sleep a night or need up to 9, that’s fine too.

Supercharge Your Studying with this Expert Series

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Force Yourself to Seriously Study

  • ↑ https://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/features/how-does-the-brain-learn-best-10-smart-studying-strategies/
  • ↑ https://www.aiuniv.edu/blog/2016/may/stay-energized-for-late-night-studying
  • ↑ https://success.oregonstate.edu/learning/ready-set-concentrate
  • ↑ https://www.fastcompany.com/3022942/the-surprising-science-behind-what-music-does-to-our-brains
  • ↑ https://www.indiatoday.in/education-today/featurephilia/story/how-to-stop-falling-asleep-while-studying-17-tips-to-keep-you-awake-for-board-exam-preparation-1648066-2020-02-19
  • ↑ https://sites.psu.edu/siowfa15/2015/09/17/does-chewing-gum-while-studying-help-you-remember/
  • ↑ https://www.cnn.com/2017/04/26/health/energy-drinks-health-concerns-explainer/index.html
  • ↑ https://learningcommons.ubc.ca/the-pomodoro-technique-study-more-efficiently-take-more-breaks/
  • ↑ https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/how-take-nap-will-actually-boost-your-energy-ncna793681
  • ↑ https://www.auamed.org/blog/12-ways-exercise-study/
  • ↑ https://news.fiu.edu/2013/12/8-study-tips-that-will-help-you-overcome-finals-week/70573
  • ↑ https://www.rasmussen.edu/student-experience/college-life/how-to-organize-use-study-groups/

About This Article

Jennifer Kaifesh

Medical Disclaimer

The content of this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, examination, diagnosis, or treatment. You should always contact your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional before starting, changing, or stopping any kind of health treatment.


To stay awake while studying, chew some gum since it will increase blood flow to your brain and give you a boost of energy. If you’re snacking while studying, eat high-protein foods that provide lasting energy like trail mix, beef jerky, or string cheese rather than sugary foods that will make you crash. Since staying hydrated can help you fight off tiredness, drink at least 8 ounces of water every 1 to 2 hours. Exercise is another great way to get reenergized, so take a break and go for a short walk to wake up your muscles and get your blood flowing. If possible, walk outside since fresh air is a great energy booster. When choosing where to study, pick somewhere with lots of lighting so you don’t get drowsy working in a dim room. For more tips, including how to study in intervals to stay alert, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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A Clear Mindset for Clear Assignments: How to Focus on Homework

Discover the secrets on how to focus on homework by beating social media temptation and sidestepping distractions like a pro.

August 4, 2023

how to make yourself concentrate on homework

When it comes to completing homework assignments, maintaining focus can be a daunting task. The allure of social media, the temptation to procrastinate, and the constant barrage of distractions can make it challenging to stay on track.

However, with a clear mindset and effective strategies, you can overcome these obstacles and make the most of your study time.

In this blog post, we will explore various techniques on how to focus on homework and achieve your academic goals.

Before we dive into the strategies, let's first understand why focusing on homework is crucial and explore some common distractions that students face.

The Benefits of Concentrating on Homework Assignments

Homework serves as a vital extension of classroom learning. It allows you to reinforce concepts, develop critical thinking skills, and deepen your understanding of the subject matter. By focusing on your assignments, you not only complete them efficiently but also gain valuable knowledge and skills. Additionally, effective time management and concentration during homework time can lead to better grades and improved overall academic performance.

Common Distractions That Students Face While Doing Homework

In today's digital age, distractions lurk around every corner, vying for our attention. When it comes to homework, these distractions can significantly hamper your ability to concentrate. Social media notifications, incoming messages, the appeal of video streaming platforms, and the endless rabbit holes of the internet can divert your attention and derail your productivity.

Now that we understand the importance of maintaining focus during homework, let's explore some strategies to help you prepare for productive study sessions .

Preparing for Homework

study environment

Creating a Study Environment

Creating an ideal study environment plays a crucial role in fostering concentration and productivity. Find a quiet and well-lit area where you can focus without interruptions. Clear your study area of any unnecessary clutter and ensure you have all the materials you need readily available. A clean and organized environment can contribute to a clear mindset and facilitate efficient studying.

Organizing Study Space

Having an organized study space can have a significant impact on your ability to concentrate. Keep your study materials neatly arranged and easily accessible. Use folders, binders, or digital tools to organize your notes, textbooks, and assignments. When everything is in its place, you can quickly locate what you need, minimizing time wasted searching for materials.

Minimizing Distractions

Distractions are the arch-nemesis of focus. To minimize their impact, it's important to identify and mitigate potential distractions in your study environment. Consider silencing your phone or using a dedicated app like Opal, the #1 screen time management app, to manage and monitor your device usage. Opal's innovative features can help you regain control over your screen time and stay on track with your assignments.

Now that your study space is optimized and distractions are minimized with a few easy changes, let's explore techniques to help you stay focused during your homework sessions.

Using the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method that can enhance your productivity and maintain focus. It involves breaking your study time into intervals, usually, 25 minutes in length, called "Pomodoros." After each Pomodoro, take a short break of 5 minutes. Every four Pomodoros, take a longer break of 15-30 minutes. This technique allows you to work in short bursts, preventing burnout and keeping your mind fresh.

Setting Goals and Prioritizing Tasks

Setting clear goals and prioritizing tasks can provide a sense of direction and purpose to your homework sessions. Understand the importance of setting goals and identify the most important tasks that need your immediate attention.

Create a to-do list with specific and achievable goals, ensuring that you tackle the most crucial assignments first such as Math homework. This approach helps you stay motivated and focused, as you can track your progress and experience the satisfaction of crossing off one task at a time.

Eliminating Procrastination

Procrastination is the enemy of productivity , and we have all fallen victim to its draw at some point. Understanding procrastination and identifying your triggers can help you combat this productivity killer.

Procrastination often arises from feelings of overwhelm, fear of failure, or a lack of interest in the task at hand. Recognize these triggers and develop strategies to overcome them. Break your assignments into smaller, manageable tasks, and reward yourself for completing each one. By taking small steps and staying motivated, you can conquer procrastination and maintain focus.

Staying Focused During Homework

Now that you've laid the groundwork for productive study sessions, let's explore techniques to help you maintain focus while doing homework.

Active Reading Techniques

Active reading techniques can significantly enhance comprehension and focus during your study sessions. Skimming and scanning techniques allow you to quickly gather information from texts, identify key points, and gain an overview of the material. Note-taking enables you to engage with the content actively, aiding memory retention and comprehension. Annotating your textbooks or reading materials with highlights and marginal notes can also help you stay engaged and focused.

Time Management Techniques

Effective time management is a cornerstone of focused sessions and helps complete your homework quicker. Prioritization is key to ensuring you allocate your time wisely. Identify the most important tasks and allocate sufficient time for each. Avoid the temptation to multitask, as it often leads to mind wandering, reduced focus, and diminished productivity. Instead, consider using time-blocking techniques, where you allocate specific time slots for different tasks. This approach helps you maintain focus on one assignment at a time, maximizing your efficiency.

Utilizing Technology

While technology can be a source of distraction, it can also serve as a valuable tool for maintaining focus. Various apps and tools are designed specifically to help students stay on track with their assignments. Apps for focusing, such as Opal or Screen Time , can provide valuable support by managing screen time, blocking distracting websites, and creating a distraction-free mode. By leveraging these technologies wisely, you can harness their power to enhance your focus and productivity.

Maintaining Focus

taking a break

Staying focused for extended periods can be challenging, so it's essential to incorporate breaks and mindfulness techniques into your study routine.

Taking Breaks

Breaks are not a sign of laziness; they are a necessary component of maintaining focus and preventing mental fatigue. Understand the importance of breaks in maintaining productivity and take effective breaks that rejuvenate your mind. Step away from your study space, engage in physical activity, eat a few healthy snacks, get some fresh air, or indulge in a hobby you enjoy. Use these breaks wisely to recharge and return to your assignments with renewed focus.

Mindfulness Techniques

Mindfulness is a practice that cultivates present-moment awareness and helps you stay engaged with your tasks. Incorporate mindfulness techniques into your study sessions to improve concentration and reduce distractions. Practice deep breathing exercises, listen to classical music, focus on the sensations of studying, and cultivate an attitude of curiosity and non-judgment. By embracing mindfulness, you can bring clarity and intention to your homework sessions.

Managing Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety can significantly hamper your ability to concentrate and perform well academically. Understand the impact of stress and anxiety on your focus and implement strategies to manage them effectively. Identify stressors and triggers, and develop healthy coping mechanisms.

Meditation and breathing exercises can help calm your mind and alleviate anxiety. Taking care of your overall well-being through exercise, adequate sleep and a balanced diet also contributes to reduced stress levels and improved focus.

Staying on Track

seeking help

While the strategies mentioned above can significantly enhance your ability to focus, there may be times when you require additional support or motivation.

Seeking Help

Recognize when you need help and don't hesitate to reach out to others. Other students, teachers, or family member can provide valuable guidance and support. Collaborating with classmates through study groups or seeking clarification from your instructors can help you overcome challenges and maintain focus. Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Seeking help not only benefits your focus but can also be a gateway to a supportive community. One such community that shares your vision for focused productivity is the Opal community.

By joining the Opal community, you gain access to a network of like-minded individuals who are striving for productivity and focus. You can connect with peers who understand the challenges of maintaining concentration and share valuable insights and strategies. Through the Opal platform, you can engage in discussions, exchange tips, and tricks, and find inspiration from others on the same journey.

Rewarding Yourself

Rewarding yourself for your hard work and accomplishments can serve as a powerful motivator. Celebrate your achievements, no matter how small, and choose appropriate rewards that align with your interests and values. Whether it's indulging in a favorite treat, enjoying leisure time, or engaging in a hobby, these rewards reinforce positive habits and create a sense of satisfaction.

Staying Motivated

Motivation is the driving force behind focused and successful homework sessions. Understand what motivates you and tap into those sources of inspiration. Set long-term goals and break them down into smaller milestones. Celebrate each milestone as you achieve it, and use these accomplishments as fuel to keep you moving forward. Stay positive, maintain a growth mindset, and remind yourself of the bigger picture.

Final Thoughts

Maintaining focus while doing homework is a skill that can be developed with practice and a clear mindset. By creating a study environment conducive to concentration, utilizing effective time management techniques, incorporating breaks and mindfulness, and seeking appropriate support, you can enhance your ability to focus and achieve academic success.

Remember, staying focused is not about eliminating all distractions but rather managing them effectively. So, apply these strategies consistently, harness the power of technology tools like Opal, and make the most of your study time. With a clear mindset and focused approach, you can conquer your assignments and pave the way for a successful academic journey.

To make the most out of every day, learn more about how Opal can be your reliable companion in managing screen time and optimizing your focus during homework and beyond.

Now, armed with these strategies, go forth and conquer your assignments with a clear mind and unwavering focus!

Learn More About Opal Today!

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How to Avoid Homework Stress

Last Updated: March 28, 2019 References

This article was co-authored by Emily Listmann, MA . Emily Listmann is a Private Tutor and Life Coach in Santa Cruz, California. In 2018, she founded Mindful & Well, a natural healing and wellness coaching service. She has worked as a Social Studies Teacher, Curriculum Coordinator, and an SAT Prep Teacher. She received her MA in Education from the Stanford Graduate School of Education in 2014. Emily also received her Wellness Coach Certificate from Cornell University and completed the Mindfulness Training by Mindful Schools. There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 133,081 times.

Students of all kinds are often faced with what can seem like an overwhelming amount of homework. Although homework can be a source of stress, completing it can be a very rewarding and even relaxing experience if done in an organized and timely manner. Remember, homework is not intended as punishment, but is used to reinforce everything you’ve learned in class. Try to view it as a chance to sharpen your skills and understanding.

Managing Your Time

Step 1 Pick a time of day to do your homework.

  • Try to work earlier, rather than later, if possible. This way, you won’t be rushing to finish your work before bedtime.
  • Find a time of day during which you can concentrate well. Some people work best in the afternoon, while others can concentrate better on a full stomach after dinner.
  • Choose a time when you will have relatively few distractions. Mealtimes, times during which you have standing engagements, or periods usually used for socializing are not the best choices.
  • Allow enough time to complete your work. Making sure the total time you allow yourself for homework is sufficient for you to complete all your assignments is crucial. [1] X Research source [2] X Research source

Step 2 Start large projects as early as possible.

  • Save an appropriate amount of time for projects considering your normal homework load.
  • Estimate how much time you will need each day, week, and month depending on your usual workload. Allow yourself at least this much time in your schedule, and consider allotting a fair amount more to compensate for unexpected complications or additional assignments.
  • Reserve plenty of time for bigger projects, as they are more involved, and it is harder to estimate how much time you might need to complete them.

Step 3 Make yourself a homework schedule.

  • Get a day planner or a notebook to write down your homework assignments, and assign an estimated amount of time to each assignment. Make sure to always give yourself more time than you think you’ll need.
  • Plan to finish daily homework every day, then divide up weekly homework over the course of the entire week.
  • Rank assignments in due-date order. Begin on those assignments due first, and work your way though. Finishing assignments according to due-date will help you avoid having to hurry through homework the night before it must be handed in.
  • Allow more time for more difficult subjects and difficult assignments. Each individual person will have their strong subjects—and those that come a little harder. Make sure you take into account which subjects are harder for you, and allow more time for them during your scheduling.

Working Hard at School and in Class

Step 1 Ask questions.

  • If you’re too shy to ask questions, or don’t feel it’s appropriate to do so during class, write them down in your notebook and then ask the teacher or professor after class.
  • If you don't understand a concept, ask your teacher to explain it again, with specifics.
  • If you're having trouble with a math problem, ask the teacher to demonstrate it again using a different example.
  • Remember, when it comes to learning and education, there are no bad questions.

Step 2 Take good notes...

  • Pay attention to important terms and ideas. Make sure to note things your teacher stresses, key terms, and other important concepts.
  • Write clearly and legibly. If you can’t read your handwriting, it’ll take you longer to reference your notes at home.
  • Keep your notebook organized with dividers and labels. This way, you’ll be able to locate helpful information in a pinch and finish your homework quicker. [4] X Research source

Step 3 Record the class or lecture.

  • Get permission.
  • Sit up front and close to the instructor.
  • Make sure to label your recordings so you don't lose track of them.
  • Try to listen to them that same day while everything is fresh in your mind.

Step 4 Use any available time at school to begin your homework.

  • Work in class. If you finish a class assignment early, review your notes or start your homework.
  • Study at lunch. If you have time at lunch, consider working on homework. You can do this leisurely by just reviewing what you’ll need to do at home, or you can just jump right into your work.
  • Don't waste time. If you get to class early, use that time for homework. In addition, many schools let students go to the library during this unplanned time, and it's a great place to finish uncompleted assignments.

Doing Your Homework

Step 1 Sit down and do your homework.

  • Get some fresh air
  • Go for a short run
  • Do push-ups
  • Walk your dog
  • Listen to music
  • Have a snack

Step 5 Stay positive.

  • Study groups break up the monotony of daily homework and make for a less stressful experience than trying to cram on your own.
  • Note that each person should turn in individualized assignments rather than collaborating to find the answers.

Balancing Homework with Life

Step 1 Avoid over committing yourself.

  • AP or IB classes often have 2 or 3 times the amount of reading and homework as regular courses.
  • Honors classes may have up to double the amount of work required as regular courses.
  • College students need to consider whether they want to take the recommended course load (often 4 classes) or more. More classes might help you finish your degree sooner, but if you are juggling work and extracurricular activities, you might be overwhelmed. [8] X Research source [9] X Research source

Step 2 Decide your priorities.

  • Rank your classes and activities in order of importance.
  • Estimate (realistically) how long your academic and extracurricular activities will take.
  • Figure out how much time you have overall.
  • If you’ve over committed, you need to drop your lowest ranked class or activity.

Step 3 Reserve time for your family and friends.

  • Make sure to reserve mealtimes for family, rather than working.
  • Try to set aside the weekend for family, and work only if you need to catch up or get ahead.
  • Don’t plan on working on holidays, even if you try, your productivity likely won’t be high.

Step 4 Make sure you get enough rest.

  • Pick a reasonable hour to go to sleep every night.
  • Try to do your morning prep work like ironing clothes and making your lunch at night.
  • Take a nap after school or after classes if you need. You’ll probably be able to do better work in less time if you are rested. [10] X Research source [11] X Research source
  • If you’re in middle or high school, talk to your parents and your teachers about the issue and ask them to help you figure out a solution.
  • If you’re a college student, reach out to your professors and advisor for help.
  • If it takes you much longer to finish your homework than it takes other students, it may be due to a learning difference. Ask your parents to schedule a meeting with a learning specialist.

Community Q&A

Community Answer

  • Ask for help when you need it. This is the biggest thing you should do. Don't worry if people think you're dumb, because chances are, you're making a higher grade than them. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 4
  • Actually pay attention to the teacher and ask if you don't know how to do the work. The stress can go away if you know exactly what to do. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 2
  • Recognize that some teachers get mad if you do separate homework assignments for different classes, so learn to be discreet about it. Thanks Helpful 3 Not Helpful 0

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Become Taller Naturally

  • ↑ http://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/coping-school-stress
  • ↑ http://www.kidzworld.com/article/24574-how-to-avoid-homework-stress
  • ↑ http://www.dartmouth.edu/~acskills/success/notes.html
  • ↑ https://stressfreekids.com/10038/homework-stress
  • ↑ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rebecca-jackson/5-ways-to-relieve-homework-stress-in-5-minutes_b_6572786.html
  • ↑ https://stressfreekids.com/11607/reduce-homework-stress
  • ↑ https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/how-students-can-survive-the-ap-course-workload/2012/03/01/gIQA8u28qR_story.html
  • ↑ http://www.usnews.com/education/high-schools/articles/2012/05/10/weigh-the-benefits-stress-of-ap-courses-for-your-student
  • ↑ http://www.nationwidechildrens.org/sleep-in-adolescents
  • ↑ https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=how+much+sleep+do+20+year+old+need

About this article

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Lesson Plan: How to Improve Your Focus

If you struggle to sit through a class or complete a homework assignment without wanting to check your phone every few minutes, this lesson can help.

A collage illustration that contains images from the 1990s. In the center, a group of teens are hanging out and each has an icon on their head related to computer technology of the time (an hourglass, arrow, etc.). Around this center photo are images of a pager, a floppy disk, a desktop computer and a cellphone from the 90s.

By Natalie Proulx

Lesson Overview

Featured Article: “ How to Focus Like It’s 1990 ” by Dana G. Smith

Do you get distracted easily? When you have a homework assignment to complete, a book to read, an instrument to practice or a room to clean, is it easy for you to stay focused and do it, or does your mind drift and wander? Do you quickly begin to daydream, check your social media feed or think about what you want to eat? Are you distracted by constant dings and pings from your phone? In short, do you find yourself thinking about everything but the task at hand?

If you answered yes, you’re not alone. As Dana G. Smith writes in today’s featured article, “Smartphones, pings and Insta-everything have shortened our attention spans.” In this lesson, you’ll learn how to get some old-school concentration back with tips from experts.

The article you are about to read refers to a 2004 study which found that people averaged two and a half minutes on any given task before switching to something else. By 2012, the average time had dropped to 75 seconds. Now, we spend about 47 seconds on a task, on average.

Discuss with a partner: Do these findings surprise you? Or do they resonate with your experience of trying to concentrate? What do you think could explain the shortening of our attention spans?

How long do you think you can focus on something before you get distracted? Test it out: Grab a stopwatch and start reading the featured article . How long can you read before your mind starts to wander, you get interrupted by a ding on your phone or your brain simply needs a break? Can you beat 47 seconds? If you could, how easy or difficult was that experience for you? What ultimately broke your concentration? Share what you noticed with your partner.

Do you think you need to work on improving your concentration? If you were to try this again, what tips or tricks might you use to help stay focused?

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Because differences are our greatest strength

10 tips for staying focused when learning from home

how to make yourself concentrate on homework

By Henry Lang

Just like most of y’all, I’m struggling with remote learning (and having ADHD  doesn’t make things any easier). In college, I’m studying to be an educator, so I thought I’d share some tips for staying focused when learning at home.

1. Make your study space cozy and clean.

Keep your computer screen clean, too. Close any distracting browser tabs. (Check out the free OneTab Chrome App to save those extra tabs for later.)

2. Switch up your study spots.

Your location influences how you process information. Even a slight change can be refreshing. Experiment with matching locations to specific tasks. I like to do math at the kitchen table and watch lectures on the couch.

3. Do a “brain boost” whenever you find yourself drifting.

Take a walk around the block, do some jumping jacks, stretch your limbs, and shake out any muscle tension in ways that feel comfy.

4. Hydrate!

Your body naturally performs better when you’re fully hydrated. Keep a water bottle on your desk. I still forget to pick up the purple plastic bottle sitting right in front of me, so I also stick a Post-it reminder on my notebook and computer screen.

5. Keep lists.

Making to-do lists for school, work, and other goals is a must for me. I’m much less likely to miss pesky homework deadlines when they’re all stored in one place.

6. Play around with sound.

Some of my friends like to listen to classical music while they study. When I’m taking an online quiz, I turn on a fan to cover noise from my neighbors. If you don’t have a fan, search for “ambience sounds” on YouTube.

7. Find a creative outlet.

Whether you’re learning new ukulele chords, doodling in a notebook, or keeping a journal, having an outlet for self-expression matters now more than ever.

8. Learn a new skill to balance your studying.

What’s something you’ve been meaning to learn? Finger spelling, knitting, computer coding, a trending TikTok dance. (I only tripped twice while learning the “Say So” routine!) Pick a new skill that excites you and set reasonable goals to keep up your progress. When you’re finished, try teaching a friend.

9. Stay connected with family and friends. 

Having conversations with loved ones can be refreshing during isolation. Consider reaching out to old friends to catch up, too.

10. Promote community care.

Other people who are struggling right now could use your support. I’ve been volunteering to do maintenance for neighbors who need extra hands. I’m also joining other students in sending emails to advocate for my school’s service workers to be paid.

Responding to my neighbors’ needs reminds me how lucky I am to be a part of my community right now.

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5 Ways to Make Homework More Meaningful

Use these insights from educators—and research—to create homework practices that work for everyone.

Homework tends to be a polarizing topic. While many teachers advocate for its complete elimination, others argue that it provides students with the extra practice they need to solidify their learning and teach them work habits—like managing time and meeting deadlines—that have lifelong benefits. 

We recently reached out to teachers in our audience to identify practices that can help educators plot a middle path. 

Elementary school teacher John Thomas told Edutopia on Facebook that he finds the best homework looks more like no-strings-attached encouragement for students to read or even play academically-adjacent games with their families. “I encourage reading every night,” Thomas says, but he doesn’t use logs or other means of getting students to track their completion. “Just encouragement and book bags with self selected books students take home for enjoyment.” 

Thomas said he also suggests to parents and students that they can play around with “math and science tools” such as “calculators, tape measures, protractors, rulers, money, tangrams, and building blocks.” Math-based games like Yahtzee or dominos, can also serve as enriching—and fun—practice of skills they’re learning.

At the middle and high school level, homework generally increases, and that can be demotivating for teachers, who feel obliged to review or even grade half-hearted submissions. It can also be demotivating for students, too. “Most [students] don’t complete it anyway,” said high school teacher Krystn Stretzinger Charlie on Facebook . “It ends up hurting them more than it helps.”    

So how do teachers decide when to—and when not to—assign homework and how do they ensure that the homework they assign feels meaningful, productive, and even motivating to students? 

1. Less is More

A 2017 study analyzed the homework assignments of more than 20,000 middle and high school students and found that teachers are often a bad judge of how long homework will take. 

According to researchers, students spend as much as 85 minutes or as little as 30 minutes on homework teachers imagined would take students one hour to complete. The researchers concluded that by assigning too much homework , teachers actually increased inequalities between students for “minimal gains in achievement.” Too much homework can overwhelm students who “have more gaps in their knowledge,” the researchers said, and creates situations where homework becomes so time-consuming and frustrating that it demotivates students and turns them off to classwork.

To counteract this, middle school math teacher Crystal Frommert says she focuses on quality over quantity. She cites the National Council for Teachers of Mathematics , which recommends only assigning “what’s necessary to augment instruction,” and adds that if teachers can “get sufficient information by assigning only five problems, then don’t assign fifty.” 

Instead of sending students home with worksheets and long problem sets from textbooks that often repeat the same concepts, Frommert recommends assigning part of a page, or even a few specific problems—and explaining to students why these handpicked problems will be helpful practice. When students know there’s thought behind the problems they’re asked to solve at home, “they pay more attention to the condensed assignment because it was tailored for them,” Frommert says. 

On Instagram , high school teacher Jacob Palmer said that every now and then he condenses homework down to just one problem that is particularly engaging and challenging: “The depth and exploration that can come from one single problem can be richer than 20 routine problems.” 

2. Add Choice to the Equation 

Former educator and coach Mike Anderson says teachers can differentiate homework assignments without placing unrealistic demands on their workload by offering students some discretion in the work they complete, and explicitly teaching them “how to choose appropriately challenging work for themselves.” 

Instead of assigning the same 20 problems or response questions on a given textbook page to all students, for example, Anderson suggests asking students to refer to the list of questions and choose and complete a designated number of them (three to five, for example) that give students “a little bit of a challenge but that [they] can still solve independently.” 

To teach students how to choose well, Anderson actually has students practice choosing homework questions in class before the end of the day, brainstorming in groups and sharing their thoughts about what a good homework question should accomplish. The other part, of course, involves offering students good choices: “Make sure that options for homework focus on the skills being practiced and are open-ended enough for all students to be successful,” he says. 

Once students have developed a better understanding of the purpose of challenging themselves to practice and grow as learners, Anderson also periodically asks students to come up with their own ideas for problems or other activities they can use to reinforce learning at home. A simple question, such as “What are some ideas for how you might practice this skill at home?” can be enough to get students sharing ideas, he said. 

Jill Kibler, a former high school science teacher, told Edutopia on Facebook that she implemented homework choice in her classroom by allowing students to decide how much of the work they’ve recently turned in they’d like to redo as homework: “Students had one grading cycle (about seven school days) to redo the work they wanted to improve,” she said. 

3. Break the Mold 

According to high school English teacher Kate Dusto, the work that students produce at home doesn’t have to come in the traditional formats of written responses to a problem. On Instagram , Dusto told Edutopia that homework can often be made more interesting—and engaging—by allowing students to show evidence of their learning in creative ways. 

“Offer choices for how they show their learning,” Dusto said. “Record audio or video? Type or use speech to text? Draw or handwrite and then upload a picture?,” the possibilities are endless. 

Former educator and author Jay McTighe notes that visual representations such as graphic organizers and concept maps are particularly useful for students attempting to organize new information and solidify their understanding of abstract concepts. For example, students might be asked to “draw a visual web of factors affecting plant growth” in biology class or map out the plot, characters, themes, and settings of a novel or play they’re reading to visualize relationships between different elements of the story and deepen their comprehension of it. 

Simple written responses to summarize new learning can also be made more interesting by varying the format, McTighe said. For example, ask students to compose a Tweet in 280 characters or less and answer a question like “What is the big idea that you have learned about _____?” or even record a short audio podcast or video podcast explaining “key concepts from one or more lessons.”

4. Make Homework Voluntary 

When Elementary school teacher Jacqueline Worthley Fiorentino stopped assigning mandatory homework to her second grade students and suggested voluntary activities instead, she found that something surprising happened: “They started doing more work at home.” 

Some of the simple, voluntary activities she presented students with included encouraging at-home reading (without mandating how much time they should spend reading); sending home weekly spelling words and math facts that will be covered in class, but that should also be mastered by the end of the week: “it will be up to each child to figure out the best way to learn to spell the words correctly or to master the math facts,” she said; and creating voluntary lesson extensions such as pointing students to outside resources—texts, videos or films, webpages, or even online or in-person exhibits—to “expand their knowledge on a topic covered in class.”

Anderson said that for older students, teachers can sometimes make whatever homework they assign a voluntary choice. “Do all students need to practice a skill? If not, you might keep homework invitational,” he said, adding that teachers can tell students: “If you think a little more practice tonight would help you solidify your learning, here are some examples you might try.”

On Facebook , Natisha Wilson, a K-12 gifted students coordinator for an Ohio school district, said that when students are working on a challenging question in class, she’ll give them the option to “take it home and figure it out” if they’re unable to complete it before the end of the period. Often students take her up on this, she said because many of them “can’t stand not knowing the answer.” 

5. Grade for Completion—or Don’t Grade at All  

Former teacher Rick Wormeli argues that work on homework assignments isn’t “evidence of final level of proficiency”; rather, it’s practice that provides teachers with “feedback and informs where we go next in instruction.” 

Grading homework for completion—or not grading at all, Wormeli says—can help students focus on the real task at hand of consolidating understanding and self-monitoring their learning. “When early attempts at mastery are not used against them, and accountability comes in the form of actually learning content, adolescents flourish.” 

High school science teacher John Scali agreed , confirming that grading for “completion and timeliness” rather than for “correctness” makes students “more likely to do the work, especially if it ties directly into what we are doing in class the next day” without worrying about being “100% correct.” On Instagram , middle school math teacher Traci Hawks noted that any assignments that are completed and show work—even if the answer is wrong—gets a 100 from her.

But Frommert said that even grading for completion can be time consuming for teachers, and fraught for students if they don’t have home environments that are supportive of homework, or if they have jobs or other after school activities. 

Instead of traditional grading, she suggests alternatives to holding students accountable for homework, such as student presentations, or even group discussions and debates as a way to check for understanding. For example, students can debate which method is best to solve a problem, or discuss their prospective solutions in small groups. “Communicating their mathematical thinking deepens their understanding,” Frommert says. 

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What Is Time Management? 6 Strategies to Better Manage Your Time

Manage your time to reduce stress, raise productivity, and increase well-being with these tips.

[Featured image] A black woman and white man stand in front of several calendars discussing time management.

In school, work, and daily life, we may encounter people who seem to have it all together. They are productive, stress-free, high achievers. But chances are, they were not born that way. Managing, organizing, and distributing time are skills that we can learn. Doing so can help you control your time and promote overall satisfaction.

Here are some tips and methods that can help you harness your time for better well-being.

What is time management?

Time management is the process of consciously planning and controlling time spent on specific tasks to increase how efficient you are. You may be familiar with setting deadlines, writing to-do lists, and giving yourself small rewards for accomplishing certain activities.

Motivating ourselves is a core part of time management—and it takes a bit of effort not only to motivate yourself but to cultivate good habits to work and live more efficiently.

To develop good routines and habits, you can start by knowing what strategies and best practices are out there. You can experiment with them in your own life to see what works for you.

Benefits of time management

Good time management can lead to a healthy, balanced lifestyle that may manifest as:

Reducing stress

Increasing energy

Achieving goals more efficiently

Prioritizing what's important

Accomplishing more in less time

Reducing procrastination

Boosting confidence

Getting further in your career or education

How we spend our days...

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim,” wrote Annie Dillard in her book The Writing Life [ 1 ] .  

This quote summarizes how humans conceptualize time and how we can develop skills and schedules to maximize productivity and achieve our goals. 

6 time management strategies

If you’re looking to take control of your time, here are six tips and strategies to get you started:

1. Conduct a time audit.

Start by assessing where you actually spend your time. Create a visual map of the approximate hours you spend on work, school, housework and chores, commuting, social media, and leisure activities. Then, you can drill in on school or work, dividing your previous week into days, then hours. How much time did it take to finish that paper? Did a work project take longer because you were scrolling on your phone?

Set goals based on this outcome. Planning ahead and setting time limits on your tasks and priorities can free up time for what’s most important to you, like spending more time with friends and family.

Start by dedicating a half hour every Sunday to intentionally planning your week ahead and setting daily goals.

Awareness, arrangement, adaptation

At the core of time management methods are the basic skills of awareness , arrangement , and adaptation [ 2 ]. This means being mindful of your time, structuring it, and adjusting it as you go, is the secret to effective time management. Executives now point to behavioral skills as the most important for the modern workforce, with “time management skills and the ability to prioritize” ranking second in IBM’s skills gap survey [ 3 ].

2. Use the Eisenhower Matrix to set your priorities.

The Eisenhower Matrix is a popular tool that helps you distinguish between tasks that are important, not important, urgent , and not urgent . The quadrant has four boxes in which you can split your tasks to prioritize what you should focus on first. They also correspond with the 4 D’s of execution: do, defer, delegate, and delete .

Quadrant 1: Important and urgent. Do these tasks first. These are the priorities that are most relevant to your goals.

Quadrant 2: Important but not urgent. Defer these for later in your schedule.

Quadrant 3: Urgent but not important. Delegate these to others, if possible, especially if they do not contribute to your long-term goals.

Quadrant 4: Not important and not urgent. Delete these tasks, or do them when you have free time because they are distractions from your priorities.

For an even simpler approach, create a task list and mark each item as urgent or important. Often, we prioritize urgent tasks instead of important ones—such as tasks that may be creative, important, and fulfilling but do not have a deadline—so identifying and labeling them can be a helpful step toward accomplishing your personal and professional goals.

3. Employ methods to “chunk” your time.

Once you have a better idea of what your priorities are, setting limits can be an excellent time management tool. There are several options for chunking your time into digestible pieces.

Try the Pomodoro method . This technique was developed in the late 1980s by Francesco Cirillo, a university student who was overwhelmed by studying and assignments. The Pomodoro method requires using a timer to break down your work into 25-minute intervals, separated by 5 minutes of break time. After four pomodoros, you may take a longer 15-30 minute break. Pomodoro (“tomato” in Italian) promotes concentration and relieves mental fatigue, which is especially useful for open-ended work like conducting research, studying for an exam, or finishing a consulting project.

By “chunking” time, you make big projects and goals less daunting. Less procrastination, more productivity.

Try an app to help you focus

Download Pomodor on your desktop or the Focus Keeper app for your phone.

4. Focus on one thing at a time. 

For most of us, multitasking is generally less efficient than focusing on one task at a time. In fact, one study found that only 2.5 percent of people are able to multitask effectively [ 4 ]. Doing too many things at once can impact your cognitive ability, making you feel unproductive or dissatisfied with your progress. Arranging your time so that you complete one task before starting another can boost your confidence.

Further, it may be helpful to compartmentalize tasks. If you are a writer, for example, you might dedicate Monday to research, Tuesday through Thursday to writing, and Friday to editing. 

5. Give yourself a reward.

Rewards can be a great source of motivation for adopting good time management habits. For each important task you accomplish, you can give yourself a little treat. It doesn't need to be extravagant or expensive. Here are some simple ways to motivate yourself:

Taking a break to enjoy your favorite snack

Going for a short walk outside

Call a friend or family member

Meditate for five minutes

Listen to a podcast episode or a chapter of an audiobook

For bigger rewards, you can indulge in activities like reading a book in the bath, planning a night out with friends, or booking a getaway. Exciting rewards can help you push through an especially tough project or work period.

6. Use apps to block out distractions.

Sometimes, rewards and good intentions are not enough to keep us focused. An app or browser extension can help you minimize distractions by blocking you from using social media or touching your phone. Here are some apps and extensions you can try:

Forest is an app that helps you stay focused and off your phone. The company partners with an organization called Trees for the Future to plant trees when you spend virtual coins earned in Forest.

StayFocused is a browser extension that prevents you from using time-wasting websites like Reddit, Twitter, Wikipedia, Instagram, and more. It’s highly configurable, so you can customize it to your specific distractions.

Freedom is a tool that can block both websites and apps on all of your devices, simultaneously. Take advantage of their free trial to know if it’s right for you.

How to create your own time management strategy

Now that you have some potential time management tips and methods in your toolkit, it’s time to create a strategy. You might experiment with several techniques before establishing the most effective long-term habits and routines for you. 

Establish goals and priorities.

Consider your lifestyle, whether you are a student or a working professional (or both), whether you have a family or aspire to become a digital nomad (or both!). Think of your long- and short-term goals for your career and personal development. Make sure the goals are SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. What will it take to achieve them? How can you manage your time to maximize your productivity?

Once you have established your goals, prioritize them in order of importance. It may be helpful to use Post-its or pen and paper to visualize them.

Choose the best method for you.

Using the list of tips above, decide upon a method or two to implement. Based on what has worked for you in the past, you can mix and match different time management skills. If you are unsure of which ones will work for you, pick one at random and give it a try.

Plan and implement.

Apply your chosen method over a period of time. A month is typically enough time to evaluate whether a strategy is working. Over 30 days, monitor your progress. Take notes on how you feel after one or two weeks. Was one method more effective than the other? 

Take action today

Use a physical planner, Google calendar, or a simple notebook to set your monthly and weekly goals. For daily tasks, write a to-do list every morning with achievable (Swiss Cheese) goals. Feel free to buffer your days for flexibility and sprinkle in plenty of little rewards.

After one month of your new time management methods, it’s time to reassess. What’s working? What’s not working? Adjust your strategy and plan to be more effective. Continue to practice these habits each month, adapting them as your priorities change. What works for you when you are a student may not be the same as when you start a new job.

Remember, practicing time management is an ongoing process, and life happens. It’s about progress, not perfection.

Learn how to manage your time effectively

Learn more effective time management tips from instructors at top universities with a course like Work Smarter, Not Harder: Time Management for Personal & Professional Productivity from the University of California Irvine. This course is offered on its own as well as part of the Career Success specialization.

Give your team access to a catalog of 8,000+ engaging courses and hands-on Guided Projects to help them develop impactful skills. Learn more about Coursera for Business .

Article sources

Dillard, Annie. “ The Writing Life , https://books.google.com/books/about/The_Writing_Life.html?id=it8NwjEKwCMC." Accessed July 14, 2023.

Harvard Business Review. “ Time Management Is about More than Life Hacks , https://hbr.org/2020/01/time-management-is-about-more-than-life-hacks." Accessed July 14, 2023.

IBM. “ Research Insights the Enterprise Guide to Closing the Skills Gap , https://www.ibm.com/downloads/cas/epymnbja." Accessed July 14, 2023.

Springer-Verlag. “ Supertaskers: Profiles in Extraordinary Multitasking Ability - Psychonomic Bulletin and Review , https://link.springer.com/article/10.3758/PBR.17.4.479." Accessed July 14, 2023.

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How to stay focused working from home

When you’re working and studying from home, there can be more than a few distractions. Here are 5 ways to help you stay focused during work or study time.

Desiree Sinkevich

Des Sinkevich

Apr 28, 2020

Staying focused when you’re working and studying from home isn’t always easy. You may find yourself unsure of the best way to balance everything on your plate. Maybe you’re bored, anxious, or just plain tired . It happens to everyone, especially during a time when there aren’t many options for getting a change of scenery to refresh your brain. Instead of beating yourself up for seemingly spending more time daydreaming than working, try these five tips to stay focused.

Tricks to stay focused while working and studying from home

While being able to work and study from home comes with a ton of benefits, there are some distinct challenges, too. Home offers comfort and snacks, but also distractions like chores, family, pets, television, and the easy possibility of taking a lunch time nap. These distractions can be hard to resist, but some habits can help you strengthen your ability to focus on the tasks at hand.

  • Have a dedicated work/study space. This is advice you hear all the time. The reason it’s so often repeated is that it actually works. Having a certain space in your house dedicated to your job and your studying is essential to shifting your brain from relaxation mode to work mode. If you have the room, turning a space into an office can be your best bet, but not everyone has that option. Instead of a home office, try studying and working in the same space everyday. Whether you’re working from the kitchen table or your bedroom, making it a habit to use that specific room can still get you into work and study mode.
  • Stick to a schedule. When you’re working and studying at home, your to-do lists and schedule can start to blend together. You might start getting in a little studying during work hours or vice versa. This habit can work well for a short time, but it can lead to more distractions. During work hours, you’re thinking about the school project you need to finish. When you’re studying, you’re more focused on what you have to get done for work. Making a clear schedule and sticking to it can help you stay focused on the job at hand. If you work 9 to 5, for example, focus solely on your tasks for the day. After 5, you can hit the books.
  • Avoid multitasking during the workday or your study time. Since you’re at home, it’s tempting to make the most of the time you have. Throwing in a load of laundry on a work break or cleaning the kitchen in between textbook chapters feels like you’re efficiently multitasking, but it can provide more distractions. Instead, focus on one thing at a time. Your chores will be waiting for you when you’re done, so concentrate on your job or your studies as much as possible.
  • Turn off distractions. Checking your social media pages, watching a favorite movie in the background, or constantly checking your phone for text messages can make it hard to focus on what you need to get done. Whenever possible, avoid these distractions while you’re working. Put your phone in a drawer or turn it to silent mode so you don’t notice notifications. Scroll through Facebook only on scheduled breaks. It can be tough at first, but once you’re in the habit of pushing away distractions, you’ll find yourself getting a lot more done!
  • Remember that you don’t have to be perfectly focused all the time. When you’re working at home, or studying, it can feel like you have to always be laser focused. Afterall, you’re able to do your job and study from home—you should be much more productive than normal, right? But thinking that you have to be perfect and productive 100% of the time can be its own kind of distraction that can lead to some anxiety. It’s important to remember you’re human and you need breaks. You’re not always going to perfectly focus and that’s okay! Taking a day off to refresh isn’t being lazy—it’s focusing on your mental and physical well-being. Don’t be ashamed to say you need time away! After a day off, you’ll come back even more productive than before.

Connect with other students for study tips on the Student Community.

Penn Foster students are experts on balancing work, studies, and family time. If you’re struggling to focus on your tasks, aren’t sure what the best study method is, or just want to connect with others who are going through the same thing, the Penn Foster Student Community is your best resource. You can connect with students and alumni, get tips and tricks for work/life balance, and more.

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How To Start A Business In 11 Steps (2024 Guide)

Katherine Haan

Updated: Apr 7, 2024, 1:44pm

How To Start A Business In 11 Steps (2024 Guide)

Table of Contents

Before you begin: get in the right mindset, 1. determine your business concept, 2. research your competitors and market, 3. create your business plan, 4. choose your business structure, 5. register your business and get licenses, 6. get your finances in order, 7. fund your business, 8. apply for business insurance, 9. get the right business tools, 10. market your business, 11. scale your business, what are the best states to start a business, bottom line, frequently asked questions (faqs).

Starting a business is one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences you can have. But where do you begin? There are several ways to approach creating a business, along with many important considerations. To help take the guesswork out of the process and improve your chances of success, follow our comprehensive guide on how to start a business. We’ll walk you through each step of the process, from defining your business idea to registering, launching and growing your business.

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The public often hears about overnight successes because they make for a great headline. However, it’s rarely that simple—they don’t see the years of dreaming, building and positioning before a big public launch. For this reason, remember to focus on your business journey and don’t measure your success against someone else’s.

Consistency Is Key

New business owners tend to feed off their motivation initially but get frustrated when that motivation wanes. This is why it’s essential to create habits and follow routines that power you through when motivation goes away.

Take the Next Step

Some business owners dive in headfirst without looking and make things up as they go along. Then, there are business owners who stay stuck in analysis paralysis and never start. Perhaps you’re a mixture of the two—and that’s right where you need to be. The best way to accomplish any business or personal goal is to write out every possible step it takes to achieve the goal. Then, order those steps by what needs to happen first. Some steps may take minutes while others take a long time. The point is to always take the next step.

Most business advice tells you to monetize what you love, but it misses two other very important elements: it needs to be profitable and something you’re good at. For example, you may love music, but how viable is your business idea if you’re not a great singer or songwriter? Maybe you love making soap and want to open a soap shop in your small town that already has three close by—it won’t be easy to corner the market when you’re creating the same product as other nearby stores.

If you don’t have a firm idea of what your business will entail, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do you love to do?
  • What do you hate to do?
  • Can you think of something that would make those things easier?
  • What are you good at?
  • What do others come to you for advice about?
  • If you were given ten minutes to give a five-minute speech on any topic, what would it be?
  • What’s something you’ve always wanted to do, but lacked resources for?

These questions can lead you to an idea for your business. If you already have an idea, they might help you expand it. Once you have your idea, measure it against whether you’re good at it and if it’s profitable.

Your business idea also doesn’t have to be the next Scrub Daddy or Squatty Potty. Instead, you can take an existing product and improve upon it. You can also sell a digital product so there’s little overhead.

What Kind of Business Should You Start?

Before you choose the type of business to start, there are some key things to consider:

  • What type of funding do you have?
  • How much time do you have to invest in your business?
  • Do you prefer to work from home or at an office or workshop?
  • What interests and passions do you have?
  • Can you sell information (such as a course), rather than a product?
  • What skills or expertise do you have?
  • How fast do you need to scale your business?
  • What kind of support do you have to start your business?
  • Are you partnering with someone else?
  • Does the franchise model make more sense to you?

Consider Popular Business Ideas

Not sure what business to start? Consider one of these popular business ideas:

  • Start a Franchise
  • Start a Blog
  • Start an Online Store
  • Start a Dropshipping Business
  • Start a Cleaning Business
  • Start a Bookkeeping Business
  • Start a Clothing Business
  • Start a Landscaping Business
  • Start a Consulting Business
  • Start a Photography Business
  • Start a Vending Machine Business

Most entrepreneurs spend more time on their products than they do getting to know the competition. If you ever apply for outside funding, the potential lender or partner wants to know: what sets you (or your business idea) apart? If market analysis indicates your product or service is saturated in your area, see if you can think of a different approach. Take housekeeping, for example—rather than general cleaning services, you might specialize in homes with pets or focus on garage cleanups.

Primary Research

The first stage of any competition study is primary research, which entails obtaining data directly from potential customers rather than basing your conclusions on past data. You can use questionnaires, surveys and interviews to learn what consumers want. Surveying friends and family isn’t recommended unless they’re your target market. People who say they’d buy something and people who do are very different. The last thing you want is to take so much stock in what they say, create the product and flop when you try to sell it because all of the people who said they’d buy it don’t because the product isn’t something they’d buy.

Secondary Research

Utilize existing sources of information, such as census data, to gather information when you do secondary research. The current data may be studied, compiled and analyzed in various ways that are appropriate for your needs but it may not be as detailed as primary research.

Conduct a SWOT Analysis

SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Conducting a SWOT analysis allows you to look at the facts about how your product or idea might perform if taken to market, and it can also help you make decisions about the direction of your idea. Your business idea might have some weaknesses that you hadn’t considered or there may be some opportunities to improve on a competitor’s product.

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Asking pertinent questions during a SWOT analysis can help you identify and address weaknesses before they tank your new business.

A business plan is a dynamic document that serves as a roadmap for establishing a new business. This document makes it simple for potential investors, financial institutions and company management to understand and absorb. Even if you intend to self-finance, a business plan can help you flesh out your idea and spot potential problems. When writing a well-rounded business plan, include the following sections:

  • Executive summary: The executive summary should be the first item in the business plan, but it should be written last. It describes the proposed new business and highlights the goals of the company and the methods to achieve them.
  • Company description: The company description covers what problems your product or service solves and why your business or idea is best. For example, maybe your background is in molecular engineering, and you’ve used that background to create a new type of athletic wear—you have the proper credentials to make the best material.
  • Market analysis: This section of the business plan analyzes how well a company is positioned against its competitors. The market analysis should include target market, segmentation analysis, market size, growth rate, trends and a competitive environment assessment.
  • Organization and structure: Write about the type of business organization you expect, what risk management strategies you propose and who will staff the management team. What are their qualifications? Will your business be a single-member limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation ?
  • Mission and goals: This section should contain a brief mission statement and detail what the business wishes to accomplish and the steps to get there. These goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, action-orientated, realistic and time-bound).
  • Products or services: This section describes how your business will operate. It includes what products you’ll offer to consumers at the beginning of the business, how they compare to existing competitors, how much your products cost, who will be responsible for creating the products, how you’ll source materials and how much they cost to make.
  • Background summary: This portion of the business plan is the most time-consuming to write. Compile and summarize any data, articles and research studies on trends that could positively and negatively affect your business or industry.
  • Marketing plan: The marketing plan identifies the characteristics of your product or service, summarizes the SWOT analysis and analyzes competitors. It also discusses how you’ll promote your business, how much money will be spent on marketing and how long the campaign is expected to last.
  • Financial plan: The financial plan is perhaps the core of the business plan because, without money, the business will not move forward. Include a proposed budget in your financial plan along with projected financial statements, such as an income statement, a balance sheet and a statement of cash flows. Usually, five years of projected financial statements are acceptable. This section is also where you should include your funding request if you’re looking for outside funding.

Learn more: Download our free simple business plan template .

Come Up With an Exit Strategy

An exit strategy is important for any business that is seeking funding because it outlines how you’ll sell the company or transfer ownership if you decide to retire or move on to other projects. An exit strategy also allows you to get the most value out of your business when it’s time to sell. There are a few different options for exiting a business, and the best option for you depends on your goals and circumstances.

The most common exit strategies are:

  • Selling the business to another party
  • Passing the business down to family members
  • Liquidating the business assets
  • Closing the doors and walking away

Develop a Scalable Business Model

As your small business grows, it’s important to have a scalable business model so that you can accommodate additional customers without incurring additional costs. A scalable business model is one that can be replicated easily to serve more customers without a significant increase in expenses.

Some common scalable business models are:

  • Subscription-based businesses
  • Businesses that sell digital products
  • Franchise businesses
  • Network marketing businesses

Start Planning for Taxes

One of the most important things to do when starting a small business is to start planning for taxes. Taxes can be complex, and there are several different types of taxes you may be liable for, including income tax, self-employment tax, sales tax and property tax. Depending on the type of business you’re operating, you may also be required to pay other taxes, such as payroll tax or unemployment tax.

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When structuring your business, it’s essential to consider how each structure impacts the amount of taxes you owe, daily operations and whether your personal assets are at risk.

An LLC limits your personal liability for business debts. LLCs can be owned by one or more people or companies and must include a registered agent . These owners are referred to as members.

  • LLCs offer liability protection for the owners
  • They’re one of the easiest business entities to set up
  • You can have a single-member LLC
  • You may be required to file additional paperwork with your state on a regular basis
  • LLCs can’t issue stock
  • You’ll need to pay annual filing fees to your state

Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)

An LLP is similar to an LLC but is typically used for licensed business professionals such as an attorney or accountant. These arrangements require a partnership agreement.

  • Partners have limited liability for the debts and actions of the LLP
  • LLPs are easy to form and don’t require much paperwork
  • There’s no limit to the number of partners in an LLP
  • Partners are required to actively take part in the business
  • LLPs can’t issue stock
  • All partners are personally liable for any malpractice claims against the business

Sole Proprietorship

If you start a solo business, you might consider a sole proprietorship . The company and the owner, for legal and tax purposes, are considered the same. The business owner assumes liability for the business. So, if the business fails, the owner is personally and financially responsible for all business debts.

  • Sole proprietorships are easy to form
  • There’s no need to file additional paperwork with your state
  • You’re in complete control of the business
  • You’re personally liable for all business debts
  • It can be difficult to raise money for a sole proprietorship
  • The business may have a limited lifespan


A corporation limits your personal liability for business debts just as an LLC does. A corporation can be taxed as a C corporation (C-corp) or an S corporation (S-corp). S-corp status offers pass-through taxation to small corporations that meet certain IRS requirements. Larger companies and startups hoping to attract venture capital are usually taxed as C-corps.

  • Corporations offer liability protection for the owners
  • The life span of a corporation is not limited
  • A corporation can have an unlimited number of shareholders
  • Corporations are subject to double taxation
  • They’re more expensive and complicated to set up than other business structures
  • The shareholders may have limited liability

Before you decide on a business structure, discuss your situation with a small business accountant and possibly an attorney, as each business type has different tax treatments that could affect your bottom line.

Helpful Resources

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There are several legal issues to address when starting a business after choosing the business structure. The following is a good checklist of items to consider when establishing your business:

Choose Your Business Name

Make it memorable but not too difficult. Choose the same domain name, if available, to establish your internet presence. A business name cannot be the same as another registered company in your state, nor can it infringe on another trademark or service mark that is already registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Business Name vs. DBA

There are business names, and then there are fictitious business names known as “Doing Business As” or DBA. You may need to file a DBA if you’re operating under a name that’s different from the legal name of your business. For example, “Mike’s Bike Shop” is doing business as “Mike’s Bikes.” The legal name of the business is “Mike’s Bike Shop,” and “Mike’s Bikes” is the DBA.

You may need to file a DBA with your state, county or city government offices. The benefits of a DBA include:

  • It can help you open a business bank account under your business name
  • A DBA can be used as a “trade name” to brand your products or services
  • A DBA can be used to get a business license

Register Your Business and Obtain an EIN

You’ll officially create a corporation, LLC or other business entity by filing forms with your state’s business agency―usually the Secretary of State. As part of this process, you’ll need to choose a registered agent to accept legal documents on behalf of your business. You’ll also pay a filing fee. The state will send you a certificate that you can use to apply for licenses, a tax identification number (TIN) and business bank accounts.

Next, apply for an employer identification number (EIN) . All businesses, other than sole proprietorships with no employees, must have a federal employer identification number. Submit your application to the IRS and you’ll typically receive your number in minutes.

Get Appropriate Licenses and Permits

Legal requirements are determined by your industry and jurisdiction. Most businesses need a mixture of local, state and federal licenses to operate. Check with your local government office (and even an attorney) for licensing information tailored to your area.

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Open a Business Bank Account

Keep your business and personal finances separate. Here’s how to choose a business checking account —and why separate business accounts are essential. When you open a business bank account, you’ll need to provide your business name and your business tax identification number (EIN). This business bank account can be used for your business transactions, such as paying suppliers or invoicing customers. Most times, a bank will require a separate business bank account to issue a business loan or line of credit.

Hire a Bookkeeper or Get Accounting Software

If you sell a product, you need an inventory function in your accounting software to manage and track inventory. The software should have ledger and journal entries and the ability to generate financial statements.

Some software programs double as bookkeeping tools. These often include features such as check writing and managing receivables and payables. You can also use this software to track your income and expenses, generate invoices, run reports and calculate taxes.

There are many bookkeeping services available that can do all of this for you, and more. These services can be accessed online from any computer or mobile device and often include features such as bank reconciliation and invoicing. Check out the best accounting software for small business, or see if you want to handle the bookkeeping yourself.

Determine Your Break-Even Point

Before you fund your business, you must get an idea of your startup costs. To determine these, make a list of all the physical supplies you need, estimate the cost of any professional services you will require, determine the price of any licenses or permits required to operate and calculate the cost of office space or other real estate. Add in the costs of payroll and benefits, if applicable.

Businesses can take years to turn a profit, so it’s better to overestimate the startup costs and have too much money than too little. Many experts recommend having enough cash on hand to cover six months of operating expenses.

When you know how much you need to get started with your business, you need to know the point at which your business makes money. This figure is your break-even point.

In contrast, the contribution margin = total sales revenue – cost to make product

For example, let’s say you’re starting a small business that sells miniature birdhouses for fairy gardens. You have determined that it will cost you $500 in startup costs. Your variable costs are $0.40 per birdhouse produced, and you sell them for $1.50 each.

Let’s write these out so it’s easy to follow:

This means that you need to sell at least 456 units just to cover your costs. If you can sell more than 456 units in your first month, you will make a profit.

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There are many different ways to fund your business—some require considerable effort, while others are easier to obtain. Two categories of funding exist: internal and external.

Internal funding includes:

  • Personal savings
  • Credit cards
  • Funds from friends and family

If you finance the business with your own funds or with credit cards, you have to pay the debt on the credit cards and you’ve lost a chunk of your wealth if the business fails. By allowing your family members or friends to invest in your business, you are risking hard feelings and strained relationships if the company goes under. Business owners who want to minimize these risks may consider external funding.

External funding includes:

  • Small business loans
  • Small business grants
  • Angel investors
  • Venture capital
  • Crowdfunding

Small businesses may have to use a combination of several sources of capital. Consider how much money is needed, how long it will take before the company can repay it and how risk-tolerant you are. No matter which source you use, plan for profit. It’s far better to take home six figures than make seven figures and only keep $80,000 of it.

Funding ideas include:

  • Invoice factoring: With invoice factoring , you can sell your unpaid invoices to a third party at a discount.
  • Business lines of credit: Apply for a business line of credit , which is similar to a personal line of credit. The credit limit and interest rate will be based on your business’s revenue, credit score and financial history.
  • Equipment financing: If you need to purchase expensive equipment for your business, you can finance it with a loan or lease.
  • Small Business Administration (SBA) microloans: Microloans are up to $50,000 loans that can be used for working capital, inventory or supplies and machinery or equipment.
  • Grants: The federal government offers grants for businesses that promote innovation, export growth or are located in historically disadvantaged areas. You can also find grants through local and regional organizations.
  • Crowdfunding: With crowdfunding , you can raise money from a large group of people by soliciting donations or selling equity in your company.

Choose the right funding source for your business by considering the amount of money you need, the time frame for repayment and your tolerance for risk.

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You need to have insurance for your business , even if it’s a home-based business or you don’t have any employees. The type of insurance you need depends on your business model and what risks you face. You might need more than one type of policy, and you might need additional coverage as your business grows. In most states, workers’ compensation insurance is required by law if you have employees.

Work With an Agent To Get Insured

An insurance agent can help determine what coverages are appropriate for your business and find policies from insurers that offer the best rates. An independent insurance agent represents several different insurers, so they can shop around for the best rates and coverage options.

Basic Types of Business Insurance Coverage

  • Liability insurance protects your business against third-party claims of bodily injury, property damage and personal injury such as defamation or false advertising.
  • Property insurance covers the physical assets of your business, including your office space, equipment and inventory.
  • Business interruption insurance pays for the loss of income if your business is forced to close temporarily due to a covered event such as a natural disaster.
  • Product liability insurance protects against claims that your products caused bodily injury or property damage.
  • Employee practices liability insurance covers claims from employees alleging discrimination, sexual harassment or other wrongful termination.
  • Workers’ compensation insurance covers medical expenses and income replacement for employees who are injured on the job.
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Business tools can help make your life easier and make your business run more smoothly. The right tools can help you save time, automate tasks and make better decisions.

Consider the following tools in your arsenal:

  • Accounting software : Track your business income and expenses, prepare financial statements and file taxes. Examples include QuickBooks and FreshBooks.
  • Customer relationship management (CRM) software : This will help you manage your customer relationships, track sales and marketing data and automate tasks like customer service and follow-ups. Examples include Zoho CRM and monday.com.
  • Project management software : Plan, execute and track projects. It can also be used to manage employee tasks and allocate resources. Examples include Airtable and ClickUp.
  • Credit card processor : This will allow you to accept credit card payments from customers. Examples include Stripe and PayPal.
  • Point of sale (POS) : A system that allows you to process customer payments. Some accounting software and CRM software have POS features built-in. Examples include Clover and Lightspeed.
  • Virtual private network (VPN) : Provides a secure, private connection between your computer and the internet. This is important for businesses that handle sensitive data. Examples include NordVPN and ExpressVPN.
  • Merchant services : When customers make a purchase, the money is deposited into your business account. You can also use merchant services to set up recurring billing or subscription payments. Examples include Square and Stripe.
  • Email hosting : This allows you to create a professional email address with your own domain name. Examples include G Suite and Microsoft Office 365.

Many business owners spend so much money creating their products that there isn’t a marketing budget by the time they’ve launched. Alternatively, they’ve spent so much time developing the product that marketing is an afterthought.

Create a Website

Even if you’re a brick-and-mortar business, a web presence is essential. Creating a website doesn’t take long, either—you can have one done in as little as a weekend. You can make a standard informational website or an e-commerce site where you sell products online. If you sell products or services offline, include a page on your site where customers can find your locations and hours. Other pages to add include an “About Us” page, product or service pages, frequently asked questions (FAQs), a blog and contact information.

Optimize Your Site for SEO

After getting a website or e-commerce store, focus on optimizing it for search engines (SEO). This way, when a potential customer searches for specific keywords for your products, the search engine can point them to your site. SEO is a long-term strategy, so don’t expect a ton of traffic from search engines initially—even if you’re using all the right keywords.

Create Relevant Content

Provide quality digital content on your site that makes it easy for customers to find the correct answers to their questions. Content marketing ideas include videos, customer testimonials, blog posts and demos. Consider content marketing one of the most critical tasks on your daily to-do list. This is used in conjunction with posting on social media.

Get Listed in Online Directories

Customers use online directories like Yelp, Google My Business and Facebook to find local businesses. Some city halls and chambers of commerce have business directories too. Include your business in as many relevant directories as possible. You can also create listings for your business on specific directories that focus on your industry.

Develop a Social Media Strategy

Your potential customers are using social media every day—you need to be there too. Post content that’s interesting and relevant to your audience. Use social media to drive traffic back to your website where customers can learn more about what you do and buy your products or services.

You don’t necessarily need to be on every social media platform available. However, you should have a presence on Facebook and Instagram because they offer e-commerce features that allow you to sell directly from your social media accounts. Both of these platforms have free ad training to help you market your business.

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To scale your business, you need to grow your customer base and revenue. This can be done by expanding your marketing efforts, improving your product or service, collaborating with other creators or adding new products or services that complement what you already offer.

Think about ways you can automate or outsource certain tasks so you can focus on scaling the business. For example, if social media marketing is taking up too much of your time, consider using a platform such as Hootsuite to help you manage your accounts more efficiently. You can also consider outsourcing the time-consumer completely.

You can also use technology to automate certain business processes, including accounting, email marketing and lead generation. Doing this will give you more time to focus on other aspects of your business.

When scaling your business, it’s important to keep an eye on your finances and make sure you’re still profitable. If you’re not making enough money to cover your costs, you need to either reduce your expenses or find ways to increase your revenue.

Build a Team

As your business grows, you’ll need to delegate tasks and put together a team of people who can help you run the day-to-day operations. This might include hiring additional staff, contractors or freelancers.

Resources for building a team include:

  • Hiring platforms: To find the right candidates, hiring platforms, such as Indeed and Glassdoor, can help you post job descriptions, screen résumés and conduct video interviews.
  • Job boards: Job boards such as Craigslist and Indeed allow you to post open positions for free.
  • Social media: You can also use social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook to find potential employees.
  • Freelance platforms: Using Upwork, Freelancer and Fiverr can help you find talented freelancers for one-time or short-term projects. You can also outsource certain tasks, such as customer service, social media marketing or bookkeeping.

You might also consider partnering with other businesses in your industry. For example, if you’re a wedding planner, you could partner with a florist, photographer, catering company or venue. This way, you can offer your customers a one-stop shop for all their wedding needs. Another example is an e-commerce store that partners with a fulfillment center. This type of partnership can help you save money on shipping and storage costs, and it can also help you get your products to your customers faster.

To find potential partnerships, search for businesses in your industry that complement what you do. For example, if you’re a web designer, you could partner with a digital marketing agency.

You can also search for businesses that serve the same target market as you but offer different products or services. For example, if you sell women’s clothing, you could partner with a jewelry store or a hair salon.

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To rank the best states to start a business in 2024, Forbes Advisor analyzed 18 key metrics across five categories to determine which states are the best and worst to start a business in. Our ranking takes into consideration factors that impact businesses and their ability to succeed, such as business costs, business climate, economy, workforce and financial accessibility in each state. Check out the full report .

Starting a small business takes time, effort and perseverance. But if you’re willing to put in the work, it can be a great way to achieve your dreams and goals. Be sure to do your research, create a solid business plan and pivot along the way. Once you’re operational, don’t forget to stay focused and organized so you can continue to grow your business.

How do I start a small business with no money?

There are several funding sources for brand-new businesses and most require a business plan to secure it. These include the SBA , private grants, angel investors, crowdfunding and venture capital.

What is the best business structure?

The best business structure for your business will depend entirely on what kind of company you form, your industry and what you want to accomplish. But any successful business structure will be one that will help your company set realistic goals and follow through on set tasks.

Do I need a business credit card?

You don’t need one, but a business credit card can be helpful for new small businesses. It allows you to start building business credit, which can help you down the road when you need to take out a loan or line of credit. Additionally, business credit cards often come with rewards and perks that can save you money on business expenses.

Do I need a special license or permit to start a small business?

The answer to this question will depend on the type of business you want to start and where you’re located. Some businesses, such as restaurants, will require a special permit or license to operate. Others, such as home daycare providers, may need to register with the state.

How much does it cost to create a business?

The cost of starting a business will vary depending on the size and type of company you want to create. For example, a home-based business will be less expensive to start than a brick-and-mortar store. Additionally, the cost of starting a business will increase if you need to rent or buy commercial space, hire employees or purchase inventory. You could potentially get started for free by dropshipping or selling digital goods.

How do I get a loan for a new business?

The best way to get a loan for a new business is to approach banks or other financial institutions and provide them with a business plan and your financial history. You can also look into government-backed loans, such as those offered by the SBA. Startups may also be able to get loans from alternative lenders, including online platforms such as Kiva.

Do I need a business degree to start a business?

No, you don’t need a business degree to start a business. However, acquiring a degree in business or a related field can provide you with the understanding and ability to run an effective company. Additionally, you may want to consider taking some business courses if you don’t have a degree to learn more about starting and running a business. You can find these online and at your local Small Business Administration office.

What are some easy businesses to start?

One of the easiest businesses to start also has the lowest overhead: selling digital goods. This can include items such as e-books, online courses, audio files or software. If you have expertise in a particular area or niche, this is a great option for you. Dropshipping is also a great option because you don’t have to keep inventory. You could also buy wholesale products or create your own. Once you create your product, you can sell it through your own website or third-party platforms such as Amazon or Etsy.

What is the most profitable type of business?

There is no one answer to this question because the most profitable type of business will vary depending on a number of factors, such as your industry, location, target market and business model. However, some businesses tend to be more profitable than others, such as luxury goods, high-end services, business-to-business companies and subscription-based businesses. If you’re not sure what type of business to start, consider your strengths and interests, as well as the needs of your target market, to help you choose a profitable business idea.

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How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy in 9 Easy Steps [Free Template]

Creating your social media marketing strategy doesn’t need to be painful. Create an effective plan for your business in 9 simple steps.

How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy in 9 Easy Steps (Free Template) | Hootsuite

A social media marketing strategy is a summary of everything you plan to do and hope to achieve on social media. It guides your actions and lets you know whether you’re succeeding or failing.

The more specific your plan is, the more effective it will be. Keep it concise. Don’t make it so lofty and broad that it’s unattainable or impossible to measure.

In this post, we’ll walk you through a nine-step plan to create a winning social media strategy of your own. We’ve even got expert insights from Amanda Wood, Hootsuite’s Senior Manager of Social Marketing.

How to create a social media strategy:

Bonus: Get a free social media strategy template   to quickly and easily plan your own strategy. Also use it to track results and present the plan to your boss, teammates, and clients.

What is a social media marketing strategy?

A social media strategy is a document outlining your social media goals, the tactics you will use to achieve them and the metrics you will track to measure your progress.

Your social media marketing strategy should also list all of your existing and planned social media accounts along with goals specific to each platform you’re active on. These goals should align with your business’s larger digital marketing strategy.

Finally, a good social media plan should define the roles and responsibilities within your team and outline your reporting cadence.

how to make yourself concentrate on homework

Create. Schedule. Publish. Engage. Measure. Win.

Creating your own social media marketing strategy (video guide)

No time to read the whole article? Let Amanda, Hootsuite’s own Senior Manager of Social Media Marketing, guide you through our free social media marketing strategy template in less than 10 minutes:

How to create a social media marketing strategy in 9 steps

Step 1. choose goals that align to business objectives, set s.m.a.r.t. goals.

The first step to creating a winning social media strategy is to establish clear objectives and goals. Without goals, you have no way to measure success and return on investment (ROI) .

Each of your social media marketing goals should be SMART : s pecific, m easurable, a ttainable, r elevant and t ime-bound.

Psst: Need help getting started? We’ve got social strategy guides for small businesses , financial services , government , higher education , healthcare , real estate , law firms , and non-profits .

Oh, and if you need examples of smart social media goals , we’ve got you covered there too.

track your social media goals in a social media strategy doc, like this one.

Once you’ve decided on your goals, track them in a social media strategy doc — grab our free template if you don’t have one already.

Track meaningful metrics

Vanity metrics like number of followers and likes are easy to track, but it’s hard to prove their real value. Instead, focus on things like engagement, click-through, and conversion rates.

For inspiration, take a look at these 19 essential social media metrics .

You may want to track different goals for different social media networks, or even different uses for each network.

For example, if you use LinkedIn to drive traffic to your website, you would measure click-throughs. If Instagram is for brand awareness, you might track the number of Instagram Story views. And if you advertise on Facebook, cost-per-click (CPC) is a common success metric.

Social media goals should align with your overall marketing objectives. This makes it easier to show the value of your work and secure buy-in from your boss.

Screenshot of chart showing how social media goals should align to business objectives for an effective social media marketing strategy.

Start developing a successful social media marketing plan by writing down at least three goals for social media.

“ It’s easy to get overwhelmed by deciding what to post and which metrics to track, but you need to focus on what you want to get out of social media to begin with,” says Amanda Wood, Hootsuite’s Senior Manager of Social Marketing. “Don’t just start posting and tracking everything: match your goals to your business, and your metrics to your goals.”

Step 2. Learn everything you can about your audience

Get to know your fans, followers, and customers as real people with real wants and needs, and you will know how to target and engage them on social media.

When it comes to your ideal customer, you should know things like:

  • Average income
  • Typical job title or industry

Here’s a simple guide and template for creating audience/buyer personas .

Document important information about your target customers in your social media strategy doc

Don’t forget to document this information in your strategy doc!

Social media analytics can also provide a ton of valuable information about who your followers are, where they live, and how they interact with your brand on social media. These insights allow you to refine your strategy and better target your audience.

Jugnoo, an Uber-like service for auto-rickshaws in India, used Facebook Analytics to learn that 90% of their users who referred other customers were between 18- and 34-years-old, and 65% of that group was using Android. They used that information to target their ads, resulting in a 40% lower cost per referral.

Check out our guide to using social media analytics and the tools you need to track them .

Step 3. Get to know your competition

Odds are your competitors are already using social media, and that means you can learn from what they’re doing.

Conduct a competitive analysis

A competitive analysis allows you to understand who the competition is and what they’re doing well (and not so well). You’ll get a good sense of what’s expected in your industry, which will help you set social media targets of your own.

It will also help you spot opportunities and weaknesses you can document in your social strategy doc.

track essential information about your competitors in your social strategy doc

Maybe one of your competitors is dominant on Facebook, for example, but has put little effort into X (Twitter) or Instagram. You might want to focus on the social media platforms where your audience is underserved, rather than trying to win fans away from a dominant player.

Use social media listening

Social listening is another way to keep an eye on your competitors.

Do searches of the competition’s company name, account handles, and other relevant keywords on social media. Find out what they’re sharing and what other people are saying about them. If they’re using influencer marketing, how much engagement do those campaigns earn them?

Pro tip : Use Hootsuite Streams to monitor relevant keywords, hashtags and accounts in real-time.

Try Hootsuite for free. You can cancel anytime.

As you track, you may notice shifts in how your competitors and industry leaders are using social media. You may come across new, exciting trends. You might even spot specific social content or a campaign that really hits the mark—or totally bombs.

Use this kind of intel to optimize and inform your own social media marketing strategy.

Just don’t go overboard on the spy tactics, Amanda advises. “ Make sure you aren’t ALWAYS comparing yourself to the competition — it can be a distraction. I’d say checking in on a monthly basis is healthy. Otherwise, focus on your own strategy and results.”

Step 4. Do a social media audit

If you’re already using social media, take stock of your efforts so far. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What’s working, and what’s not?
  • Who is engaging with you?
  • What are your most valuable partnerships?
  • Which networks does your target audience use?
  • How does your social media presence compare to the competition?

Once you collect that information, you’ll be ready to start thinking about ways to improve.

We’ve created an easy-to-follow social media audit guide and template to walk you through each step of this process.

Screenshot of a social media audit spreadsheet for building an effective social media marketing strategy

Your audit should give you a clear picture of what purpose each of your social accounts serves. If the purpose of an account isn’t clear, think about whether it’s worth keeping.

To help you decide, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is my audience here?
  • If so, how are they using this platform?
  • Can I use this account to help achieve my goals?

Asking these tough questions will keep your social media strategy focused.

Look for impostor accounts

During the audit, you may discover fake accounts using your business name or the names of your products.

These imposters can be harmful to your brand—never mind that they’re capturing followers that should be yours.

You may want to get your accounts verified too to ensure your fans know they are dealing with the real you.

Here’s how to get verified on:

  • X (Twitter)

Step 5. Set up accounts and improve profiles

Decide which networks to use.

As you decide which social networks to use, you will also need to define your strategy for each.

Benefit Cosmetics’ social media manager, Angela Purcaro, told eMarketer : “For our makeup tutorials … we’re all about Snapchat and Instagram Stories. [X], on the other hand, is designated for customer service.”

Hootsuite’s own social team even designates different purposes for formats within networks. On Instagram, for example, they use the feed to post high-quality educational infographics and product announcements and Stories to cover live events or quick social media updates.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Hootsuite 🦉 (@hootsuite)

Pro tip : Write out a mission statement for each network. A one-sentence declaration to keep you focused on a specific goal.

Example: “We will use X for customer support to keep email and call volumes down.”

Or: “We will use LinkedIn for promoting and sharing our company culture to help with recruitment and employee advocacy.”

One more: “We will use Instagram to highlight new products and repost quality content from influencers.”

If you can’t create a solid mission statement for a particular social media channel, you may want to ask yourself if it’s worth it.

Note : While larger businesses can and do tackle every platform, small businesses may not be able to — and that’s ok! Prioritize social platforms that will have the most impact on your business and make sure your marketing team has the resources to handle content for those networks. If you need help focusing your efforts, check out our 18-minute social media plan .

Set up your profiles

Once you’ve decided which networks to focus on, it’s time to create your profiles. Or improve existing ones so they align with your strategy.

  • Make sure you fill out all profile fields
  • Include keywords people would use to search for your business
  • Use consistent branding (logos, images, etc.) across networks so your profiles are easily recognizable

Pro tip : Use high-quality images that follow the recommended dimensions for each network. Check out our always-up-to-date social media image size cheat sheet for quick reference.

We’ve also got step-by-step guides for each network to walk you through the process:

  • Create a Facebook business page
  • Create an Instagram business account
  • Create a TikTok account
  • Create a X (Twitter) business account
  • Create a Snapchat account
  • Create a LinkedIn Company Page
  • Create a Pinterest business account
  • Create a YouTube channel

Don’t let this list overwhelm you. Remember, it’s better to use fewer channels well than to stretch yourself thin trying to maintain a presence on every network.

Optimize your profiles (and content) for search

Never heard of social SEO ? It’s time to learn.

44% of Gen Z consumers use social platforms to research their purchase decisions, which means it’s extra critical that your channels are optimized for social search.

That means making sure your profile names are clear and descriptive, you’re including relevant hashtags and keywords in your bio and on every post, and you’re using features like alt text and captions to include your target keywords as naturally as possible.

Step 6. Find inspiration

While it’s important that your brand be unique, you can still draw inspiration from other businesses that are great on social.

“ I consider it my job to stay active on social: to know what’s trending, which campaigns are winning, what’s new with the platforms, who’s going above and beyond,” says Amanda. “This might be the most fun step for you, or the hardest one, but it’s just as crucial as the rest of them.”

Social media success stories

You can usually find these on the business section of the social network’s website. ( Here’s Facebook’s , for example.)

Case studies can offer valuable insights that you can apply to your own social media plan.

Award-winning accounts and campaigns

You could also check out the winners of The Facebook Awards or The Shorty Awards for examples of brands that are at the top of their social media game.

For learning and a laugh, check out Fridge-Worthy, Hootsuite’s bi-weekly awards show highlighting brands doing smart and clever things on social media.

Your favorite brands on social media

Who do you enjoy following on social media? What do they do that compels people to engage and share their content?

National Geographic, for example, is one of the best on Instagram, combining stunning visuals with compelling captions.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by National Geographic (@natgeo)

Then there’s Shopify. The ecommerce brand uses Facebook to sell themselves by showcasing customer stories and case studies.

And Lush Cosmetics is a great example of superior customer service on X. They use their 280 characters to answer questions and solve problems in an extremely charming and on-brand way.

how to make yourself concentrate on homework

Source: lushcosmetics on X

Notice that each of these accounts has a consistent voice, tone, and style. That’s key to letting people know what to expect from your feed. That is, why should they follow you? What’s in it for them?

Consistency also helps keep your content on-brand even if you have multiple people on your social media team.

For more on this, read our guide on establishing a compelling brand voice on social media .

Ask your followers

Consumers can also offer social media inspiration.

What are your target customers talking about online? What can you learn about their wants and needs?

If you have existing social channels, you could also ask your followers what they want from you. Just make sure that you follow through and deliver what they ask for.

Step 7. Create a social media content calendar

Sharing great content is essential, of course, but it’s equally important to have a plan in place for when you’ll share content to get the maximum impact.

Your social media content calendar also needs to account for the time you spend interacting with the audience (although you need to allow for some spontaneous engagement as well).

Set your posting schedule

Your social media content calendar lists the dates and times at which you will publish types of content on each channel. It’s the perfect place to plan all of your social media activities—from images, link sharing, and re-shares of user-generated content to blog posts and videos. It includes both your day-to-day posting and content for social media campaigns.

Your calendar also ensures your posts are spaced out appropriately and published at the best times to post .

Pro tip: You can plan your whole content calendar and get recommended best times to post on every network based on your past engagement rate, impressions, or link click data in Hootsuite.

how to make yourself concentrate on homework

Hootsuite’s Best Time to Publish feature

Determine the right content mix

Make sure your content strategy and calendar reflect the mission statement you’ve assigned to each social profile, so that everything you post is working to support your business goals.

(We know, it’s tempting to jump on every meme, but there should always be a strategy behind your social media marketing efforts!)

You might decide that:

  • 50% of content will drive traffic back to your website
  • 25% of content will be curated from other sources
  • 20% of content will support lead-generation goals (newsletter sign-ups, ebook downloads, etc.)
  • 5% of content will be about your company culture

Placing these different post types in your content calendar will ensure you maintain the right mix.

If you’re starting from scratch and you’re not sure what types of content to post, try the 80-20 rule :

  • 80% of your posts should inform, educate, or entertain your audience
  • 20% can directly promote your brand.

The 80-20 rule of social media publishing

You could also try the social media content marketing rule of thirds :

  • One-third of your content promotes your business, converts readers, and generates profit.
  • One-third of your content shares ideas and stories from thought leaders in your industry or like-minded businesses.
  • One-third of your content is personal interactions with your audience

The social media marketing rule of thirds

Whatever you decide on, be sure to document it in your strategy doc.

document your content pillars in your strategy doc

Don’t post too much or too little

If you’re starting a social media marketing strategy from scratch, you may not have figured out how often to post to each network for maximum engagement yet.

Post too frequently and you risk annoying your audience. But, if you post too little, you risk looking like you’re not worth following.

Start with these posting frequency recommendations:

  • Instagram (feed): 3-7 times per week
  • TikTok: 3-5 times per week
  • Facebook: 1-2 times per day
  • X (Twitter): 1-5 times per day
  • LinkedIn: 1-5 times per day

How often to publish on social media by each platform

Pro tip : Once you have your social media content calendar planned out, use a scheduling tool to prepare messages in advance rather than updating constantly throughout the day.

We might be biased, but we think Hootsuite is the best social media management tool. You can schedule social media posts to every network and the intuitive calendar view gives you a full picture of all your social activity each week.

Try It Free

Step 8. Create compelling content

Remember those mission statements you created for each channel in Step 5? Well, it’s time to go a bit deeper, a.k.a. provide some examples of the type of content you’ll post to fulfill your mission on each network.

If you’re not sure what to post, here’s a long list of social media content ideas to get you started. Or (to make it even easier) you can use an AI tool like OwlyWriter to generate on-brand content in a flash.

The idea here is to:

  • Keep your content aligned with the purpose of each network;
  • Show other stakeholders (if applicable) what kind of content they can expect to see on each network.

This last point especially will help you avoid any tension when your colleagues want to know why you haven’t posted their case study/whitepaper/blog post to TikTok yet. It’s not in the strategy, Linda!

Ideally, you will generate content types that are both suited to the network and the purpose you’ve set out for that network.

For example, you wouldn’t want to waste time posting brand awareness tweets if you’ve designated X/Twitter for primarily customer support. And you wouldn’t want to post super polished corporate video ads to TikTok, as users expect to see short, unpolished videos on that platform.

It might take some testing over time to figure out which type of content works best on which type of network, so prepare to update this section frequently.

We won’t lie: content creation isn’t as easy as everyone not on the social team seems to think. But if you’re struggling, Amanda suggests going back to basics.

The first question to ask is: is there cohesion between your content types? Is your content providing value? Do you have a good mix of entertaining, or educational content? What does it offer that makes a person stop and spend time? Creating a few different content pillars or categories that encompass different aspects of storytelling for your brand, and what you can offer your audience is a good start.

This brings us to Step 9.

Step 9. Track performance and make adjustments

Your social media marketing strategy is a hugely important document for your business, and you can’t assume you’ll get it exactly right on the first try.

As you start to implement your plan and track your results, you may find that some strategies don’t work as well as you’d anticipated, while others are working even better than expected.

That’s why it’s important to document your progress along the way.

how to make yourself concentrate on homework

Look at performance metrics

In addition to the analytics within each social network (see Step 2), you can use UTM parameters to track social visitors as they move through your website, so you can see exactly which social posts drive the most traffic to your website.

Benchmark your results

You’ve got your numbers, but how do they stack up to the competition in your industry? Industry benchmarks are a great way to evaluate your performance against other businesses in your category.

If you’ve got Hootsuite Analytics , you can use our built-in social media benchmarking tool to compare the performance of your social accounts against the average of brands in your industry with just a couple of clicks.

You can set up custom timeframes, switch between networks — Instagram, Facebook, X (Twitter), LinkedIn, and TikTok — and look up benchmarks for metrics like followers, audience growth rate, engagement rate, clicks, shares, and much more.

You’ll also find resources to improve your performance  right in the summary section:

Industry benchmarking in Hootsuite Analytics: Performance summary with dedicated resources for improvement

Re-evaluate, test, and do it all again

Once this data starts coming in, use it to re-evaluate your strategy regularly. You can also use this information to test different posts, social marketing campaigns, and strategies against one another. Constant testing allows you to understand what works and what doesn’t, so you can refine your social media marketing strategy in real time.

You’ll want to check the performance of all your channels at least once a week and get to know the basics of social media reporting so you can track your growth over time.

Pro tip: If you use Hootsuite, you can review the performance of all your posts on every network in one place. Once you get the hang of checking your analytics, you may even want to customize different reports to show specific metrics over a variety of different time periods.

Surveys can also be a great way to find out how well your social media strategy is working. Ask your followers, email list, and website visitors whether you’re meeting their needs and expectations, and what they’d like to see more of. Then make sure to deliver on what they tell you.

Finalizing your social media strategy

Spoiler alert: nothing is final.

Social media moves fast. New networks emerge, others go through demographic shifts.

Your business will go through periods of change as well.

All of this means that your social media marketing strategy should be a living document that you review and adjust as needed. Refer to it often to stay on track, but don’t be afraid to make changes so that it better reflects new goals, tools, or plans.

When you update your social strategy, make sure to watch our 5-step video on how to updating your social media strategy for 2024:

Social media strategy template

Ready to start documenting? Grab your free social media strategy template below!

the cover page of Hootsuite's social media strategy template

What’s next? When you’re ready to put your plan into action, we’re here to help…

Save time managing your social media marketing strategy with Hootsuite. From a single dashboard you can easily:

  • Plan, create, and schedule posts to every network
  • Track relevant keywords, topics, and accounts
  • Stay on top of engagement with a universal inbox
  • Get easy-to-understand performance reports and improve your strategy as needed

Try Hootsuite for Free

With files from Shannon Tien .

Do it better with Hootsuite , the all-in-one social media tool. Stay on top of things, grow, and beat the competition.

Become a better social marketer.

Get expert social media advice delivered straight to your inbox.

Christina Newberry is an award-winning writer and editor whose greatest passions include food, travel, urban gardening, and the Oxford comma—not necessarily in that order.

Amanda Wood is a senior social marketing professional who combines analytical and creative thinking to build brands.

As head of social at Hootsuite, Amanda oversees the global social strategy encompassing organic and paid social on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and LinkedIn, a social engagement and listening strategy, and an employee advocacy program.

As the leader of a high-performing social team, she has extensive experience collaborating with creatives to bring campaigns to life on social and drive business results.

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  • Manage notifications
  • Troubleshoot mobile notifications
  • Explore the Activity feed
  • Change your notifications style
  • Change how often you receive missed activity emails
  • Change your profile picture
  • Manage accounts and organizations
  • Enable location sharing
  • Update Microsoft Teams
  • Change app settings
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  • Use high fidelity music mode to play music in Teams

Change your status

  • Set your status message
  • Schedule an out of office status
  • Get notified when someone's status changes
  • Screen reader support for Microsoft Teams
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  • Video: Manage notification settings

how to make yourself concentrate on homework

Change your status in Microsoft Teams

If you want to make sure people know when you’re busy or away from your desk, set your status in Teams. The little dot on your profile indicates if you’re available or not.

Teams will automatically set the status in some cases, like when you’re in a call. To explicitly set it yourself, go to your profile at the top of Teams and select one from the list.

Status menu

You can also update your status from the command box . Type /available , /busy , /dnd , /brb , /away , or  /offline  to set your status as Available , Busy , Do not disturb , Be right back , Away , or  Offline .

Here’s more detail about each kind of status that you change:

Available is when you’re active in Teams and don’t have anything in your calendar (no meetings or calls, for example). Note that Teams will automatically set your status from Available to Away when you lock your computer or when it enters idle or sleep mode. On mobile, this will happen when the Teams app is in the background.

Busy is when you want to focus on something, and you do want notifications to pop up.  If you’re in a meeting or call, Teams will automatically change your status to In a meeting or In a call ( Busy ) when not set to Do not disturb .

Do not disturb is when you want to focus or present your screen and don’t want notifications to pop up.

Be right back is when you want to say you’re temporarily away. It’s never set automatically.

Appear away is when you need to work without responding right away.

Appear offline is when you want to indicate that you're not signed in to Teams, so will not be responding until you're back online. You'll still receive notifications if anyone messages you.  

Note:  If you're a MyAnalytics customer, use the MyAnalytics Outlook add-in to book focus time in your calendar. When you're in your focus time, your Teams status will change to Focusing and all notifications will be silenced until your focus time ends.

Set a duration for your status

When you want to change your status for a specific period of time—for example, to set "Do not disturb" for an hour of concentrated work—you can set a duration so that Teams will automatically reset your status at the end of the allotted time.

Duration on status menu

Under Status , select the status you want to show going forward.  

Note:  You can set durations for any status except Available .

Set status and duration

Select Done .

At the end of the time period you entered, Teams will automatically reset your status based on your activity, your calendar, and the state of your computer.

Undo a status duration

Simply select a new status. Alternatively, you can select your profile picture, select your current status, and then select Reset status .

See who's online

If someone is currently available on Teams, you'll see a green circle with a check mark next to their profile picture.

More options button

Available is when you’re active in Teams and don’t have anything in your calendar (no meetings or calls, for example). Teams will automatically set your status from Available to Away when the Teams app is in the background. On desktop and web, this will happen when you lock your computer or when it enters idle or sleep mode.

Note:  Change your device's sleep or idle settings to require more time before your status switches from Available to Away .

Appear offline is when you want to indicate that you're not signed in to Teams, so will not be responding until you're back online. You'll still receive notifications if anyone messages you.

You'll see a green circle with a check mark next to the profile picture of people who are online.


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    Tip #1: Try meditation. Look up a guide for mindfulness meditation and start doing it daily. It will help improve your focus. Tip #2: You improve your concentration by working on it. Some days you might be more motivated or just be in a better mood and some days you might just not feel like doing anything.

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    5. Give yourself a reward. Rewards can be a great source of motivation for adopting good time management habits. For each important task you accomplish, you can give yourself a little treat. It doesn't need to be extravagant or expensive. Here are some simple ways to motivate yourself: Taking a break to enjoy your favorite snack

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    When you're studying, you're more focused on what you have to get done for work. Making a clear schedule and sticking to it can help you stay focused on the job at hand. If you work 9 to 5, for example, focus solely on your tasks for the day. After 5, you can hit the books.

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  29. Change your status in Microsoft Teams

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$500 for the first month
40 cents per birdhouse
$500/($1.50 - 40 cents)