Academic Tips: Brain Rules- Attention

Brain Rules: Attention.

“Listen well and listen good. I want you to pay rapt attention at this point class.” I surmise you have heard your teacher/lecturer tell you this times without number, right?

Have you also been in classes where you’re lost throughout the entire lecture simply because your mind wandered away for few seconds. You went into another world entirely, thinking of the fun you had the previous day with your friends, what you would eat later in the day, inundated with the thought of that girl/guy you can’t take off your mind. Although cases differ, you’re back muttering “When did he get here?“,” what’s that for?”, “what’s the meaning of that?” etc.

It gets more heightened if the person sitting next to you can’t save you, especially when you are both experiencing the same dilemma.

This actually happens most times because we are biologically incapable of processing attention-rich inputs simultaneously. The brain is a sequential processor unable to pay attention to two things at the same time.

This applies to a student reading passively because switching from studying to checking watching movies, checking sports updates, and social media platforms makes them lose track of previous progress and they need to start over. Then, muttering things like “where was I?” ,“where did I stop?“.

Switching from one task to another is time consuming. Studies show that a person who is interrupted takes fifty percent longer to accomplish a task.

Multitasking when it comes to paying attention is a myth. The brain naturally focuses on concepts sequentially, not at a time.

Here are few tips that will help you to pay attention while studying or receiving lectures.

1. Engage your mind on the information

You can never pay attention to what you aren’t interested in. The messages that grab our attention are connected to awareness, interest and memory. Our brain continuously scans the sensory horizon with events constantly assessed for their potential interest or importance. Blending to the truth, some lectures can be so boring but you have to hook the bait yourself at such times.

Attach each lecture to a very good emotion/vibe. Don‘t trust your brain to retain it all, make good notes as you actively participate in the class.

2. Create an interruption free zone

Try this by turning off your phone (on flight mode preferably), freezing your social media apps, abstaining from all kinds of gist and see whether you get done or not. Doing this also create an avenue and enough space for you to connect dots of every piece of information. You’ll be able to absorb much more faster because you’re focused and concentrating on one single thing at a time.

3. Minimize distractions

You’d need to discover what distracts you so easily. In what condition or environment does your brain work best? Some people can assimilate and be more focused with their ears plugged while some prefer reading without any sound (music) at the background. A quiet and serene place is cool for such people. Distractions can also come from internal factors such as anxiety, worry, fear etc. This must be taken off and dealt with for maximum productivity.

You also have to identify the time whereby your mental focus is heightened. Is it in the morning, afternoon or evening? Know what works best for you and stick to it.


How do you intend to be more attentive?


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