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Concentration strategies checklist

How many of these strategies are you currently using?

Watch your health

   Eat well

   Get enough rest

   Get enough exercise

   Address any health concerns

   Build in time for leisure

Create the right environment

   Comfortable, but engaging

   Free of things that distract you

   Well-equipped (office supplies, dictionary, snacks, water, etc.)

Manage your time effectively

   Determine how much time you need to study

   Budget frequent, short, specific study sessions

   Set study goals (e.g. Read 5 pages in the next 30 minutes)

   Take breaks (@10 minutes per hour)

   Consider changing subjects or activities when you lose concentration

   Maximize the use of your peak energy times (…am? …pm?)

   Give yourself rewards for tasks well done!


   Create questions from headings and read to answer the questions

   Write summaries of readings and lectures

   Take notes of readings

   Discuss ideas with other students

   Other ACTIVE strategies??

Address your worries

   Keep a worry journal –- get your worries down on paper

   Schedule worry time

   Seek out support

   Learn relaxation strategies

After completing the checklist, mark one or two new strategies you will try.

Factors affecting concentration

Concentration can be affected by both “internal” and “external” factors. Which factors are affecting your concentration?

Internal factors

  • Physical distractions: Irregular eating, sleep, and exercise patterns, depression, anxiety, chronic pain or other related health and mental health issues.
  • Emotional preoccupation or distraction:Personal issues or crisis e.g. relationship break–up, job loss etc.
  • Excessive worry: Preoccupation and fear about future, failure, etc.
  • Negative self-talk: Critical, comparative or perfectionist thinking.
  • Lack of career direction
  • Lack of clarity or confusion regarding course work or expectations. 
  • Others:

External factors

  • Other people in your study space.
  • Noise distractions (TV, people talking, music, phone).
  • Light too dim or bright.
  • Temperature too high or low.
  • Time pressures.
  • Social distractions (invitations, family needs, time with friends).
  • Discouraging words from others.
  • Lack of adequate materials or resources to complete the task.
  • Physical danger or threat.
  • Others:

You can also download a worksheet (printable version) of this page with space for your notes.