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.