It’s almost the end of the semester for me; just one more to go and I’ll be done school! But going into this final week of the semester I find myself being more and more distracted from getting the last few things done. I think part of this has to do with taking my oral exam: with that done the end is really in site and so getting the motivation together to finish the various tasks is difficult.

Depending on the type of person you are you probably deal with distractions in your own way. Here are some of the things that I do to avoid distractions:

1) Be alone. One of the things I did the last couple of days before my oral exam was to hole myself up in our room and ignore everyone for most of the day. No phone calls, no chatting online, no contact with anyone  outside of our bedroom. I like having time to myself in general but I find that when I can ignore the rest of the world I can really concentrate and get a lot of thinking/studying/writing out of the way.

2) If you need music, listen to classical. There have actually been studies that listening to classical music can actually increase your brain activity, which in turn can help someone remember or retain more. However, listening to music with lyrics or more modern things like rock, will actually be harmful to study. Personally I have a very hard time studying while music is playing. Occasionally I’ll turn on some Beethoven or Mozart, but that is it.

3) Give yourself a break. This seems like it would be counter productive since you are taking time away from your studies, but it’s actually very helpful. Study for 55 minutes and then give yourself a 5 minute break. Use that time to check in with the family, read the news, surf the web, whatever will relax you and take your mind off the task at hand. Just be sure to limit it to only 5 minutes though or before you know it an hour will have slipped away. Time is one resource that you can never get more of!

4) Don’t stress. Hopefully you, and me, have been studying all throughout the semester so that what is taking place is just final writing projects or studying for an exam. Cramming, generally, isn’t helpful and you will never retain all the facts. Make sure you are taking time throughout the year to study and prepare for the end of the term. Procrastination will only get you into trouble!

5) Accept what you can do. For some people, like myself, there is only so much you are going to be able to do. Life is full and complicated and so we can’t always devote the time that we would like. Give it your best, and if you get a B, then accept it and move on with life. In the end no one is really going to care what your GPA is, only that you have your degree.