Tips for staying focused in college while being a mom and student
One of the biggest challenges moms face in college is how to stay focused. How do you stay focused when you have a lot going on? This is a legitimate question and unfortunately, one many moms can’t find an answer to.
Being a mom and a student is a balancing act and it requires a lot of work not to drop the ball in one area. But, it’s possible to stay focused in college and still be a good mom. Here are some ways to stay focused in college.
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1. SCHEDULE TIME FOR SCHOOLWORK
As a mom in college, you have to wear multiple hats and do lots of other things while studying. But you can’t let that stop you from focusing on college.
It’s easy to lose focus in college when you are bogged down by your other responsibilities (like work and parenting). So the best way to ensure you don’t lose track of what is important is to be intentional about scheduling time for your schoolwork.
Don’t assume it’s just going to happen without any effort on your part. You have to be deliberate and purposeful when it comes to college. So get into the habit of scheduling time for your schoolwork. Make it a daily habit. Find the most convenient time during the day and use that time to focus on college work.
Planners are great for scheduling your schoolwork, but if you don’t like planners (or you tried them in the past and they didn’t work), consider using a white board. Every week (preferably on Sunday), write out your schedule, then try to stick to it throughout the week.
This method works very well for some moms, so it’s something to consider.
2. STAYING FOCUSED IN COLLEGE IS ABOUT HAVING A DAILY ROUTINE
Along the same lines as above, having a daily routine can be beneficial when you are trying to stay focused in college.
When you create a routine, you hold yourself accountable to follow it. A daily routine can help you prioritize your tasks, use your time efficiently, and reduce inconsistency. With a daily routine, you can plan out your day and know exactly what you should be doing at any given time.
That means, no more wondering if you should be working on an assignment or doing something else.
You can also use a daily routine to set time limits for the tasks you need to do, boosting your productivity. So, if you are used to unstructured days or wasting large chunks of time doing nothing, take the time to create a daily routine and avoid procrastination.
Related: How to Create an Effective Student Mom Schedule
3. CREATE OR REVISIT YOUR VISION AND DETERMINE WHERE YOU STAND
There are times when the only thing that can help you stay focused is your vision. If you have tried everything else and you still struggle to stay focused in college, then it’s time to revisit or create a vision for your life.
To create or revisit your vision, ask yourself the following questions:
- Why am I in college?
- What do I want to get out of college?
- How committed am I to succeeding?
- What would my life look like without a college degree?
While these questions are pretty hard to answer, they are great for making you refocus on your “why” and what’s truly important.
After you revisit or create a vision, it’s time to determine where you stand at the moment. Here are some questions to help you determine that.
- Am I doing everything I can to succeed in college?
- How well am I doing with my classes?
- Am I efficient with my time?
- Why do I think I struggle to stay focused?
Having an accurate picture of your vision and where you stand will help you determine what you should be doing and what you should focus on.
As a college student, I had moments when I lost my focus in college because of all the other things that were going on around me. Revisiting my vision or why and asking myself some tough questions were effective methods I used to regain my focus in school.
So, when all else fails, you can always go back to the beginning and retrace your steps from there.
Now, let’s look at some other ways to stay focused in college.
4. WAYS TO STAY FOCUSED IN COLLEGE
There are lots of ways to stay focused in college, but the list below is some of the most helpful for moms in college.
1. FORCE YOURSELF TO FOCUS
You know focus is important to your success but you just can’t get yourself to stay focused.
What do you do when it seems impossible to focus? How do you focus on your schoolwork if you always find yourself preoccupied with everything except your studies?
If you find yourself in this situation, the only option is to try to force yourself to focus. But how do you do it? Here are some suggestions for you.
- Change your environment. For example, if you are trying to study but your mind keeps wandering, you can change your location or environment to eliminate some of the distractions around you.
- Do whatever you need to do before going to class or sitting down to study. If your mind keeps wandering while you are in class or studying, what you can do is complete or take care of the other tasks before trying to study or go to class.
- Consider completing tasks like prepping dinner, cleaning, scheduling an appointment, or playing with your kids before trying to study. Instead of thinking of all the things you haven’t done when you should be focusing in college, get those things out of the way so when it’s time to focus on your schoolwork, you are not distracted.
- Remind yourself it isn’t optional. Studying and completing assignments are not optional if you want to graduate from college. At some point, you’ve gotta get tough with yourself and bring your focus back where it should be. This one always worked for me. Give it a try!
2. SAVE SOME OF YOUR ENERGY FOR COLLEGE WORK
Let’s be real. You can’t focus in college if you are always tired, and lots of moms and college students are tired from juggling too many responsibilities.
Since you know college is important, you have to leave some tasks on the back burner so you can save more energy for school. Don’t even try to do everything. Some things are going to have to take a back seat for a while.
Trying to focus when you feel burned out is not going to work, and you will become less productive. Learn to conserve your energy so you always have enough for college.
Some ways to save energy include prioritizing school over chores, having a workout routine to boost your energy, eating well, and getting enough sleep. Some moms also use meditation to help them stay focused.
It doesn’t matter what method you choose. Saving some energy will do you a world of good and help improve your focus.
3. WORK IN SMALL CHUNKS OF TIME
Staying focused for long periods of time can be tricky when you are a mom. Instead of scheduling one big chunk of time to do your schoolwork, break it down into small chunks of time.
Set aside small chunks of time throughout the day specifically for school work. For example, one hour for class, fifteen minutes for reading, twenty minutes for studying, or thirty minutes for workshops or some other school-related activity.
To be even more effective, use a timer to keep track of how much time you spend on each activity.
Working in small chunks of time interspersed with frequent breaks is a very effective way to boost your productivity and maintain your focus. This method is perfect if you struggle with staying focused because of multiple distractions from kids needing your attention.
So, don’t think you have to spend hours at a time focusing on your schoolwork. Of course, this won’t work if you have hour-long lectures or classes, but if you have the option, or you are taking classes online, this is a good way to stay focused and get things done.
4. TAILOR YOUR COURSE LOAD TO YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES
It’s hard to stay focused in college when you have a too-heavy course load combined with lots of other non-college activities. You can’t stay focused if you are being pulled in lots of different directions.
I know there are lots of moms who can’t afford to not work while in school. Bills aren’t going to pay themselves, so these college students have to keep working while studying. With that in mind, the best thing you can do for yourself is to tailor your course load to fit your circumstances.
For example, if you work full time and have multiple kids, can you really focus on four or five courses per semester? What’s reasonable and realistic for you? If you work from home, can you focus on your classes during the day (especially if you have kids at home)?
These are some of the questions you should ask yourself before signing up for classes.
Lack of focus can be the result of being overwhelmed and not knowing where to start. So, think about how heavy your course load is and how it affects your focus.
5. FIND THE BEST TIME TO DO YOUR SCHOOLWORK
Finding the best time to do your schoolwork can help you stay focused. Many moms say they can’t study during the day because of their kids and some of them don’t have babysitters or anyone else to help them out.
These moms tend to wait until nap time or bedtime to start working on their assignments. The downside to this is that you might end up tired at the end of the day. However, if this is your only option, then you have to accept it and find a way to make it work for you.
Some ways to work around your kids include:
- Wake up early before your kids get up and use that time to do some school work.
- For very young kids, create a routine for them that includes nap time and quiet time/play. Get them on a good schedule and early bedtime (say 8 pm). This way, you can still put in a good two hours before going to bed.
Being a mom in college means you are always adapting or trying new things. Flexibility is very important if you want to stay sane as a mom in college.
6. PROACTIVELY MINIMIZE DISTRACTIONS
Sometimes focus is not really the problem, the problem is you. You all know what I am talking about.
How many times have you sat down to study but you found yourself doing everything else but study? You can’t focus if you busy yourself with chores and other activities instead of working on your schoolwork.
So, close those tabs on your laptop. Turn off your phone and put it away. You can store it in a time lock container until you are done studying. Moms who can’t stop playing with their phones find this to be very effective.
Stay away from Facebook and Instagram. Don’t worry about what your kids are doing in the living room (especially if they are with dad or someone else).
You have to proactively minimize and avoid distractions as much as you can. If you don’t, you will set yourself up for failure and make college life even more difficult.
More on how to stay focused in college
To stay focused and productive in college, it’s important to develop good habits and to have clear goals that motivate you.
Minimizing distractions during schoolwork or classes is essential for your success, so avoid multitasking or environments that make it harder for you to focus.
Finally, consider your commitment to college and how important it is for you to earn a college degree. Don’t forget to take care of yourself and get enough rest especially if you have a very hectic schedule. Staying healthy is the best way to improve your focus in college.
Do you struggle to stay focused in college? What’s worked for you?
Related mom and student articles
How to Find Time to Study as a College Mom
The Best Study Tips for Moms in College
How to Focus on Online School (For Busy Moms)