The student news of St. Paul Academy and Summit School

The Rubicon

The student news of St. Paul Academy and Summit School

The Rubicon

The student news of St. Paul Academy and Summit School

The Rubicon

Keep your focus on staying focused

QUIET+STUDY.+It+might+sound+appealing+to+study+with+music%2C+podcasts%2C+and+videos+in+the+background%2C+but+it%E2%80%99s+not+good+for+focus.+Instead%2C+it%E2%80%99s+better+to+work+in+a+quiet%2C+calm+environment.+%E2%80%9CHumans+are+inherently+horrible+multitaskers%2C+so+trying+to+do+more+than+one+thing+at+once+will+drag+down+productivity%2C%E2%80%9D+Ostrem+writes.
Annika Kim
QUIET STUDY. It might sound appealing to study with music, podcasts, and videos in the background, but it’s not good for focus. Instead, it’s better to work in a quiet, calm environment. “Humans are inherently horrible multitaskers, so trying to do more than one thing at once will drag down productivity,” Ostrem writes.

As college application due dates consume senior time and end-of-semester midterms loom, classes get into the semester’s busiest times, and many students face overwhelming workloads. Students are stressed out balancing essays, tests, general assignments, college applications, and other projects.

Instead of trying to do everything at once, remember the importance of focusing on just one thing. Humans are inherently horrible multitaskers, so trying to do more than one thing at once will drag down productivity. Focusing on a single thing frees up brain space for implementing other strategies that can help lessen workloads.

Suppose increased focus and productivity are the goal. In that case, it’s time to eliminate background distractions, like music or podcasts, during work. They lower retention and increase time spent on work, according to a 2023 study from Sage Journal. The study states that people only have limited mental resources to process information, and watching or listening to something distracting can detract from that. The course of action is clear: don’t listen to a podcast or watch a YouTube video while doing homework. Don’t sit by a TV or next to a phone. Instead, try to find a quiet place to work efficiently and get it done.

Instead of trying to do everything at once, remember the importance of focusing on just one thing.

Don’t underestimate how distracting technology can be, especially social media. Scrolling on Instagram or texting friends while working can be far too tempting. These unnecessary breaks can decrease work quality and make assignments take longer than needed. Social media can also train brains to have a shorter attention span, negatively affecting work, according to a 2023 article from The Standard. To lengthen attention spans and increase focus, leave the phone in another room. Use browser extensions to block social media sites, if necessary. Log out of social media sites after browsing, and only log back in if it’s essential.

If work is starting to feel overwhelming, take a breath. Don’t think about how many assignments there are, how important this test is, or how much work this essay will take. Instead, focus on one task at a time and take it from there.

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About the Contributors
Peter Ostrem, A&E Editor
My name is Peter Ostrem (he/him). I work as an Arts and Entertainment editor for The Rubicon. At school, I’m involved in football, baseball, and theater tech. I love to hike and watch movies. I can be reached at [email protected].
Annika Kim, Illustrator
My name is Annika Kim (she/her). I work as the Illustrator for the Rubicon, and this is my second year officially on staff. At school, I work on Iris Art & Lit magazine and act in the theatre productions. I love animation and want to combine computer science with art to tell a story. I can be reached at [email protected].

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