Set aside a place for study and study
Set aside a fixed place for study and nothing but study. Do you have a place for study you can call your own? As long as you are going to study, you may as well use the best possible environment. Of course, it should be reasonably quiet and relatively free of distractions like radio, TV, and people. But that is not absolutely necessary. Several surveys suggest that 80% of a student's study is done in his own room, not in a library or study hall. A place where you are used to studying and doing nothing else is the best of all possible worlds.
After a while, study becomes the appropriate behavior in that particular environment. Then, whenever you sit down in that particular niche in the world you'll feel like going right to work. Look at it this way: when you come into a classroom, you sit down and go to work by paying attention to the instructor. Your attitude and attention and behavior are automatic because in the past, the room has been associated with attentive listening and not much else. If you can arrange the same kind of situation for the place where you study, you will find it easier to sit down and start studying.
Insure that your study area has the
a comfortable chair, but not too comfortable (you don't want to wake up next Tuesday).
a desk large enough to spread out your materials.
Insure that your study area does NOT have the following:
a good view (for example: pretty girls or handsome guys walking by)
a telephone (and that your phone is turned off or silent)
a loud stereo or radio
a sociable/talkative roommate or friend
a refrigerator stocked with snacks.
Don't set a goal as vague and large as ... "I am going to spend all day Saturday studying!" You will only set yourself up for failure and discouragement.
Take the time block that you have scheduled for study and set a reachable study goal. Set small, short-range subgoals for yourself. Divide your assignment into subsections. Set a time when you will have finished the first page of the assignment, etc. If you are doing math, set a time goal for the solution of each problem. In other words, divide your assignments into small units. Set time goals for each one. You will find that this is a way to increase your ability to study without daydreaming.
If your mind wanders... stand up and face away from your books. Don't sit at your desk staring into a book and mumbling about your poor will power. If you do, your book soon becomes associated with daydreaming and guilt. If you must daydream, and we all do it occasionally, get up and turn around. Don't leave the room. Just stand by your desk, daydreaming while you face away from your assignment. The physical act of standing up helps bring your thinking back to the job. Try it! You'll find that soon just telling yourself, "I should stand up now," will be enough to get you back on the track.
Stop at the end of each page, and count to ten slowly. This is an idea that may increase your study time, and it will be quite usefull you if you find you can't concentrate and your mind is wandering. If someone were to ask you, "What have you read about?" and the only answer you could give is, "About thirty minutes," then you need to apply this technique. But remember, it is only useful if you can't concentrate -- as a sort of emergency procedure.
Set aside a certain time to begin
Certain behavior usually is habitual at certain times of the day. If you examine your day carefully, you'll find that you tend to do certain things at predictable times. There may be changes from day to day, but, generally parts of your behavior are habitual and time controlled. If you would be honest with yourself, you'd realize that time controlled behavior is fairly easy to start. The point is that if you can make studying - or at least some of your studying - habitual, it will be a lot easier to start.
Don't start any unfinished business just before the time to start studying. Most people tend to think about jobs they haven't finished or obligations they have to fulfill much more than things that they have done and gotten out of the way. Uncompleted activities tend to be remembered much longer than completed ones. If we apply that idea to the habit of daydreaming, you might suspect that uncompleted activities and obligations would be more likely to crop up as a source of daydreaming than completed ones. Therefore, when you know you're about to start studying because it's the time you select to begin, don't get involved in long discussions. Try to be habitual with the time you start, and be careful what you do before you start studying. This can be one way to improve your ability to concentrate.
Keep a reminder pad.
Another trick that helps increase your ability to concentrate is to keep pencil and paper by your notebook. If while you're studying you happen to think about something that needs to be done, jot it down. Having written it down you can go back to studying. You'll know that if you look at the pad later, you will be reminded of the things you have to do. It's worrying about forgetting the things you have to do that might be interfering with your studying.
Relax completely before you start
One approach to concentration is to ask yourself, "Do study and bookwork scare me?" If you have to do something unpleasant, something that you know you may do badly, how do you react? Probably you put it off as long as possible, find yourself daydreaming, and would welcome reasons to stop studying. If you do react this way, you might be said to suffer from learned book-anxiety. The key to breaking this book-anxiety daydream series is learning how to relax. When you are physically, deeply, and completely relaxed, it is almost impossible to feel any anxiety. Associate the book with relaxation, not with tension and anxiety. When you study, study; when you worry, worry. Don't do both at the same time.