Supporting challenges with focus requires creating an environment around a task that makes it easier. Although this environment may look different for everyone, it's typically going to be somewhere without distractions and supported by effective tools and systems to keep you on task. Here some of our coaches' favorite strategies for helping clients stay focused.
The Pomodoro Technique is strategy that helps break your work into manageable chunks, thereby enhancing focus and productivity. This strategy aims to eliminate burnout and cognitive fatigue by providing regular, scheduled breaks, which refresh your mind and maintain your concentration at an optimal level. So how does it work?
The technique involves breaking your work or study time into 25-minute periods, known as 'Pomodoros,' separated by five-minute breaks. After four Pomodoros, take a longer break, typically 15-30 minutes. The idea is to concentrate fully during each Pomodoro, knowing a break is on the horizon, thus maximizing productivity during those work and study periods. The regular breaks also help maintain mental agility over extended periods of work or study.
Mind Mapping is a visual strategy designed to harness the brain's natural inclination for pattern recognition and association, helping you understand, remember, and generate new ideas. The goal of this technique is to enhance focus by arranging concepts in a format that mirrors how our brains naturally process information.
Start by writing the main idea or topic in the center of a page, and then draw branches out from this central idea. On each branch, write a related sub-topic. You can continue creating additional sub-branches as needed. This visual organization allows for a clear overview of the topic, enabling your brain to focus on the information more effectively. It also encourages creative problem-solving and ideation by linking and structuring ideas in a visually appealing and intuitive way.
Oftentimes, the hardest tasks to focus on are the ones we don't like because they're boring. Task Pairing Strategy is a clever approach to enhance focus and make work time more enjoyable. The aim of this technique is to pair a task that requires focus and attention with something pleasant or rewarding. By creating a positive association, this method can boost focus by enhancing the underlying motivation to do the task in the first place. Here's how it works.
Begin by identifying a task that demands a high degree of focus. Then, choose something enjoyable to pair with this task. This could be as simple as savoring a favorite cup of coffee while working, listening to a soothing instrumental playlist, or promising yourself a small reward after completing the task. The enjoyable element should be non-distracting and ideally help create a positive or relaxed atmosphere conducive to focus. By linking the task with a pleasant activity or reward, the brain begins to associate the focus-required task with positive feelings, making it easier to get started and remain engaged.
Time management challenges present as a difficulty or inability to sense the passage of time. Disruptions with time awareness, whether minor or substantial, can affect numerous areas of an individual's life.
How Coaching Helps
Coaches introduce time management strategies that encourage clients to estimate how long certain tasks will take and then plan out when they'll get them done. By utilizing these strategies to map out school deadlines, test days, and scheduled events, clients begin to learn how to think about time in a more realistic way.
Prioritization is the process of deciding the relative importance or urgency needed when faced with multiple tasks.
How coaching helps
Our coaches teach prioritization by helping clients set realistic goals and prioritize tasks based on importance and urgency. One technique we use is teaching clients to break large projects into smaller tasks and set deadlines. To teach this skill, our coaches guide clients in using tools such as Gantt charts or Eisenhower matrices to visualize and manage tasks
It's normal for students to occasionally find themselves distracted. However, regularly struggling to stay focused has a number of serious consequences that can hold them back, including poor grades, relationship challenges, challenges with self-care, and heightened stress and anxiety overall.
How Coaching Helps
Our coaches teach clients strategies to minimize distractions, such as creating a designated workspace and using noise-canceling headphones. We do this by introducing techniques to improve concentration, such as the Pomodoro Technique or mindfulness practices. Coaches also encourage clients to take regular breaks and engage in physical activity to maintain focus.
Productivity is how efficiently students can complete tasks, consistently.
How Coaching Helps
Our coaches help promote productivity by helping clients develop strategies to maintain motivation, such as visualizing the end result or creating a reward system, encouraging clients to track progress and celebrate small wins along the way, and teaching clients to develop resilience and learn from setbacks or challenges.
Organization encompasses the ability to keep track of personal belongings, maintain an orderly space, and manage deadlines. A lack of organization can have serious consequences like misplaced assignments, heightened stress, relationship problems, financial impacts, and more.
How Coaching Helps
Our coaches are equipped with a deep knowledge of well-researched organizational tools & strategies at their fingertips. Coaches work to better understand their clients' organizational habits and get to the root of their barriers to implementing systems to get organized. They then utilize this understanding to create a game plan that may involve small organizational commitments week to week.
In 1:1 sessions online, coaches help clients identify, employ, and evaluate tools and strategies that address their specific needs. Our coaches customize their approach to each individual depending upon their attitude toward changing work habits. We use a research-based model to attain clients’ buy-in to improve their self-management skills and lead to lasting change.
Coaches at Beyond BookSmart use 4 steps - Reach, Teach, Reflect, and Release - when working with clients.
Our coaches don't look at procrastination as a sign of laziness, but rather as a habit stemming from avoidance. Coaches work to get to the root of this avoidance by connecting with our clients through reflective conversations.
Our coaches are equipped with a deep knowledge of well-researched organizational tools & strategies at their fingertips. Coaches work to better understand their clients' organizational habits and get to the root of their barriers to implementing systems to get organized.
Stress is a natural response that allows us to address challenges in our lives. Everyone experiences stress to some degree but it's important to find methods to manage it to avoid things like depression or anxiety.
Our coaches teach prioritization by helping clients set realistic goals and prioritize tasks based on importance and urgency.
Coaches introduce time management strategies that encourage clients to estimate how long certain tasks will take and then plan out when they'll get them done.
At times, even successful, high-achieving individuals may struggle to begin a difficult or less-than-exciting task. However, when this becomes a regular habit - one that leads to last-minute scrambles, time-wasting, stress, and missed opportunities - it can have serious consequences on our academic and personal lives.
WorkSmart Coaching is a division of Beyond BookSmart that specializes in adult coaching.
WorkSmart coaches have master’s degrees or higher and have a track record of success working with adults like you. Many also have experience working as educators or therapists. In other words, they've dedicated their professional lives to helping people learn, grow, and be their very best.