Get in the Zone: How to Prepare for a Successful Study Session
In every sport, athletes have rituals before every game that they are careful to observe to bring luck. The superstition can include touching a sign on the way of out the tunnel, kissing a lucky egg, or intimidating the other team with the haka. From mild to just plain weird, superstitious behavior is found throughout sports because it brings each teammate luck and focus.
Indeed, rituals like these are found in every industry. Writers only write at the perfect time of day. Some salespeople cross themselves before meetings, looking for divine intervention. Rituals like these help them to get in the zone or call on help from another source—divinely or for luck!
Rituals can help anyone in any industry “get in the zone” so they can work at their best. Scientific American shares specific ideas on why rituals work and explains some of their benefits.1 Students can sometimes benefit from a study ritual if they are struggling to come up with other ideas to help them focus. The following tips are just a few ideas of pre-study activities that may help you clear your mind in preparation to study.
Get your Facebook, email, and texting buzz out of you. If you’re insanely interested in what’s going on in your social world, find out what’s going on before you get to work. You won’t be able to focus2 until you do, so get it out of your system. Once you’re done, turn all of those things off and stay away from them until your task is done.
Exercise releases endorphins3 and can help you prep for a study session. Consider a light exercise routine to get your mind going. Go for a walk, do a few pushups, or stretch out. Choose an exercise that is comfortable. One that’s not so light that you don’t feel anything and not so hard that you’re exhausted afterward. There’s a middle ground there. Find yours.
Have a Quick Jam Session
Grab a Snack
If you’re hungry or thirsty, you’re distracted. When you’re hungry, you’re not happy. When you’re dehydrated, your head hurts. You’ll study much better when you’re properly fed and watered.5 Drink enough water that you’re not dehydrated and eat enough food that you won’t be hungry again for a couple of hours. Take care of those uncomfortable hunger pains. Stop the headaches before they start.
Your own study routine may vary from these ideas; after all, everyone is different. Just find a routine you like and practice it. You’ll soon see a more consistent focus as you work.