The one-step solution to prolonged concentration?

Hi there,

To begin, I’m not going to lie, it’s been a long time since the Origin* updated and I apologise on the behalf of the team . Rest assured, we’ll be a lot more active in time to come.

Speaking about time, a lot has happened since the blog’s last post in August – PROMOS, PW, a couple more DDDs etc. Thankfully, that intense period of endless mental “workouts” has long ended and naturally, I’ve had quite a bit of time on my hand to stare into space, revisit a couple of hobbies (like pretending to be an Atas foreign tourist in Chinatown haha), but most importantly, thinking over my actions during that stressful time. How did I manage to pull through? What kept me going? I thought I would use this post to reflect on the past few months by sharing one interesting lesson I’ve learnt.

I think I might have discovered the key to prolonged concentration. Have you ever found yourself telling yourself the following? “Okay, I’m going to be really diligent today and study Biology from 8-12 and Chemistry from 2-6. I’ll reward myself with playing all I want in the night.”. But how often do you follow through the plan? Personally, I find myself pausing 2 hours into the schedule, getting restless and annoyed with my diminishing ability to memorise my DNA notes. *PAUSE* I can hear you sighing already – You seem to know the solution. Chunking your study time into shorter blocks and taking study breaks right? WRONG. I repeat again. WRONG.

I’ll tell you what the solution is. (Disclaimer: This is my opinion. You might or might not agree.) It’s not how well you structure your study time into blocks. It’s what you do during the breaks. 

You see, there are two kinds of study breaks – Those that are non-restful and those that leave you feeling recharged and craving to go back to studying. So what are some examples of non-restful breaks? They include browsing social media, reading that hotly anticipated thriller and watching a movie. What do these activities have in common? They don’t give your eyes a chance to rest after you’ve been starring at your study notes, they leave you feeling more tired than before because your brain continues to process information during these activities and finally, your blood doesen’t get to circulate, depriving your organs of oxygen – A key substance for optimal brain concentration. Now onto examples of restful breaks. They include breathing in pure oxygen from oxygen tanks for maximum concentration. Just joking! Don’t do that. Restful breaks include doing light exercise like sit-ups, planks, jumping jacks which are mindless activities that get your blood flowing, baking a delicious post-dinner treat for yourself, reading the newspaper, eating healthy food like banana and peanut butter sandwiches (my favourite snack!), playing an instrument etc. Notice, all these activities require less mental processing and instead, more physical action – a direct contrast to the sedentary nature of studying.

Next time you give yourself a study break, you know what to do! 🙂

Moving on, its 2 more weeks left to school (It’s okay there’s still time to pull up our socks and get homework done). How are you going to spend these last two weeks? Studying? Playing? Honestly, I don’t have a definite answer but I’ve heard from seniors that this holiday is going to be the last one where one can truly enjoy themselves without the emotional baggage of A levels. So get your homework done by this weekend and head off somewhere – Do some volunteering, or even head off to USS and enjoy screaming your head off on roller coasters (But don’t lose your voice, Eunite is coming up!)

Have a blessed Christmas!

Regards

The Origin* Team

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