How to stay focused when writing my research paper
Research papers are crucial academic work. They can take researchers to the next level of their academic careers. It can also play a major role in adding value to the academic world.
However, a good research paper is not easy to do. It requires hard work, long hours of literature review, a lot of persistence, and the guts to never give up.
The question is how do you stay committed and focus on the writing process? Maintaining our focus can be a very challenging task for everyone who published their research papers in a scientific journal.
Focus is a very precious resource in a very distracted world. Especially since there are so many things that are pulling us in different directions like social media, emails to answers, videos to watch, and many others. But as a researcher/scientist we are serious and are not letting the other lighter stuff get us on the way. We are determined that we can get this done.
To have good concentration, we need to have two important aspects of cognitive function: first is sustained attention which is our ability to focus on certain information for prolonged periods of time. The second is executive function: our ability to think and make decisions at a complex level.
Hence, it is best to understand the key factors that will help us stay on track with the writing and getting things done.
7 keys to staying focused
1. Recognize the presence of distraction.
Once we recognized their presence like simple random errands, social media notification, interruptions from colleagues and family members, and many others that get our attention ours from the research writing. Once we know all these, we can devise a plan on how to deal with the distractions like interruptions from colleagues and family members. It is best to get a place where no one can disturb you when you are in writing mode. Keep all notifications OFF. Each distraction can have its own solutions.
2. No multi-tasking
Multi-tasking will not get us anywhere. It makes us feel like we finish a lot of tasks but actually, we are not getting somewhere with the writing stuff. So just engage in one task at a time. Even the writing task, one revision after one revision.
One thing that I noticed is that whenever I am seated to write, my brain always is trying to get me up and go somewhere to get something or do something. Having a piece of paper on the side to write the task that you want to get done, will ease your brain and go back on focusing on the research writing.
The food that we put in our mouth will be the source of nutrients for our body to function effectively. If we are putting junk inside our body then be prepared to function like junk. But stay on the right lane of healthy and if possible organic foods then that will give us the energy and focus boost the brain needs to function at its optimum. It is always recommended to stay on whole foods like fresh fruits and vegetables.
4. Drink at least 8 glasses of water.
Our bodies are made up of 70% water. Hence, hydration is very important. Protecting your joints, maintaining organ function, transporting oxygen to cells, and sustaining body temperature are just a few of the things. Making hydration is a big factor to stay energized and focused.
Research revealed that physical activity either short or long can have a positive effect on our ability to stay focused. A higher level of fitness demonstrates superior concentration. Physical activity immediately boosts the brain dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels all of which affect focus and attention.
It was found that as little as 2 minutes can temporarily boost memory. Longer periods of exercise can improve cognitive function for up to 2 hours. Moderate and high-intensity exercise can improve memory, problem-solving, and concentration.
I hope I can just stay awake to keep crushing my writing goal until it's done. But it is true the other way around. Sleep is necessary and is needed by the body to optimize performance. Getting adequate sleep every night can help you stay focused and attentive throughout the day and help retain information. Try having a consistent sleep schedule each night. Studies show that getting a full night's sleep helps the brain retain and recall more.
7. Set a writing goal.
Having daily, weekly and monthly writing goals can make a tremendous accomplishment one day stack on the next. It also helps me to do the thing first before engaging in other tasks. I make sure that I address the daily writing goal before I start doing the others next. This is coupled with the schedule of the day.
I found out that meditating is very helpful. Focusing my attention on my breath over and over again helps me do the same thing to other tasks in my life until it is completed. Just like the writing, when distractions creep their way towards me, I set a little time to focus on the breath, over and over. Then goes back to my writing, by doing that I felt a renewed commitment to the task I am committing myself to.
I hope the above items will help or are helping you to get through the research paper and help change the world to be a better place.