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Top 5 Mistakes 1Ls Make (and How to Avoid Them) - Part 3

1l law school Sep 30, 2016

Mistake #3: Getting distracted too early

Technology has most of us moving from pillar to post, from our books or our work or whatever it is we should be focused on, to our phones, our computers, or our tablets. Too often we see students (and we can be guilty of this ourselves) sit down for a planned study session, and as soon as they hit a tough concept, or one that isn't so particularly exciting, their focus wanes and they turn to their device of choice or to some other distraction. This could be as quick as five minutes even. Constantly switching from task to diversion not only hinders your ability to learn (think multitasking), but it also robs you of "getting stronger" at focusing.

"Constantly switching from task to diversion not only hinders your ability to learn (think multitasking), but it also robs you of 'getting stronger' at focusing."

The fix: Put the phone away. If you need your computer to study, turn off the Wi-Fi, or otherwise close any applications that might tempt you. It seems childish, but you have to be tough on yourself and make a disciplined effort to get your study time in. If you set aside an hour, say, to study Contracts, go ahead and assume that at some point in that window your focus will begin to fade and you will automatically default to wanting to do something else right away. Don't. Sure, take a deep breath, get a drink of water, stretch for a minute, but try to push yourself a little harder. Make a concentrated effort to push through the lack of focus. Your attention span and focus is like a muscle. You can strengthen it, but you have to take it up to its limit sometimes and then go just a little bit more. Eventually you will build up your endurance to withstand grueling sessions, like thee-hour testing blocks on most state bar examinations.

Stay tuned for Parts 4 and 5.

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