Afternoon Inqueery

AI: Focus

I’m having a harder time focusing on schoolwork this semester than I have in the past, and the result is partly that I’m doing fairly badly in my Geology class (at least compared to my usual quality of work). I missed an assignment, and I’m just generally not doing my best work there. I don’t like the teacher, and the material is complicated, but mostly the problem is lack of focus.

When you need to focus on a task or process, but struggle with it, what do you do to regain focus and become more successful? Do you have any advice for when someone needs to refocus on something important?

The Afternoon Inqueery (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Queereka community. Look for it every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday at 3pm ET.

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Benny Vimes

Benny Vimes

Benny Vimes is a queer polyamorous transman, curious skeptic, and enthusiastic seeker of knowledge. He's an undergraduate student in his 30's and loves teaching people about alternative sexuality and gender issues.


  1. March 5, 2013 at 10:29 pm —

    From my understanding of the way the brain works, focusing takes willpower, which takes glucose. It can be replenished quite well through sleep (so the early morning is the best time to focus on important things), but also through eating food that contains glucose (like most fruits). And even if this doesn’t really help, there’s always the good old placebo effect from trying something, anything.

  2. March 6, 2013 at 5:12 am —
    This short article got me interested in controlling attention, which led me to try mindfulness meditation. That does seem to help with me.

  3. March 6, 2013 at 6:47 pm —

    If the inability to focus is because of apathy, I’ve found it helps to re-contextualize whatever it is that I need to give effort to. Figuring out why the topic of study could be useful for something else that I AM interested in, maybe, or taking a longer view about the classes importance to my broader educational goals.

    • March 7, 2013 at 12:40 am —

      Oh that I totally have down. I know EXACTLY why this class is part of my career path. I actually like the material. I think part of the problem is that I like the subject a lot, but the teacher is pretty bad and the assignments are worse. You’re right that I should focus on why I am doing this though – it’s for a good reason and I need to keep that in mind.

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