Easy Daily Habits to Build Better Focus for Students

5 min to read
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Is your student struggling with their attention span or having difficulty staying on task during their lessons or while doing homework? If so, then they may need some help in learning how to focus.

Obtaining and maintaining focus on activities and tasks can be difficult, particularly with numerous distractions all around us. Yet, being able to focus is a critical skill for students to develop in order to grow into motivated adults with good time management skills. So, how can Learning Coaches help their students learn how to focus? Here are some focus activities for students and some easy ways students can apply focused attention practices every day.

What is Focused Attention?

Focused attention is “a state of relaxed alertness” that enables a person to focus efficiently and effectively.

When the body is in a state of stress, a person may have difficulty concentrating on, and completing, a task or activity. Some stress is normal and can be beneficial and motivating, but too much stress can be distracting and can stop a person from achieving focused attention. It can often lead to students coping with their emotions by scrolling through social media or procrastinating in order to avoid these stressors altogether.

So, the question becomes, how do you get your body away from a negative state to instead reach a place of focused attention?

Focused attention practices involve self-regulation exercises to get your brain rewired to expand your focus and enter that state of relaxed alertness.

Why is Focused Attention Important?

When students achieve focused attention, they are better able to think critically, problem solve, and engage with and remember material. Essentially, by using focused attention practices, students can help clear any mental fog or impulse to procrastinate that they may feel and prepare their mind to focus on the task at hand. As they grow up, being able to engage in focused attention practices will help them to become adults who can self-regulate their emotions and meet their responsibilities.

Focus Activities for Students

Focused attention practices promote relaxation and energy through physical and mental exercises that can be easily integrated into a student’s everyday routine.  When they start to feel their attention drifting, try these focus activities for students to ease stress or get them re-energized to learn.


Stretching is great for releasing physical tightness and increasing the brain’s oxygen levels. In turn, this can help energize your student and improve their mood if they are feeling burned out or having a hard time getting started on a task. Take a moment to stretch between lessons—or even at their desk—to get their blood flowing and give them a moment to mentally reset. 

Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro technique encourages students to set goals, to avoid procrastinating, and to focus on one task at a time by alternating between work and breaks, which energize the student to keep going and gives the student something to look forward to. 

While the length of time and the number of breaks can vary, commonly the Pomodoro technique asks the student to set a timer for 25 minutes and work on their task—and only their task--for that time. When the time ends, they take a five-minute break to do whatever they want. Once the break is over, they set the timer again for another 25 minutes and get back to work before they can take another short break. 

Only working for limited periods of time helps the tasks seem less daunting for the student and helps build their sense of delayed gratification for their reward (which in this case is their break time). 


Gamification is the practice of using the same elements that are found in game, like points and achievements, into other activities like completing chores or finishing schoolwork. By gamifying their day-to-day tasks, Learning Coaches can help incentivize students to focus on their work because there is now an external reward system in place that can be more motivating. 

Gamifying schoolwork is highly customizable, and allowing the student to set their own goals and rewards could help the student feel more motivated to “win” the game through productivity. Whether your student makes a game out of how long they can go without checking their phone or tries to maintain a streak of completing their homework before going to play, gamification can help those particularly competitive students stay on task.

Put Away Distractions

Students may lack focus because they’re being distracted by electronics, such as smartphones or tablets. Technology can be beneficial for learning but digital boundaries are a must to keep students focused on their work and to create a calming environment that is conducive to learning.

If your student is getting distracted by their phone during class, encourage them to put their phone out of their line of sight, particularly if it is in a drawer or in another room. Rather than forbid them from using their device, try making it inconvenient to use and something they need to access with intention rather than reaching for it out of habit. 

Over time, students will be more likely to break the habit of multitasking during class time or procrastinating by endlessly scrolling and instead use their screentime more productively. 

Discuss the Problem

If your student lacks motivation, procrastinates, or has difficulty focusing, then there may be a root cause that needs to be addressed.  They may be experiencing reduced motivation because they don’t understand a task’s value, the material may feel boring to them, or they may be getting paralysis by analysis.

Talk with your student to understand where they are coming from and how you can help them. 

By helping them identify their feelings at a young age, Learning Coaches can encourage their student to self-reflect when facing a roadblock rather than falling into frustration or other overwhelming emotions. 

Some students may need additional help in developing focusing strategies that work for them. However, these focused attention practices are great starting points to help your student learn how to obtain and maintain focus in school and throughout their life.

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