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Library Tips

How to Stay Focused

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Ideas on How to Stay Focused from Library Faculty and Staff

Angela Vega

Angela Vega
​Knowledge Consultant 


I like eating healthy snacks when I'm doing homework in order to stay focused. I usually have some ice-cold water and some type of fruit sitting next to me while I'm studying and getting work done. I find that the key to staying focused is to keep that brain energized. Never study on an empty stomach!

Ariana Afzali

Ariana Afzali
Assistant to the Director


I set up a clear and comfortable work space with lots of snacks on hand.

Brinna Pam Anan

Brinna Pam Anan
Metadata Management Librarian
I create a routine/schedule that includes breaks and stick to it. I also create To Do lists and set goals for the day and week, dress up like I'm going to work, and work in a dedicated work space. Listening to music also helps.

Elizabeth Hernandez

Elizabeth Hernandez
Reference & Instruction Librarian

I make a to-do list every morning of tasks I need to complete by the end of the day, including breaks! Every time I complete a task, I make sure to cross it off my to-do list. If I ever get off track, all I have to do is look at my list to remind myself of what I need to do. At the end of the day I feel really accomplished when I get all or most of the items on my list done. If I don’t get something done, I add it to the next day and make sure to get it done! When I take breaks, I like to stretch and do something active. It helps reset my brain and works better for me than being on my phone during a break.

Haley Rubia

Haley Rubia
Knowledge Consultant 


When I'm doing homework, I listen to epic music or EDM that I've found on YouTube. It helps get me pumped up and ready to finish my work.

Isela Vega

Isela Vega
Document Delivery Coordinator


I feel when you say something repetitive, it helps you focus. For example, I pray the Rosary when my mind starts to wander.

Jennifer Bidwell

Jennifer Bidwell
​Communication, Economics, and
Urban & Regional Planning Librarian


To stay focused, I keep a log of all the tasks I have accomplished throughout the day.


Julie Shen

Julie Shen
Business & Computer Science Librarian


I use the Pomodoro method. I set a timer for 20 minutes and work on only one thing during that time.

Marilu Salcedo

Marilu Salcedo
Reference & Instruction Assistant and
Thesis/Project Formatting Reviewer


I force myself to sit in front of my computer. I open YouTube and listen to instrumental soaking worship music, and from there I start working on my projects. I focus better at night when everything is quiet.

Nicole Barcarse

Nicole Barcarse
​Knowledge Consultant 


I stay focused by mapping out all my assignments/exams and prioritizing them by due date. I also switch between classes when studying so I can absorb a variety of material rather than burning out in one subject! Group study sessions with friends and classmates on Zoom motivates me to finish my work.

Paul Hottinger

Paul Hottinger
​Engineering Librarian


I have a tendency to try and do too much at the same time. I have many projects I need to complete, and think about them at once. So, to help keep me focused, I block out specific times in my calendar to do specific tasks. This forces me to concentrate on one objective at a time, set goals for that time, and plan out my work week. This helps me stay focused and on task.

Sally Romero

Sally Romero
Librarian for Apparel, Education, Architecture, and
Landscape Architecture

I love planners! Confession: I buy more planners than I need, just because they are so cute. I also love to write things down as do-to lists. There’s nothing more satisfying than crossing out something that you’ve accomplished. I like to create two separate lists. I have a "day" do-to list as well as one that I look at with important future events. My biggest goal is to start off my to-do list with a few items and if during the day I have more time, I’ll add more things. I never add too many items because I don’t want to feel defeated if I don’t get to them.

Shonn Haren

Shonn Haren
Social Sciences Librarian


Make a list and have it right in front of me. This is the list of stuff I need to get done that day. It needs to be what is necessary, and it needs to be realistic, (I’m probably not pumping out 10 lectures in a single day for example) but having a checklist of tasks for the day, and having it in a visible place where I can consult it throughout the day and show progress helps.

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