Clear the Workspace to Increase Focus

Think about the student’s workspace at school or at home. Only what the student is working on at that time should be visible. Anything else distracts. Encourage the student to remove books and papers from other subjects not related to the immediate task. Put materials that are not needed under the desk or on a shelf.

At home, if a student is doing homework at the kitchen table, move everything else to the far side or, if possible, clear the table completely. Reducing clutter reduces stress making the immediate task seem more manageable. It also puts the student in control of the task at hand rather than feeling overwhelmed by too much at once. Some students like to create a personal study carrel by using a three-sided box or by setting up two manila folders to eliminate all visual distractions. When that assignment is finished, encourage the student to put it where it goes immediately whether it in the accordion folder, a three ring binder or the backpack.

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