#DILO (A day in the life of) a master’s student – Philip Redhead

What is the best way to study online? Should you do an online programme? How to better manage time when learning online?

How to deal with the challenges of learning online? Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash.

These are all questions that we at Robert Kennedy College (RKC) get regularly asked by students looking to join one of our online programmes. Undertaking to do an online master’s degree programme will be an additional commitment to your time and finances, and it is wise to get information beforehand.

Through this continuing series of blog posts, some of our past and current students have shared their experiences, thoughts and opinions and given their feedback on handling some of these choices and situations. Hopefully, this will help you to make an informed decision.

“Expect it to be tough but rewarding.”

Philip Redhead

An Introduction

Photo by Vladislav Klapin on Unsplash.

Who are you?

Philip Redhead

Which Uni are you studying with?

York St John University

Which programme did you choose and why?

MBA Leading Innovation and Change. I selected this course to build on my MSc in Educational Leadership and Management in terms of a broader business and strategy angle.

The Study Plan

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash.

How did you plan to study each module, and what was the reality? For example, how many hours did/do you have to put in each day/or in a week?

Each module really does require 200-300 hours. I planned for 2-3 hours per day on most weekdays and extended periods at weekends. I also took leave at crucial times to ensure submission deadlines were met.

What part of the day did/do you find most suitable to study? (e.g. early mornings, lunch break, evenings, weekends?)

Evenings through the week and full days at weekends and on the days I took leave leading up to the draft and final submissions.

How much time did you devote to each assignment?

200-300 hours

Travelling and Communication

Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash.

How did travelling impact your ability to study?

As a consultant, I was travelling regularly, which helped me have alone time in hotels to focus on my studies. I even got quite a lot done on planes.

How were you able to interact with peers and/or professors given the time differences?

This was fine. I was always within 3-4 hours of Zurich and York. Also, being ‘ahead’ gave me an extra feeling of comfort over deadlines!

A typical day as a master’s student

What does a typical day as an Online Masters’ student look like for you?

Depends. On working weekdays maybe 2 hours most evenings. Then planned, long days in cafes.

Any advice?

Any advice you have for students to better plan their studies.

Expect it to be tough but rewarding. Plan time across the 12 weeks of each module when you know, you will be alone and not be disturbed. The better you plan and communicate your plan, the more understanding and supportive your family and employer will be! Select your module dates according to your commitments, and don’t be afraid to change. Resist the temptation to do this quickly and overlap courses if you are also working full time.


I hope this blog has answered some of your questions, and please watch this place for more similar blogs. You can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on all the programmes we offer and the application process.

“Focus on your key objectives in 2022” – Dean’s message for the New Year!

A new year means new resolutions. As we all fasten our seat belts and rush to achieve our newly formulated objectives, Prof. David Costa, Dean, Robert Kennedy College (RKC), advises to the contrary and suggests we take it slow. Dr Costa proposes not to get overwhelmed or distracted with a long list of resolutions but to focus on small and critical objectives to start with.

We have a great support system for our students at Robert Kennedy College. From highly qualified faculty to a world-class professional alumni network, you’ll know you made the right decision to study for your master’s degree with RKC. Join us today.

5 ways of marketing effectively during Christmas

On behalf of the staff and students at Robert Kennedy College, I would like to wish you, our readers, and your families a very Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone! Photo by Mitya Ivanov on Unsplash.

Christmas is a time of happiness, hope, and celebration. A time when families come together and broken friendships are mended. A time of holiday and exchanging gifts. A time for children and Santa Claus. It has always been such and hopefully will always be such.

In short, it is a dream come true for every marketing executive. 

Almost every aspect of Christmas can be made into a marketing campaign. Understanding the emotions associated with Christmas and determining how to best capitalise on these emotions will result in the success or failure of the marketing campaign.  

Whether or not companies choose to take advantage of the “Christmas Spirit”, people will still need to buy gifts, travel to be together with family or go on holiday. And, the choices that customers have today are many, and all compete for the same portion of the pie. So, why not position your company to take advantage of the opportunity Christmas offers.

The following are just five points to consider when planning your Christmas campaign!

1. The holiday emotion

This is the time of year when most people are happy and relaxed. There are lights and decorations everywhere, and everything looks beautiful; it just makes one feel so buoyant. I am sure it will come as no surprise, but happy customers tend to spend more. Companies and brands should take advantage of this and position themselves to be more associated with these emotions of happiness and sharing. Receiving presents makes everyone happy, but Christmas is not just about receiving gifts; it is also about giving gifts. This is a message that must be driven to the customer.

2.   Social Media

Photo by Merakist on Unsplash.

It is that time of the year when everyone is enthusiastically active on social media. From food to pictures of them in holiday attire. From holiday pictures to images of snowmen to umbrella drinks on the beach. Or, even just wishing each other a merry and prosperous time. This time of year is one of the peaks that social media experiences, so make sure your social media strategy is in place to take advantage of this period.

3.   Make it all about the holidays

Build-up anticipation for the Christmas season. Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash.

The good thing about the Christmas and New Year’s holidays is that they come towards the end of the month. So, there is a whole month to build up excitement and anticipation, to make us desire that cherry on top of the cake. This build-up adds to the positive energy of Christmas, encouraging customers to spend more and tempting them with sales and new product launches. If a marketing campaign can build up positive holiday energy around its brand, customers will begin to associate the brand with the season, and when it comes time to spend, that is where the money will go.  

4.   It’s all about the presentation

Everyone likes getting gifts. Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash.

Christmas is a season of giving and receiving. In short, it is a season of gifts; whether it is for someone else or for yourself, it is always lovely to receive a gift. So, present your product like a gift, even change your packaging to make it look more gift-like. If your product can be personalised, encourage your customer to personalise it, let them build an emotional connection with the product.

5.   Set deadlines

All good things must come to an end, and the Christmas season must also end. Similarly, the Christmas marketing campaign must indicate a clear end to the promotion and sale period and build anticipation around it. A customer must get the impression and be convinced that they will miss out on something if they miss this promotion and might have to wait an entire year to get something similar.


Explore several specialised master’s degree programmes in Marketing, Social Media and International Business that Robert Kennedy College offers through exclusive partnerships with top British universities. You could also get in touch with our team of admission advisers on WhatsApp, who can have a look at your profile and give you some advice.

If you have already made up your mind, click here to apply.

#DILO – A day in the life of an RKC Master’s student – Guochang Li

As a former Education advisor, if I had to pick one of the most frequently asked questions by prospective students, it would be “How many hours do I need to study?”  

The vast majority (if not all) of our students are working and leading hectic professional lives. Some are motivated and have already decided to undertake a master’s, while others contemplate the unknowns of an online programme. In my experience, two things affect their decision the most.   

First – finances, and second, being able to strike the perfect work, study, and life balance. While I cannot completely help you with the finances (partially yes – check out the discount offers currently being offered on our online MBA, MSc, and LL.M programmes), I thought what I could do to help was to bring some facts to light about the other unknowns – what does a typical day in the life of an online master’s student look like?  

Today, we’re looking at Guochang Li’s typical study days. Guochang, an RKC & York St. John University graduate, offered us these answers:  

An Introduction  

Vidhi Kapoor (VK): Which programme did you choose and why?  

Guochang Li (GL): Innovation Leadership and Consulting. In my opinion, innovation is the vitality for an enterprise to survive and develop. Individuals with innovation leadership have more substantial competitive advantages in their career development. Innovation requires individuals to keep an open mind, which is beneficial for a good communication between individuals and society.

The Study Plan   

VK : How did you plan to study each module, and what was the reality? How many hours did/do you have to put in each day/or in a week?  

GL: I planned to put 2-3 hours per day into studying the module. But the reality is – that is not enough. Especially for the amount of reading that is required. So I ended up setting about 3-4 hours per day eventually.  

VK: What part of the day did/do you find most suitable to study? (e.g. early mornings, lunch break, evenings, weekends?)  

GL: Early mornings were the most suitable time to study for me.

Guochang allocated approximately 2to 3 hours a day for module study

VK: How much time did you devote for each assignment?  

GL: About 2 weeks for the mid-assignment, and 4 weeks for the final assignment.

Travelling and Communication  

VK: Did you travel for work? How did travelling impact your ability to study?  

GL: Travelling (especially the business travelling) do impact the study. I need to pur more time before or after travelling to catch up on my study plan.

VK: How were you able to interact with peers and/or professors given the time differences?  

GL: The forum and email were the best way for me to interact with professors and peers. I also joined the study group of my classmates in the same time zone. We helped each other and discussed for studies together.

A typical day as a master’s student  

VK: What does a typical day as an Online Masters’ student look like for you?  

GL: I divided my day as follows: Early morning(2 hours): read the recommended material to understand the courses, and make reading notes. Lunch break or afternoon(1 hour): go through the new courses, and make notes. Evening (1 hour): reading. Weekend Morning: Reading, or writing the assignment.

Any advice?  

VK:Any advice you have for students to better plan their studies.  

GL: 1. Reading the recommended material is very important for understanding the courses. In my experience reading at least 1-2 study material of each course comes helpful in the module study and in writing the assignment. 2. Planning module study and assignment writing, and following the plan 3. Keep the deadlines in your mind to complete the plan, and allow yourself 2-3 days to review and revise the assignments. 4. Use reading tools, as Acrobat for reading, Zotero for notes.

 

Guochang used reading tools, as Acrobat for reading, Zotero for note…

All right, so this was a sneak peek of a typical day in Guochang’s life as a master’s student. I hope you find it insightful and informative and that it gives you an idea of what to expect when you enrol for our master’s programmes. Watch this space as we have many more interesting insights coming up! 

Celebrating the Class of 2020 – Proud graduates from York St John University

Last week we celebrated alongside the Class of 2020 as they attended their graduation ceremony. The ceremony was magical and its grandeur as grand as the manganous and iconic York Minster. 

Many stories were shared, and memories created when smiling and proudly beaming graduates of York Business School in exclusive partnership with Robert Kennedy College, walked down the aisle attending their final graduation ceremonies. It is indeed a delightful sight, seeing all the graduates don their hats and gowns and graduate York MBA programme from York Minster.     

Graduation Ceremonies – Class of 2020 – York St John University

On this glorious occasion Reeta Chakrabarti, Chancellor York St John University congratulated the Class of 2020 and applauded their hard work, determination and resilience especially coming out with flying colors during the pandemic. 

Congratulations to all the graduates of Class 2020!!

#DILO (A day in the life of) a master’s student – Anicet

We asked some of our past and current students to share their thoughts and opinions, to give their feedback on how they handled the challenges of online learning. Hopefully, this will help you to make an informed decision.

There is no better way but to learn from those who came before and see if what worked for them will help you become a better student!

An Introduction

Who are you, really?

I am Anicet.

Which Uni are you studying with?

University of Cumbria

Which programme did you choose and why?

Energy & Sustainability. Chose this to acquire skills and knowledge in environment impact assessments and protection.

The Study Plan

How did you plan to study each module, and what was the reality? How many hours did/do you have to put in each day/or in a week?

I took one module at a time. Depending on the volume of reading and assignments, spent on average 2 hours a day

What part of the day did/do you find most suitable to study? (e.g. early mornings, lunch break, evenings, weekends?)  

Early morning and lunch break

How much time did you devote to each assignment?  

Research, book/articles selection and reading, writing and reviewing took a lot of time. I would say on average 40 hours per week.

Photo credit: Canva.com

Travelling and Communication  

How did travelling impact your ability to study?  

Except the time seating on the plane, no major impact as long as I was connected to the Internet

How were you able to interact with peers and/or professors given the time differences?  

It was not a big deal since I spent most of the time in Kinshasa, DR Congo.

A typical day as a master’s student  

What does a typical day as an Online Masters’ student look like for you?  

Wake-up at 5:00 AM. Meditation, Gym and toilets till 6:40 AM. Breakfast at 7AM. Arrive at office at 8:30 AM. Stay at work till 6:00PM. Arrive at home at 6:25 PM. Diner at 8:00 PM and bed at 10:00PM

Photo credit: Canva.com

Any advice?  

Any advice you have for students to better plan their studies.  

Prepare and start reading materials/books ahead of time. Do not wait until last minute to work on your assignment. Avoid overloading oneself with many modules at a time.


I hope this blog has answered some of your questions, and please watch this place for similar blogs. So, if you have been thinking about doing a master’s degree and now understand how to study better for an online programme, look at our programmes and see if anything interests you.

You can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on all the programmes we offer, the application process, and answers to any questions you may have.

Mature Students – 2 of the biggest challenges of getting back to school

I recently celebrated a birthday, and, in my melancholy, I got a little philosophical and started to think about growing old, achieving, or failing to achieve milestones, etc. You get the picture. Then I started thinking about our students, and I can honestly say they inspired me to write this blog. A majority of our students are mature students, and they choose to challenge themselves by doing a master’s degree.

A master’s degree is a challenge by itself, and added to this are the additional challenges that most mature students face, and I just have one world for our students – RESPECT!

RKC Graduation 2018 @YorkStJohn

I want to start this blog with the preface that I know there are a lot of challenges mature students face when they get back to studying. And I am not saying that any of the other challenges mature students face are not worthy of being considered a “big” challenge; one person’s Everest might be another person’s molehill, by which I mean for each of the challenges we face are the biggest and the only ones that matter.

This blog is about the two most significant, most common challenges faced by mature students, in my opinion, based on what I have seen, heard, and researched. They are –

  1. Job
  2. Family

I consider two other challenges equally important; I find that they are deeply integrated into the above two “big” challenges, so I am putting them in a subcategory. They are – time and finances.

Job

Photo by Razvan Chisu on Unsplash

There are several reasons what one might decide to a master’s degree late in life.  One of the worries most people would naturally have when they choose to get back to studies after a break is how they will manage work and study at the same time? The fact of the matter is it is not going to be easy! Most of us are set in our ways and have a routine that we are used to, and as human beings, we do not like change.

But you decided to do a master’s degree for a reason. Either you are not happy with the job that you are doing and want to change to a career that gives you fulfilment, or you are among the lucky few that have found a career that gives you job satisfaction and are looking for a leg up either in terms of academic knowledge or padding your resume to provide you with an edge in your next appraisal cycle.

So, keep this in mind the next time you feel down and stressed. Yes, it will be hard, and you will have to make changes to your schedule to work in a daily study time. You will have the challenges of completing assignments on time and doing research. But you will learn from everything you do, and things will improve.

Family

Family time. Photo by Natalya Zaritskaya on Unsplash

Family is another aspect of your life that will be impacted by your decision of going back to school. And for those of you who are single, with minimum family responsibilities, family for you here means your social life (friends). You will have to make sacrifices; you are working towards earning your master’s degree! Keep in mind, a little hardship and sacrifice can result in great rewards in the future.

Work with your family, explain why you have decided to get back to studying and how you plan to change your schedule. Don’t sugarcoat it, tell them it will be hard, and your time will not be your own, but it will be only for a short time and will be worth it in the long run. It might surprise you how supportive your family can be, and you will require their strength and support when you get stressed.

The other challenges

Finance

Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

Time to tighten your belt and cut down on frivolous expenses. Doing a master’s degree can be an expensive prospect, especially if it is from an accredited, globally recognised university. Noting is free, and anything worth getting will cost. You get what you paid for! Budgeting for the additional expense of a master’s degree will have an impact on your lifestyle and family. It also brings into focus the importance of having and keeping your job. But if you plan and start budgeting early, it can be done comfortably. 

Check with the college about the payment terms. You might find the down payment to start the programme reasonable with multiple easy monthly instalment plans options. Check and see what works best within your budget. And don’t forget, a little hardship now can lead to greater rewards in the future.

Time

Time management is the key. Photo by Kevin Ku on Unsplash

Time is the one thing that waits for no one. There are multiple challenges when it comes to managing time. Can time be managed? First, you must decide if this is the right time to go back to school. Can you wait any further? Are you losing out if you delay? How are you going to manage your work, family, and study at the same time?

The answer is to plan and schedule everything. People who use a calendar know how useful it can be to increase efficiency. The organiser/calendar is a tool that can be far more useful than to remind you of your next meeting. Create a calendar that contains every minutia of your daily activities for the week/month/quarter (however long you can go), from household chores to study/work deadlines. Then populate the calendar with your family’s schedule; this will give you a good idea of your schedule, inform you when to expect distractions from your family, and help you plan for it.

Time management is the key! IT. CAN. BE. DONE.


Now, if you don’t want to delay anymore and are ready to start a master’s degree programme, chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors today.

The Subtle Art of Saying No

Ever wondered why we tend to say “yes” to people when we really don’t want to? Blame it on human psychology or human beings being social animals. We find it extremely difficult to say no to anyone.  

We adore attention and feel gratified when others admire us, trust and look up to us. But when this takes the form of constant requests and more work for yourself, you detest being the go-to person. People want to say yes because they are afraid, afraid to disappoint others. We feel personally responsible for letting others down if we decline their proposition or their request for help. During these troubled times, with businesses being in jeopardy, everyone is overwhelmed, constantly working, and juggling work and relationships. Everyone is over-extended, and it is not the best soil to grow ideas or make sound business decisions.  

Are you saying a “good yes” or a “bad yes”?

What begins as an intent to help becomes a bad “yes” – simply because you do not have the productive capacity or knowledge to complete the task. Such a “yes” is bound for failure. When there is so much asking around in an organisation and collaborative overload, one should focus on moving to good yesses and good nos to avoid failures.  

How to say No?  

You have decided that you are going to turn down someone’s request to undertake a task. Now comes the even more difficult part: actually saying “no”! How do you effectively communicate your decision?  

Begin with a positive statement by appreciating the opportunity extended your way, that you were considered worthy enough to do justice to the job. But present your “but” in a way that shows you have carefully considered the proposition and convey the “why” of your decision. Let them realise that you did not decide to say no lightly, that the “no” was not because you are lazy, un-zealous to learn, or simply being difficult.  

Saying no can be an onerous process but trust me, it will prove to be more productive for yourself and the business. Base your decision on this checklist:  

1.    Do not let fear decide  

If you fear that saying “no” will stress your work relationship, remember that saying “yes” when you cannot deliver the results will stress you and the relationship even more. If the working relationship turns sour just because you said “no”, then it was never meant to be. Let it go.  

A decision taken under duress leads to stress on oneself and on work relationships

2.    Evaluate the proposition  

I know from personal experience when we are new to an organisation or a job, we are eager to learn because knowledge is power. Gain that power but keeping in view the quality you are gaining. Ask yourself what ‘value addition’ can you get from this task. Ask questions such as why, when, and what is needed for the task. Doing due diligence on someone’s request is respecting them and yourself.  

3.   Remember what you want to be known for  

What may seem like an opportunity to learn for you could become an opportunity for others to learn a thing or two about you. When you say “no”, back it up with legitimate and fair reasons, tell them why the proposition is not worth your time or effort or simply that you do not have that kind of time to invest in this project. You already have enough on your plate. When the other person: your boss, your client, your colleague, hears your side of the story, they will understand your situation, and you will become known for your work ethics and values. You will be known for authenticity and for being a good decision-maker. Everyone will respect your decision when you say “no” the next time because they will know there is a genuine reason behind it, and it’s just not a lack of interest or laziness involved. They will even bring better propositions to you that you will find difficult to turn down. They will try to please you and not the other way round.  

When you say “yes” to someone’s request, you commit to executing and delivering results.

4.    Deliver results  

The only consideration that should drive your professional decisions should be results. When you say “yes” to someone’s request, you commit to executing and delivering results. You do not want to be in a position where you realise later that either you cannot, are not allowed to, or should not do so. Do not bite more than you can chew. Do not be hard on yourself thinking that you are being difficult. Convey that you are making a good business decision.  

5.    Provide options  

While it is not easy to say “no” to someone who had high hopes on your saying “yes” and was relying on you for completing the task, remember that people come to you because you are a problem-solver and are resourceful. If you cannot do the job yourself, give them other options on how to complete the job or provide solutions to resolve the issue. It will save your time and help build trust with team members that learnt something valuable when they approached you.   

You can also choose to defer the project instead of completely shutting it down. Offer them a plan where you can join the team at a later stage and be more valuable once the project’s gone past its conception stage.   

6.    Don’t be afraid to say the ‘C’ word  

The majority of the time, bosses try to use influence to get things done. Little do they realise that when they use power, they lose influence.  

Photo credit: Canva.com

Every employer has a budget, and the more he can get done without expending his budget, the better (the lesser the merrier, in this case). This is one of the most frustrating and de-motivating situations when you are asked to deliver more results and but are not “C”ompensated for that extra work. You might say “yes” to the extra load now and then, just to be nice or on the pretext of learning something new, or simply because the boss asked you to do so, but this will eventually burn you out. Be firm to tell the work is simply beyond your pay scale and justifies an extra dollar or two.  

It is a misconception that you must be a “Yes Man” or a “Yes Woman” to be successful and boost your career. Remember Jim Carrey’s movie – Yes Man? The film is a classic story where the protagonist is encouraged and made to promise to answer “Yes!” to every opportunity, request, or invitation that presents itself. After a series of interesting events in his life, he realises that the covenant was merely a starting point to open his mind to other possibilities, not to permanently take away his ability to say no if he needed to.  

So, are you the go-to person at your workplace? Do you always end up saying yes? How do you strategically say no? 

The new age leader – a coach and a mentor

We live in a world of flux – a world where change is the only thing constant.  

I remember when I was a kid, my father would tell me about his job and the management style at his office. He worked in a semi-government organization where hierarchy and command-and-control leadership dominated. A more technically qualified and experienced leader would lead a team or a department and evaluate each team members’ performance against a pre-set benchmark. Little or no importance was laid on developing the skill-sets of employees or encouraging innovation.  

Fast forward 20 years, the leadership styles shifted dramatically. The existing (ancient, in my opinion…) management styles were not sustainable and organizations begged for a radical transformation; transformations that would inculcate new energy, ideas, motivation, commitment, and innovation. 

Leaders are expected to step up and assume the role of a coach and a mentor

Types of coaching styles 

Coaches come from a variety of backgrounds. Having a consultant coach from outside the organization could be helpful for developing specific skills or as a one-off motivational camp. A modern learning organization would invest in a coaching style appropriate to the needs of the company. Keeping in view the long-term goals, the leaders within the company are expected to step up and fulfil the need of the hour – the need to assume the role of a coach and a mentor.  

The leader may adopt one of the many leadership styles, with some of the most popular being: 

  1. Democratic: This style as the name suggests, encourages the general principles of democracy and takes into consideration the opinions, ideas, and interests of the people involved.  
  1. Laissez-Faire: This style is the minimum leadership style when the team members operate at their maximum efficiency and vigor and do not require any supervision or direction.  This is generally seen as inefficient, and depends largely on the ability of the teams to self-manage and self-regulate. Not recommended.
  1. Directive: Quite contrary to the Laissez-Faire coaching style, directive leadership requires the leader to ‘tell’ people what is expected of them, assign necessary resources for successful completion of their job, and convey the expected results as well.  
  1. Holistic: No organization today operates in isolation. Businesses are global and companies all over the world are taking wholesome decisions for the greater good. This leadership style recognizes the connection between leader, follower, and organisation, and focuses on a people-in-environment and developmental approach. 

Mentor or a Coach 

People usually use the term coaching and mentorship interchangeably. This is not correct. Mentoring is offering advice based on knowledge, expertise, and experience. Coaching, on the other hand, is inquiry-based. A little push with insightful questioning can spark a person to see themselves and the world differently and solve their own challenges. 

Mentoring is more formal and structured, where a mentor helps his mentee gain a broader and deeper perspective and understanding of the business (and life). A mentor, based on his own experiences, guides and channels mentees by illuminating the right path for them. It is, therefore, more directive in nature and could be related to a directive leadership style. Mentors offer exposure and connections to other functions and levels of the organization.

A coach supports, challenges, and encourages. A coach approach for leaders, on the other hand, uses very different techniques for developing people. The role involves asking and listening rather than knowing and telling. The coach empowers the employees, by making them fully capable of finding their own answers to their problems. Employees have more self-awareness and experience an increased performance.  

Now, this is easier said than done. While leaders may recognize the need to embrace the idea of coaching and mentoring their employees and subordinates, the flair does not come naturally to every leader. However, using right set of tools and resources, anyone can become a seasoned coach. 

Using right set of tools and resources, anyone can become a seasoned coach. 

Our MBA in Coaching, Mentoring, & Leadership programme creates opportunities for you to develop through practice a range of coaching and mentoring skills and techniques and enables the development of a critical understanding of issues related to the design and implementation of coaching and mentoring schemes. The programme is delivered in such a way that you are encouraged to utilise your professional and work-based context as a resource in which to practice and develop your skills in coaching and mentoring. Feel like you could benefit from this? You are not alone! Apply now to join our more than 150 students currently taking the programme!

Unable to focus when studying? Here are 3 tips that may help you focus!

With age comes wisdom. By and large, the saying holds true, with a few exceptions – I am sure many of us know someone in our lives who hasn’t learnt from their mistakes. But this blog is not about introspection, or learning from one’s mistakes, or even about changing the past. It is about learning to focus when studying.

However, when I thought about writing this blog, it got me thinking about my childhood and the student I was; it got me introspecting. I remember sitting in my study and trying to focus on my textbook, and I remember all I needed was the slightest distraction to get completely distracted. Even when I read, I was just going through the motions and not really focusing or even trying to understand what I was trying to study.

It got so bad that even my parents realised I wasn’t focusing on what I was studying, and I remember the day before some exams, my mother would come to the study and offer to read the textbook for me. I don’t think I have ever thanked my parents for all the support they have given me, so thank you, mom and dad, for all you have done for me.

There goes my focus! Let’s get back on topic, shall we?

FOCUS! Photo by Stefan Cosma on Unsplash

What is focus?

In the simplest terms, focus is the ability to do a task without getting distracted.

Focus (or attention span), like most other human habits, can be trained and developed. The easiest things to develop are bad habits as it is usually fast and easy. But focus/concentration/attention span – whatever you want to call it, will take hard work and dedication.

“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.”

Bruce Lee

Our mind is, after all, a muscle, and so is trainable. The following are 3 simple tips that should get you started on the path of training your focus.

1. Take responsibility

Don’t wait for a sign from heaven to take responsibility for your life! Photo by Austin Chan on Unsplash

Human beings like to deflect responsibility. If we take on the responsibility of a particular task, like, let’s say, studying a particular subject at a specific time, then the responsibility of completing the said task is in our hands. There may have been several reasons that distracted you and prevented you from completing the task… wrong! You allowed yourself to be distracted, and you failed to complete the task. So, stop making excuses and get back in the driver’s seat of your life!

A good way to understand what I am trying to say here is by imagining yourself on a long road trip, and you find yourself in the backseat of the car. For most of us, it is just a matter of time before we fall asleep. Now, keeping all conditions the same, only you find yourself in the driver’s seat, you will find yourself more focused, alert, and determined to drive the car to the best of your ability.

So, take responsibility, get on the driver’s seat, and you will find yourself able to focus a lot better.

2. Practice

Attention is a muscle, and like every other muscle, it needs to be trained and worked out to develop. Malcolm Gladwell, the author of Outliers, wrote that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in anything. He said 10,000 hours of “deliberate practice” are needed to become world-class in any field.

We have many distractions around us that prevent us from focusing on the task at hand, and more often than not, we give in to those distractions. We do it so often that in the end, we become experts in ‘getting distracted’.

So, how do you go about training attention?

Let’s start with a simple exercise. Let’s start with a 10-minute exercise. Go to your study, just with a notebook and a sheet of paper to note down all your distractions. Leave all distractions (mobile phones, storybooks, food, etc.) outside. To start with, choose your favourite subject and take study material only for that subject and only what you will be able to cover in 10-minutes.

Time yourself. 10-minutes, that all it takes. Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

Start reading the study material actively, making notes and asking questions to better understand the subject. In the middle of this active study session, if anything distracting pops into your mind, make a note of it immediately in the distraction sheet, and return to your studies immediately. And once the 10-minutes is done, stop. Close your study material and leave the study.

Gradually try increasing the number of these 10-minute slots, rather than increasing the duration of study. If you find yourself unable to focus during these slots and cannot refocus, stop the session early and walk away. 

You will find you can cover as much in 10 minutes of focused effort as what you would usually have covered in an hour previously.

3. Health and rewards

We have covered most of this in detail in our earlier blogs, and I will link them here – eat healthily and exercise your body. To keep motivated, reward yourself, even in small ways. On completing tasks, realise that you have, and acknowledge this fact! Stand up and dance like nobody’s watching!


I hope these tips will help in getting you started on focusing on your tasks better. We would love to hear from you about what helped you with improving your focus.

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