Look at that perfectly put-together girl in the library. She got here early enough to snag a great spot, she’s got her books stacked and organized around her, she looks like she just came from an afternoon at the spa/salon, and she hasn’t looked up once in the last 3 hours. She’s drinking water and munching on nuts, and looks like she hasn’t scored less than a 97 percent on a test in her life, despite clearly being one of the busiest people on the planet, according to her jam-packed planner. And then, there are the rest of us who can barely get through a 30-minute study session at the library. If you’re having trouble focusing, we might know why.

Internet Distractions

It’s true: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube all have a hold on us. While it might be a healthier boredom cure than reaching for a cookie, checking your favorite websites mid-study session can have a pretty detrimental effect on your homework. Download a blocker for your browser, such as StayFocused to help keep you on track. You can allot a certain length of time, during certain hours of the day, to be on certain sites, or you can block them altogether. This way you can still check your Facebook, but just for a second or two, rather than succumbing to the black hole of the Internet every time you see your news feed.

Stress

College life is stressful, there’s no denying that. It might be one of the best times of your life, but it’s also full of trials and tribulations. One of the main reasons students can’t focus is due to stress. You could be subconsciously anxious or stressed about classes, work, registration, your thesis, your roommate, your roommate’s boyfriend, that thing you did at that party, boys, girls, friends, family, or all of the above. If you’re trying to take 6 classes, keep a long-distance relationship, maintain good friendships, and work full time, you’re going to be stressed. And the only way to focus is to organize your days and look for the light at the end of the tunnel.

Coffee

Millions of us believe that coffee is a great solution for the morning, and a lovely digestive tool for the evening. We also claim that it doesn’t affect our sleep. Unfortunately, drinking coffee in the afternoon or evening can still keep you awake at night, or cause restless tossing and turning. This requires even more coffee the next day, and an endless cycle dominates. If you want better focus, limit your caffeine intake after noon. You’ll sleep better and wake up with a clearer mind for your daily tasks.

Depression

There are times when depression is incredibly hard to notice, because it’s not always about sadness; sometimes it’s about apathy, numbness, or even an excess of all emotions. While severe and clinical depressions are both dangerous and common, mild depression can come from anywhere. If you’re feeling down in the dumps, you’ll never get that paper done. Maybe you miss your high school friends, you’re doing poorly in class, your boyfriend broke up with you, or you simply just haven’t found your niche this semester. Don’t ignore it; try to battle it with sunlight, adequate rest, or even by spending time with happy kids or bubbly personalities. Wallowing can be helpful in moderation, but the best cure is to turn on your go-getter attitude. The more you do, the more you can do.

ADD / ADHD

They say that this is one of the most over diagnosed disorders, but sufferers might say it’s just outrageously prevalent right now. Either way, most of us have some sort of attention deficiency, especially in college. Some turn to coffee, others turn to Adderall, Concerta, and Ritalin. If you are having trouble focusing, and nothing seems to help, swing by your health center for a quick ADD test.