J&J: How Can I Stay Focused?

J&J are Touro California Director of Academic Support Dr. Jill Alban, Ed.D. and Learning Specialist Jennifer Pimentel, MAEd.  

Dear J&J,

I am always distracted. I try to study but I find that I’ve spent two hours reading Reddit and I haven’t been able to focus. Once I sit down to study I’m on Facebook. I live alone and even when I study in my apartment I can’t keep my mind focused.

— Compulsively obsessed with the Internet.

Dear Obsessed,

Try implementing the Pomodoro Technique. To begin with, put your phone away and try using Cold Turkey or Stay Focused to prevent yourself from accessing Facebook while studying. Next, set your timer for 25 minutes, studying with full attention. When the timer goes off, give yourself a 5-minute reward. Make sure the reward is something you really want to do! Lastly, and this is crucial, when 5 minutes has elapsed, return to 25 minutes of focused attention.

Note: A study of MIT students found that 50 minutes is the longest we canpurple logo sustain our attention at any given time. Your goal is to work up to 50-minute sessions followed by a 10-minute reward break.


To submit a question related to student success, write it in a comment on this page!


 Jill Alban is the Director of Academic Support at Touro UniversiAlbanJillty California. She earned her Doctorate in Education and has been an educator for more than 30 years. She enjoys the challenge of helping students develop study strategies and improve their grades. On the weekend you can find her romping with her husband and Rose, her labradoodle, in Tilden Park or swimming laps at the Berkeley City Club. She is training to swim the Bosporus. Her dream is to swim from Europe to Asia. She can be reached at jill.alban@tu.edu


NEWPimentelJennifer-StudentServices-StaffJennifer Pimentel is the Learning Specialist for Touro University California. She obtained her Masters in Arts in Education from Touro University, and her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Davis. She believes that students are their own keys to success and that with some helpful tools and encouragement, one can go a lot further than they originally thought possible. She is a new mom to an adorable little girl who has already taught her that reaching for the stars isn’t as impossible as it may seem. Stop by for an appointment, or simply to just say hi! She can be reached jennifer.pimentel@tu.edu

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