How can I stop someone from sniffing?

How you can stay focused and learn focused despite a cold

by Tim Reichel

To cough? Sniff? 42 degrees fever?

Most students don't care if they're sick. You learn in spite of it cold and pay no attention to their symptoms. Especially when an important exam or a deadline is imminent, people work, learn and write until they are completely exhausted.

Basically, I am not a fan of giving up on every little ailment and dropping important goals immediately. Sometimes it is necessary to bite your teeth and - against all odds - pull through. But if you decide to do it catches to do something for your studies, then do it right.

How is that supposed to work? It's good that you ask.

In this article I have collected ten best practice strategies for you so that you can stay focused and focused on learning despite having a cold. However, if you've got it really bad or if a serious illness is draining you, Dr. Tim a visit to the doctor, rest and mom's chicken soup. The following home remedies can help with minor complaints.


Read the DOEDL method for free!


Concentrated learning despite having a cold? That's how it's done!

If you have a cold or flu, your cognitive abilities are impaired. Not only do you feel tired and weak, but you can also concentrate less well and lose your focus more quickly. Therefore, you have to adjust your learning strategy a little and align your activities to the new framework conditions. These ten tips can help you:


Tip 1: accept the situation

As mentioned at the beginning: When you have a cold, your brain does not work at full capacity. Your ability to concentrate is not 100 percent and you will learn much more slowly than usual. Your memory will also suffer and you will be more easily distracted. Is that bad? No. But: You should be aware of this and adjust your expectations accordingly.

It won't get you any further if you try to do your normal workload despite illness. On the contrary: It is counterproductive if you ignore your restrictions and just continue as before. Accept your situation and adopt the new "rules of the game". Work with your cold - not against it. Accept the challenge, adapt your strategy and do not quarrel.

Reading tip: If your studies seem hopeless at the moment, this story can help you


Tip 2: Provide orientation

When you have a cold, your own head often feels “closed”. I don't mean a stuffy nose or an inflamed throat, but your thinking apparatus. As soon as you sit in front of your study materials and try to get a clear thought, the structures become blurred. Fog is spreading and before you know it, you've lost the thread.

For this reason, you should provide orientation BEFORE your learning units. Get an overview and make sure that you know exactly where you are in which topic. Don't just start learning. Instead, ask yourself: which subject am I studying? Which topics are particularly important? How many chapters / sections / subtopics are there? What point am I at? What came before What's next?

Reading tip: How to create a study plan for your next exam


Tip 3: use appropriate learning techniques

With a cold in your bones, some learning activities are better than others. What do i mean by that? If you are trying to solve a complicated differential equation with a headache, a fever, and shaky hands, or if you are reading the interpretation of an interpretation of Kant's Categorical Imperative, you will most likely NOT be successful.

If, on the other hand, you concentrate on collecting important definitions, repeating old summaries or reviewing your lecture notes, you can tear something even if you have a cold. It depends on the choice of learning techniques. Find out which methods you can use to make progress even at a low performance level and adapt your learning activities accordingly.

Reading tip: 10 learning strategies during your studies that you need to know


Tip 4: organize your workplace cleverly

Attention truism: special circumstances require special measures. And in cold-related circumstances, you should organize your workplace so that you can get into a productive state despite illness. If you - as usual - study at your desk, you can drape handkerchiefs, throat tablets and so on within easy reach.

If you do not make this preparation, you will be torn out of your concentration with every runny nose or other disturbance. You then have to get up, solve the problem and only find your way around your learning process again. Focused thinking and working are not possible in this way. Organize your workplace so that you are prepared for any eventuality that may arise. Incidentally, the same applies to aids that you need for learning (pens, books, calculators and so on).

Reading tip: How every dodel gets his studies under control


Tip 5: plan in small steps

Now that you are in the starting blocks and have taken all the precautions to deliver a productive learning unit, you should spend another two minutes on smart planning. A plan will help you to focus your concentration and work through your learning material purposefully. Without a plan, there is a risk that you will wander, learn the wrong content, and end up doing less than you could have.

When studying with a cold, it is also important to plan in too small steps rather than too coarse. It won't help you if you write down ambitious to-dos on a list that you can never keep. Instead, break down large dots into lots of small ones. Work in mini-steps. This way you get into a positive motivational spiral and it is easier to keep track of things.

Reading tip: Why your learning units are not achieving anything - and what you can do about it


Tip 6: use single-tasking

The surest way to reduce your learning success is multitasking - regardless of whether you have a cold or not. Just do many things at the same time and get bad grades. Multitasking is a concentration killer. It destroys your focus and makes you not do a lot of things very well. A lose-lose situation.

Singletasking, on the other hand, is an underrated key skill of successful students. Focus on one thing and do it task by task. First, you are faster with this strategy compared to multitasking nonsense; and secondly, you will achieve significantly better learning outcomes. If you have a cold, multitasking is far too strenuous. Your energy and concentration reserves will be used up after a short time. With single-tasking you can persevere much longer and show passable results despite your reduced performance.

Reading tip: The amazingly simple secret of highly productive students


Tip 7: learn in intervals

In a healthy state, single-tasking combined with interval learning is a weapon. Even if you have a cold, this strategy can multiply your learning success. It may even be that you do not even notice your illness because your learning sessions carry you and transfer you into a veritable flow phase.

When you study at intervals, you divide your time into small units. You alternate phases of concentration with relaxation breaks and work your way through your learning plan step by step. Because of the short intervals, you keep your focus; the regular breaks ensure that you stay fit. A particularly useful and well-known variant of this procedure is the Pomodoro technique. You can find out more about this in the following reading tip.

Reading tip: How to use the Pomodoro technique to do more in a single day than in a whole week


Tip 8: take breaks

Breaks are essential when studying with a cold. Students who take little or no breaks during their "normal" learning units neglect this factor even more if they are already under their performance due to the flu and the like. They try to compensate for the lack of concentration with extra work and completely cancel their recovery breaks. A fatal mistake.

Without breaks, you will never be able to stay mentally “fresh” over a long period of time. After just a few tasks, the quality of your learning results will collapse. Don't lose weight - break in. In addition, the knowledge you have gathered so far hardly sticks in your memory because there are no breaks for regeneration. That means: all your efforts were in vain. Therefore, include enough breaks in your daily routine when you are sick. Taking a little nap in between not only works wonders for your exam preparation - it also helps you get better faster.

Reading tip: Take the right break: How to make the most of your learning breaks and achieve maximum relaxation


Tip 9: drink a lot

I know: This tip is at the pharmacy level, but my experience in student counseling shows time and again: Almost every second student is dehydrated while studying. Of course, these students know that water is good for them, but they don't act that way. You drink too little before and during the learning units. Due to this insufficient supply, the ability to concentrate decreases, tiredness sets in and headaches arise.

The result: Your learning units are useless, content is not remembered and the further learning process is made more difficult. With a cold, the negative effects occur even faster because the body has to fight the pathogens. As a result, the unfavorable consequences are in turn stronger, which brings us back to the simple formula: Drink a lot if you have to learn to catch a cold!

Reading tip: Stay focused longer: 5 simple tips on how you can learn and work better


Tip 10: Use alternative learning methods

If you find the conventional learning with books, lecture slides and index cards too difficult due to a cold, you can use alternative learning methods. It doesn't make sense to kill your desk time with some aliby learning. Break off your study session if you do not see any progress and try to deal with your study material in a different way.

For example, you can retire to the bathtub or bed and read something from there. The use of e-learning would also be possible. Does your university offer such modules? Are there e-tests, explanatory videos or other digital content that could help you learn? If in doubt, you can look around on YouTube and see if you can find a clip there about the various price-sales functions, the Carnot process or Freud's theory.

Tip: studienscheiss' YouTube channel


Read the ass kick book grati s!



Even with a cold, you can do something for your studies and hold efficient exam preparation. These ten strategies can help you learn productively even though you are sick:

  • Accept the situation
  • Provide orientation
  • Use appropriate learning techniques
  • Organize your workplace cleverly
  • Plan in small steps
  • Use single-tasking
  • Learn at intervals
  • Take breaks
  • Drink a lot
  • Use alternative learning methods

However, the most important tip for studying with a cold is: don't overdo it! Yes, your exams are important and yes, you don't have enough time to study anyway, but it doesn't do you any good if you exhaust yourself completely and ruin your health. In the worst case, this can lead to you getting really sick, falling out for the long term and risking your entire semester.

So make your recovery your top priority. See to it that you get well again and cure yourself. Take it easy and listen to your body's signals. A few days off will not shake your academic success. However, false ambition and stupid exploitation of your own resources do. Don't forget this the next time you sit down at your desk while sick.


Image: © Kelly Sikkema /