You know you have an exam coming up and it is time to hit the books. However, you find that you are distracted. Something or someone keeps popping up to break your concentration.
There you are, seated and about to get busy when your phone pings with a text from your friend. You reply and, for the next 15 minutes, it is a constant back and forth of messages.
You end the chat but without even thinking on it, you re-checking your Facebook feeds, Twitter timeline. These activities, which you told yourself was only for a few minutes, ends up taking a lot of time and the book remains unread.
This is not happening to only you and there are habits you can pick up in order to win this war on distractions.
1. Keep your phone away:
When you plan on studying, you should always keep your phone away. Take it off any ring or vibrate mode. It must be in silent mode. The reason for this is that any beep would get your attention and if the phone is near you, the indicator light would also distract you.
This might be difficult at first but as you make a habit of it, you will find that you actually would get more done, not just reading. Of course, you can always check it every 45-50 minutes, when you take the break in case an important call or text came in while you were reading.
2. Turn off your internet access:
You might intend to use your computer for work, but you can easily find yourself on Facebook or YouTube instead. When you’re using your computer, the World Wide Web is literally just a click away. Don’t trust yourself to resist that temptation. Turn off your internet access before you begin your study session. If you need to access certain online resources, download them at the start of your session.
If you need to watch an online video on YouTube, you are going have to be wilful enough not to get drawn into watching that eye-catching video or an episode of your favourite TV series.
3. Don’t give in to the urge. Take a deep breath instead:
Distractions come in waves. The urge to watch TV and check your phone sneaks up on you and then leaves only for it to return stronger.
Always bear at the back of your mind that these intense urges only last for a short while. If you’re able to resist that initial wave, you’ll be able to carry on.
Close your eyes. Breathe in slowly and then exhale slowly. If the urge still persists, repeat until it goes away.
4. Be organised. Get All the Things You Require at One Place:
Before you sit down to start studying, make sure all you need are within arm’s length. Your stationery, notebooks, and books related to the subject/topic you are about to study should be with you.
Also, I suggest you keep a bottle of water with you (and munchies if you are the type that eats and reads) so that you don’t have to get up till you want to take a break.
5. Get everyone in line:
Don’t get me wrong, relationships are important. I firmly believe that, in many ways, the quality of your relationships determines the quality of your life.
But when you’re studying, interruptions are disruptive. They break your flow of thought and set you back. Before you start studying, tell those around you to keep away except it is of utmost importance that they disrupt your reading. You can put a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your room door or reading table.
6. Get enough sleep:
With so many projects and homeworks going on, you might feel time spent sleeping should be channelled into other things. This is wro
ng as sleeping is vital in your pursuit of academic excellence. It’s an established fact that sleep affects your memory, concentration and brain function. If you’re not sleeping enough, you’re not setting yourself up for success in your student life.
When you’re sleep-deprived, you’ll also be easily distracted. Therefore, you should go to bed at the right time, and avoid caffeine after 3 pm. Most important of all, do not take your phone with you to bed.