Focus during studies is the holy grail of productivity. Yet, very few students can boast of having mastered the skill of complete, deep focus on the educational process. From a quick call from a friend to a social media post that one’s fiancé published, distractions accompany them everywhere.
Thus, due to seemingly short distractions to unrelated issues, students lose up to 20-30% of their active study time. That’s why you shouldn’t be surprised to see how little you’ve done after studying for hours – you might have probably drowned most of the time in your smartphone or by having your head in the clouds.
Is the situation with distractions critical? Sure, it is. Is there no way out? Sure, not! Just pay someone to take exam. In this article, experts are sharing their tips and tricks on getting fully focused and using your study time to a maximum.
Why Do We Get Distracted?
As research suggests, the core cause for distractions is a lack of motivation. Students often feel demotivated about complex tasks that they do not understand or just don’t feel like performing. Thus, they eagerly take up any tasks except for the one they have to perform right now. As a result, essential time is lost, and the productivity level falls to a minimum.
A good way out of such a situation is to keep your goal in mind. If the essay on Philosophy is a dubious treat to enjoy, think farther than it. Imagine how completing this essay quickly will let you spend a night out with friends instead of getting stuck at the library.
You may think even more strategically – fancy how an A grade for this essay will let you get a high course mark, contributing to your college entry (graduation with honors, respect of your tutor, winning the desired scholarship, you name it). Once you think of the current tedious task as a step towards the desired goal, you’ll get much more agitated and excited to complete the assignment quickly and satisfactorily.
How to Stand the Distraction Temptation?
Now, let’s battle the distractions coming in the way of even the most motivated students. Unfortunately, we can’t work in isolation anymore, but it’s possible to bring the level and intensity of distractions to a minimum, and we’ll show you how.
1. Throw away Your Phone
Obviously, we’re joking! But there is a grain of truth in this joke; smartphones are the greatest distractors today. If you put your smartphone next to you during your studies, be ready to spend twice as much time on the performance of your task as you expected.
The reason for this time waste is in the numerous pop-up notifications and alerts coming to your gadget. Has your friend sent you an SMS? Is there an active discussion in the groupmates’ chat on WhatsApp? Has your darling published a new photo on Instagram? Is there an email from your parents?
Anything like that takes just 1-2 minutes to look up and 10-15 minutes to get back to the previous concentration level. So, as soon as you decide to take a quick glance at what’s going on online, you risk losing way more time than you initially planned to spend on your studies.
2. You’re Not the Jack of all Trades
Multi-tasking (no matter how much productivity gurus praise it) is the worst enemy of concentration. Thus, whenever you decide to perform several tasks at a time, keep in mind that you’ll do each of them worse than if you completed them one by one.
Experts cite neurobiological research saying that the human brain needs some time to concentrate on each new task and that time is vital for performing the task well. Once the person starts jumping from one task to a bunch of others, their brain simply has no time to adapt to the new expected activity and underperforms as a result.
3. Use Placeholders
Distraction is a distraction, no matter why you stop doing what you do and proceed to another task. This is often the case with academic assignment completion. Students have successfully concentrated on the task and work on it but see that they lack some name or statistical figure.
Going online to find that information is a serious mistake as such a change of activity will also eat your time. Instead, you can put a placeholder inside the text and then fill in the missing details after finishing the writing process.
4. Control Your Thoughts
Distractions come not only from social media, calls, or pop-up ads. Sometimes our head is so full of distracting thoughts that we can’t focus, even if we stay in isolation from gadgets and other people.
A good way out in such a case is to put down your thoughts and fears on paper, promising yourself that you’ll get back to them later. In this way, you can free yourself from fear to forget some essential things and concentrate on the issue at hand.
5. Indulge Yourself with Pauses
Distractions are unavoidable; then why not schedule them? Don’t try to push yourself to extremes by working for hours without distractions. Include 5-10 minutes of rest into every hour of work, and you’ll see evident productivity gains. But limit that time strictly; it’s so easy to come to Instagram for 5 minutes only to find yourself surfing it for one hour.
Want to Be Successful? Focus! As you can see, increasing your focus is a matter of skill and conscious effort. So, don’t waste your precious time; work productively to have more free time for the pleasures and distractions you can afford without bites of conscience after all pending tasks are done.