8 Simple Ways to Eliminate Distractions
It’s so easy to get distracted. After all, who wants to do homework or chores or any of that boring stuff, when the newest video game has just dropped, or you’ve got to reply your best friend’s text. Who cares about avoiding distraction when distraction is just so wonderful?
If you need any kind of confirmation on the prevalence of distraction, your school probably has something in the rules about mobile phones. A good article in the Straits Times actually talks about the mobile phone problem here.
Anyway, so you’re playing video games, or on social media. Fast forward a few weeks later.
You’re staring at that less-than-desirable “failed”, aren’t you? While the teacher glares at you again, and admonishes you to “study harder”.
But you did! You studied harder…or tried to, but damn those video games!
It’s okay, we’ve all been there before.
Here’s our 8 tips on avoiding distractions.
1. Remove your physical distractions.
Yes, haul your computer out of the room. The phone too. All of it, all of it. Shut the door, Barricade it with various (non- distracting items!) if you really need to. Get your parents to supervise your studying, and have them make sure you don’t head out to sneak your phone into your room. Thirsty? Great, your parent can fetch you a drink, while you stay in and study. Comfy being in the chair, isn’t it?
2. Remove your mental distractions.
Now that you physically can’t reach for your computer for video games or your phone to text your friends, your mind may start to wander. You’d be surprised how awfully creative your brain can be when it’s bored. Here’s a tactic for you: Tell yourself that you can only think about X video game 5 times per hour, and only for 10 seconds each time. After you get used to thinking about X video games for 50 seconds an hour, cut yourself down to 40 seconds, and try again. This is “cheating”, by telling your brain that they’ve already thought about the video game enough.
3. Get up and stretch.
A cause of getting distracted that may surprise you is getting cramps in your chair by sitting in your chair for too long. Every half an hour or so, just get up and have a minute of stretching. This gives both your mind and body a break by resetting the amount of time you’ve been studying straight. Make sure to focus on stretching your back (you’ve been sitting down in a chair) and your arms (you’ve been writing with your hands, after all.)
After your stretch, have a sip of water and sit back down refreshed and continue studying. It really helps.
4. Take frequent breaks.
If you plan to have a 3 hour Physics study session, it’s pretty long and you might slip up avoiding distraction. One way around getting “too” distracted is taking frequent breaks. Take a break of about five to ten minutes every hour. Set yourself an alarm. Get up, check your phone, stretch, have a piece of fruit and some water to cool off. Go to the bathroom (really important!) This small breaks provide a break in the monotony of Physics (which can sometimes get really boring, admittedly.)
5. Have someone keep you accountable.
If you’re the sort who insists on defying your annoying pest of an alarm, get a human alarm instead. Your human alarm can be someone like your mom or dad. Tell them that if they see you out of the study room when it’s not a frequent break break time, have them ask you why you’re out of the room, and have them “escort” you back in. Just like a study prison, so best to make the best out of it till your three hours are up.
6. Don’t make excuses for not avoiding distraction.
It’s awfully easy to make up excuses that seem real and legitimate to get out of the room at first during a non break time, like “I really need the bathroom!” or “I’m hungry!”
Stop and think for just a few seconds if this is genuinely an emergency. If you really really need to go to the bathroom because you ate something bad at lunch, go. But often, underneath the “I’m hungry” or “I’m bored”, is a want to go explore the rest of the house and laze about on the couch.
About that laying about on the couch – you promise yourself just five minutes on the couch. It turns into ten and then fifteen minutes. And then you need to watch the latest episode on the nice large TV in front of you.
See what I mean?
It’s best to just stay in your distraction free room, avoiding distraction altogether!
7. If it works for you, have music playing.
Music has been found to help with concentration, and may be a good idea if you’re studying in a noisy area like a coffee shop in public and just can’t remove yourself for whatever reason. A pair of sturdy headphones can help with blocking out ambient noise, and will more than signal to other people that you really aren’t available to hang out or chat to them, unless it’s genuinely important. The music can also help you with staying focused and tuning out the distractions in your mind.
8. However, if you’ve tried all these tips, and are STILL distracted and can’t crack it, read this.
Take a moment to think if there’s anything major going on in your life that could be affecting your concentration, like the death of a pet, or a major life change like moving house or changing school.
Even if you don’t think that you’re affected by this, major life events like that can still sneak up and affect us even if we don’t know it. If there’s something like that going on, it might be worth having a chat with your parents about your feelings, and seeking mental health help if needed. It can really help get to the root of your anxiety and distraction.