“You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.” Winston S. Churchill
Distraction is a great enemy of productivity. It’s one of the challenges students are struggling to overcome. On average, students get sidetracked two minutes into their work. Majority of students want to pay attention to their book work but the more they try to do so, the more they find themselves caught in the net of distraction. They can’t focus their energy on the work at hand. Consequently, their academic performance is affected.
As a student, would you want to overcome distraction and focus on your study? Would you want to defeat distraction, the enemy that wants to hinder you from achieving excellence in your academic pursuit? If you truly desire to, then this article is for you. Here in this write-up, I will show you some of the practical approach you can use to eliminate distraction (or reduce it to the barest minimum), and get the best from your study session.
Here are 6 ways to avoid distractions, get maximum concentration and learn better.
1. Practice Healthy Eating Habits
Bad eating habit can serve as distraction during study hours. The type of food you eat, the time you eat it and the quantity of it that you eat can either serve as a source of distraction or help you to focus and concentrate more during study. To avoid distraction, eat the right food, avoid overeating, and eat at the right time.
2. Read In Your Best Place
The next strategy for fighting and overcoming distraction is reading in your best place. To fully concentrate on your study, you should read in the place most convenient for you. For the quiet reader – those who can only concentrate in a quiet environment – go to the library if you have access to one. If there is no library or can’t access a library, look for a good place to do your studying.
3. Study In Your ‘Study Arena’
This is similar to point #2 above. But I mean something a bit different here. There are different places meant for different types of work. Create a particular place; an arena that you only use for studying such that anytime you are in the place, nothing else comes to your mind except studying. Whenever you’re in your study arena, everything in you tells you that it’s business time (time to study). When the whole of your mind is flooded with the consciousness, “I’m in my study arena”, you find it easier to focus and concentrate on the business of the moment which is studying.
4. Remove All Temptations
Temptations are the things or conditions that could break your concentration and focus. Here, I will focus on two very common temptations you must remove from your study arena. They are the cell-phone and the TV.
You will agree with me that one of the major things that make students lose focus and concentration during study session is their hand-set. You do have your hand-set with you sometimes during your study sessions, right? Good! How would you describe the role it plays in helping you to concentrate? Once your cell-phone rings, it is very difficult to ignore it if it is within your reach. You must be moved to ‘ok’ the call or take a view of the message that has just entered. And also, you would always have the urge to chat or update your social media pages like face-book, WhatsApp, etc.
It is difficult to understand what you are studying when you are busy answering calls, reading and replying text messages, updating your Facebook/WhatsApp pages, etc. It will be an uphill and fruitless task. It will only be a waste of time as the brain needs maximum level of focus and concentration to absorb information and get them retained. Knowing this fact, what should you do to avoid all the distractions caused by your cell phone? Simple!
- Switch-off your phone when you want to study
- If the phone must be left ‘turned-on’ (perhaps because you want to know who tried calling you), then put it on a silence mode (I said silence mode, not on vibration mode).
Keep it very far away from you. An article in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, reveals cellphones can distract a person even when not in use. It should not be on your study table at all, whether it is put on silence or not, to avoid the temptation to quickly look at it which may lead to a few minutes of browsing through it. Yes, researchers have found out that just having your phone visible nearby may distract you from complex tasks. According to study author, Bill Thornton, the sight of a cell phone remind people of the “broader social community” they can access via texting and the internet (http://time.com/3616383/cell-phone-distraction/
The T.V Set
A study identified television as the number one distraction when it comes to doing homework. Another temptation you should remove to ensure maximum concentration during study hour is the box called television. Today, a lot of time that should be channeled into learning is wasted right in front of this box. This has really contributed greatly to the poor performance and failure of many students.
If you must be successful in your study and get higher grades, then you must be able to train yourself on the right time to watch the T.V. To avoid the distractions caused by the T.V, practice the following steps.
- Switch off the T.V. during study period.
- If it cannot be turned off because of the benefit of others in the house, then you must move to another room or a place where there is no T.V and study there.
5. Make Your Study Period Known To Your Family Members, Friends And Others
To fully understand this point, let me begin with this story.
Peter sat down, ready to do his assignment after school so as to meet up with the deadline for submission which is the following day. Soon after he started his home-work, the father called him to give a report of how he used the money given him in the money to school. Few minutes of getting back to the room to continue his reading, he heard the mother calling him to run an errand for her. 5 minutes after he returned, he had a knock on his door. It was John, his friend who needed his attention for a few minutes. And it does not end there; similar distractions keep calling in. What do you think is wrong here? Would you say Peter was wrong by responding to the demand of the father, the mother and even the friend? Not at all. It would have been an outright disobedience if he refused especially the parents. But doing this greatly interrupted the free flow of his study or completion of his home-work.
To prevent the above painted situation, I recommend that you simply tell your family members and others to give you privacy whenever you want to study. In a polite but serious manner, tell them especially those you think are going to come and divide your attention that: “Please, I have a test tomorrow and I must read for at least three hours now. I will really appreciate it if I’m not interrupted within this period.” Do you think when you say this, they will be offended? They will not at all. Do you know why?
Your family members and friends desire your success and so will do anything to help you achieve it. Each time you want to study especially in the house, inform those in the house and even your friends, asking them you would be grateful if your attention is not drawn to other tasks until you have finished studying. Like I said, your loved ones want your success, so they will grant your request.
6. Have Enough Sleep And Rest.
This is the last tip on the list of strategies. Several studies have shown that lack of adequate sleep among students affect their academic performances and day time functioning. It’s also shown here that students who get less sleep than their bodies need (like those who pull “all-nighters”) are more likely to have lower grades and GPA than students who get a sufficient amount of sleep.
Denying your body adequate night sleep affects your day performances due to micro-sleep. Micro-sleep is a brief moment of sleep that occurs when you are normally awake during the day. Micro-sleep is uncontrollable because as it is said, “You cannot cheat nature.” This makes you lack focus and concentration during lesson/lecture or study periods. So to ensure that you do not suffer from micro-sleep during the day which distracts you, always sleep well during the night hours.
Wrapping it up
Distractions are little things compared to your academic goals. You cannot achieve your big goal of academic success if you allow small things to distract you. Granted, it is really hard to overcome distraction in a world where they exist in every corner we turn to. But knowing and understanding the importance of focus in getting the best from your study sessions enable us to strive harder to successfully deal with these distractions.
I’m confident that the above 6 strategies will greatly help you overcome distraction if only they are put into use. I urge you to follow them and you will surely concentrate more, learn better and become a more successful student.