avoiding distractions while studying

How to Avoid Distractions When Studying

Updated By Staff Writer on August 5, 2020

What are some of the most common distractions when you’re trying to study? Many of our students have full-time jobs, and they’re cramming for finals while worrying about their work. They also have phones and computers that are constantly sending them notifications. Some also have children who need attention.

How can you focus on studying in the midst of the chaos and distractions of life? You can’t make it all stop, but these four tips can help you learn better how to avoid distractions when studying, and manage the distractions that come up.

1. Identify Your Distractions While Studying

Sit down to a typical study session and don’t change your normal routine—except one thing. In a notebook or a computer document, write down every time that you stop studying when you needed to continue. It could be because of your own procrastination or an outside interruption. Record it all.

You can even keep doing this for a few days or a week to get a sense of every barrier you experience to studying. Spend a few minutes at the end of this writing your reflections on what were the biggest distractions and what you’d like to change to overcome them.

Were the distractions actually your own ways of procrastinating because you don’t enjoy the material you’re studying? Or maybe you’re studying too long or in an uncomfortable environment. Were the distractions all from social media? Figure out what is slowing you down so you can plan new tactics, along with using the ideas below.

2. Set Time and Set Place

Have a quick discussion with others in your household. Tell them you need a few uninterrupted study sessions per week, asking them for help. Let them know that these will be limited. You’ll give them all the attention they need after the sessions are over.

Then, set aside a specific time and place for your studies. Plan a whole week of studying in advance, putting each session on a paper calendar or in an app, such as Google Calendar.

3. Sectional Positive Reinforcement

You might not find studying to be very fun in itself. But try this: Focus entirely on small goals, avoiding the sources of procrastination you identified back in step one. Then, focus wholeheartedly on enjoyable activities afterward, when they’re no longer distracting types of procrastination.

Start each study session with a checklist of things that you need to accomplish, starting from what needs to be finished first. For example, once you’ve finished the first two items on your checklist, you can take a small break and reward yourself! Maybe it’s as simple as walking away from your computer for 10 minutes and closing your eyes, or maybe you want to stagger your study and cook, work out, or go wash your car in between study sessions.

It doesn’t matter what it is, just find something that works for you! You’ll find that dividing up your studies for short intervals of time helps you regain focus and work more quickly. Subconsciously, the thought of a reward after performance will also increase your productivity and help you set aside distractions.?

4. Use Technology to Your Advantage

It’s unfortunate that we view technology as distracting. Just keeping up with social media can cause you to check your phone constantly, wishing you knew how not to get distracted by your phone. But you can use technology either to slow down your work or make it more efficient. Try these examples:

  • Use a calendar app or productivity software to schedule a week of tasks at a time.
  • Use Studious or a similar app that blocks alerts during your study or class times.
  • Manually turn off alerts on your phone.
  • Work hard during a 25-minute timer, play hard for five minutes, and then repeat.

Come back to our blog often to get more study tips. And contact us any time to learn more about our programs. Everyone here at Independence University is excited to help you during every step in your college journey. We’re rooting for you to succeed.