Many young people have trouble tuning out distractions of everyday life when trying to study. High school and college students alike understand the need to study for classes and tests, but at times daily activities interfere with getting the job done. Once you identify what gets you off track, you can avoid the distractions and get on with the task at hand.
While staying connected with friends is important, it can be a distraction when trying to study. Before you begin your study session, alert your friends that you will be offline for awhile. Then, turn off your phone and social media connections on your computer before beginning to study. If you absolutely have to keep in touch, allow yourself breaks in studying to check text messages, email and social media -- then get right back to work.
Minimize the Soundtrack
When working on a project, music can provide inspiration and motivation. However, when reading, writing or studying, music may be a distraction. Keep the volume low and limit music to instrumental selections to keep distraction at a minimum. If you find any type of music too distracting, but can’t bear the quiet, try white noise options. Use noise-cancelling headphones to block out talking and other environmental noises.
Choose Your Location
You can avoid distractions by choosing your location carefully. If studying at home, arrange a dedicated space that is away from TV, conversations and general family chaos. At home or in a dorm, put a sign on your door to alert family and friends that you are studying and don’t want to be disturbed. If clutter is distracting to you, tidy your room or study space before beginning so you won’t be tempted to stop your work to straighten up. Go to the library to study to get away from interruptions. Avoid the temptation to study at your favorite coffee shop. Even though you can get free wifi, these spots have far too many distractions to make studying there profitable.
Manage Your Routine
It is a good idea to develop a routine study schedule so you don’t end up squeezing in a few minutes here and there for studying. If you just can’t keep your mind on studying, mix up your study time by alternating reading and studying with more active homework assignments. Take regular breaks to keep your mind alert.
Michele Norfleet is a freelance writer who writes on travel, home and garden and education topics. She has coauthored a handbook for teachers on school-wide discipline and has contributed tips for special-needs students in the basal curriculum for RCL Benziger. Norfleet holds a master's degree from Southern Illinois University and has experience as a special-needs teacher and speech pathologist.