With a generation growing up with the ability to find an answer to any relatively simple question in seconds and being used to holding a phone or tablet in hand, it seems that many have also lost the ability to stay focused on a single task for long periods of time.
For college students, that can be an issue as they try to study for a test or sit down to write a paper. Here are the top causes of these distractions and their solutions.
Checking Your Smartphone or Tablet
For those who have had phones for months or years, checking the phone for new text messages or checking social networks has become habitual. Sometimes users do it without even thinking, automatically reaching for their phones and checking the home screen or app for updates. Some believe that this habit is due to the feeling of importance. Others feel it’s due to inability to focus, which causes boredom because your brain is not engaged.
Solution: Turn the sound on your phone off and put it away while studying. This will prevent the urge to check it every two minutes.
Playing Video Games
Video games are a distraction for many because they act as a stress reliever. Though you may be dealing with stresses that are (or feel) out of your control, video games come with inherent goals and rewards that can be accomplished in a relatively short time.
On top of that, when you enter the world of the game, you can forget about your real-life stresses, from getting good grades and passing a class to figuring out how to pay bills and tuition.
Solution: Use playing video games as a reward for yourself. Decide how long you’ll study for or what tasks you need to accomplish (such as finishing specific assignments) before you can play. Then once you start playing, decide ahead of time when you will stop and set a timer, so you don’t stay up half the night playing.
While studying, it’s easy to get distracted by online entertainment, especially if you’re working on your tablet or computer. Whether it’s checking your Facebook Newsfeed, finding new music to listen to, or checking out funny videos and pics, it’s easy to move from doing homework to having fun online instead.
Solution: Take breaks but make sure they don’t keep you from doing your work. For every hour you work, let yourself surf online for 10 minutes. To keep yourself motivated, set a timer so you can visually see how much time you have left until your break. Then set the timer for the length of your break, so you know when it’s time to get back to studying.
Learning self-motivation and increasing the length of your focus will help you in the long run. It’s a skill that will help you gain success as you graduate college and get a “real” job, and school is the perfect time to hone this skill.
|Written on 7/23/2013 by Abigail Clark. Abigail Clark is an upcoming freelance writer. She graduated from The University of South Florida with a bachelors in marketing, minoring in journalism. When she isn’t up to her neck in coupons she is enjoying the outdoors fishing. She loves doing reviews for technology, home products and beauty products. If you would like her to do a review for you look her up on twitter|
Photo Credit: Valentin Ottone