How many distracted students does it take to change a light bulb? Any thoughts?
Let’s go ride bikes.
Distractions are everywhere. Perhaps the opening to this blog post still has you distracted. I once knew a guy we were convinced had cartoons playing in his head. He could be sitting completely still, staring straight at you, then grin, laugh, and leave a conversation without ever answering a question you just asked him. We just figured it was the coyote getting smashed with an anvil again, and he thought it was funny.
But in all seriousness, distractions are study session quicksand. Just when you think you’re heading the right direction, you lose all traction. And it’s going to take you a while to get back to the level of productivity you were previously rolling in.
One recent article in Time suggested that it takes 25 minutes to regain your focus after a distraction! If it’s going to take you that long, you might as well watch another episode of Parks and Recreation, right?
No. Don’t do that. Sure, watch it later. But not when you’ve time set aside for studying. I know that some people think that distractions are inevitable (like those who are looking for ADHD professional treatment), but that doesn’t have to be the case.
Use your study time for what you set it aside: studying.
How to stay focused while studying
Here’s a quick tip that will help fight off the distractions – and it costs less than a penny. It’s a piece of paper.
Now, mind you, this is no ordinary piece of paper. It’s a distraction sheet. Or, if you’d like, a vacation sheet. Or a fluffy thoughts sheet. I don’t care what you call it, honestly. Name it after your dog if you’d like. But have a sheet and a pen ready as you begin your study session.
Whenever you have a thought about anything other than what you are studying, write it down. Organization isn’t required. Just your random thoughts. Get them out, write them on the paper, and keep moving on. Kill the distraction by trapping it on your paper. Once it’s there, you no longer need to think about it, because you know it’ll be there when you get finished studying.
And just like that, you’ve improved your productivity. Congratulations. Let’s go ride bikes.
Additionally, check out our online study skills courses for more info about strategies for improving productivity.