Study tips for the distracted student

Emily Neria

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When it comes to studying, technology can be our own worst enemy. It’s common knowledge that our generation is glued to our devices. So what are we supposed to do when it’s time to buckle down and knock out a study session? Here are a few tricks that may help you.

If possible, turn your phone off. Since social media and the internet are a huge part of how we communicate and gather information, that may be easier said than done, but at least trying to do it will help prevent distractions coming from your phone.

Unfortunately, turning off your phone may not be practical. People often need to be available to employers or family members. Others may wish to use a few apps to help them study such as a timer or a music app. One alternative to turning your phone off is leaving it across the room in a place you cannot see it.

This strategy embodies the philosophy of “out of sight, out of mind” and also assumes that the participating student has a bit of a lazy bone.

Hopefully, you will be reluctant to get up and check your phone every time it buzzes. As a result, you won’t be drawn to touch your phone unless you get a phone call, but you’ll still be able to listen to music and set alarms without constant distraction at your fingertips.

Another option is to hand your phone over to a friend or roommate. Tell them what constitutes as an emergency and then instruct them not to let you have it back for a set amount of time. Make sure they will hold you accountable. If you think you’re the kind of person who would feel silly begging for your phone back, this method would probably work best for you.

Another interesting trick is to make a cup of tea. Sounds random, right? There’s a simple concept behind this that’s related to that compulsion many of us feel to check our phones the moment our minds start to wander.

Every time you are compelled to reach for your phone, you reach for your mug instead and take a sip. This method allows its implementers to keep their phones close without getting lost in a barrage of social media at every stray thought.

If you don’t like tea, any kind of beverage will do.

One last strategy is to set short term goals for each of your study sessions. Then, when you meet those goals, you can reward yourself with timed breaks on with phone.

Grouping your studies into chunks of smaller checkpoints like this can help you stay motivated. Ignore the random urges in exchange for a brief, dedicated window of screen time. Just be careful to limit how long your breaks last.

The next time you need to study and can’t stop looking at your device, try one of these strategies. Don’t be afraid to mix and match to find the method that works best for you.

Emily Neria can be reached at [email protected]

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