5 of College Students’ Biggest Distractions and How to Combat Them

I’m writing this article because I know I can’t be the only one who has trouble focusing on school work – or anything productive for that matter – for more than ten minutes.  In this day and age, there are distractions everywhere.  And as I think about all of them, I’m realizing it’s a miracle to have even those ten minutes of productivity.  Though the list is endless, here are what I believe to be 5 of the most significant distractors:

1. Phone

This one is probably the most obvious.  Between social media, games, text messages, and the internet, we can (and sometimes do) spend all day looking at that little thing.  Some say there is a simple fix: turn it off.  I give props to those who have the willpower to turn their phones off when they need to be productive, but that’s definitely not me.  That’s not always realistic to some of us who have to be able to be reached by bosses, parents, and even friends with emergencies. My biggest and most realistic tip is to disable any notifications that aren’t completely necessary for the time being such as those from social media or games.  This way, you will still get those important phone calls, but won’t get that notification that your friend tagged you in an Instagram giveaway.

2. Netflix

To study microbiology or finish season 9 of Grey’s Anatomy?  Why not both? I find it easier to study when I have something to look forward to when I’m finished.  So maybe try saying to yourself, “if you finish studying chapter 6, you can watch one episode of Grey’s Anatomy.”  However, make sure that one episode doesn’t turn into 4 and before you know it it’s time for your exam and all you know is that McDreamy is the love of your life.

3. You're Hungry

Isn’t it funny how, as soon as we set up to study and sit down, ready to go, our stomachs start rumbling?  And sometimes the material is so uninteresting that this hunger is all we can think about. My solution to this is to have healthy snacks already portioned out for you, so you can grab one and eat as you go. This way, you don’t need to think about how much you are eating because you already did that, and at least this one distraction will be a thing of the past.

4. Your Bed

If I’m being honest, there is no place on earth I enjoy more than my bed.  And when it’s staring right at me while I’m next to it studying at my desk, focusing on my homework becomes a thing of the past.  There are a couple ways to combat this. The more obvious one is to just not study in your bedroom. But if this is unrealistic for you, try making your bed before you study.  You will be less likely to crawl in there if it is all made and pretty because you just put in all that work to make it look that way.

5. Roommates

I’m going to go ahead and assume that most of us have roommates, which can really be awesome.  However, because we have these awesome roommates, we sometimes struggle with focusing on school work because we want to hang out with them, they are too loud, or something of that nature.  If you have to study in your room, I would first recommend noise-canceling headphones or earplugs. Something that has really worked for me in the past has been talking to my roommates and designating a quiet time where we all do work. This way, the noise won’t be distracting, and you won’t feel like you’re missing out!