Distractions from Studying and How to Deal with Them

Let me guess.

When you have a big exam coming up, you can’t procrastinate anymore and It’s time to hit the books; you sit down at your study spot and start writing your notes (in 5 different colors). 5 minutes in, your phone goes off. It’s a text from your best friend who’s going through a mid-life crisis. After exchanging a billion texts, 30 minutes have gone by!

Okay, now you’ve told yourself to focus. You’ve put your phone aside and gotten back to decorating your notebook with your colorful notes. 10 minutes later, you get a sudden, overwhelming urge to check your Instagram feed. That’s it, you’re in a black hole.

I’m sure you’ve gone through something similar, but there is hope. Here are simple tips to get you through dreaded finals week.

  1. 1. Your phone is your worst enemy

    White smartphone with hearts

    If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll know that your phone is the worst distraction. Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Messages... they’re all apps made for you to fail. At the start of your study session, switch your phone off and keep it in a different room. Once you get into the groove, you’ll be too lazy to move just to send a single text. You’ll know when it’s reasonable to switch it back on. Unless it’s a life or death situation, you should be able to focus.

    Another trick is to just give your most prized possession to your friend who will act as a gatekeeper.

    OR, if you’re just like me and have no self-control, use screen time with password access!

  2. 2. Scheduling

    Try to schedule how your day is going to look and abide by it. Put in a reasonable amount of breaks (even social media breaks). Try to set aims and deadlines for yourself. To stay on track, you could use your Calendar app on your phone or Google Calendar. This helps you organize and notify you each time about your tasks.

  3. 3. You need your beauty sleep most during finals week

    Anna Schultz-Girl Using Laptop In Cozy Bed

    As a college student, it sounds difficult getting 8 full hours of sleep. There’s always so much homework to do, so many projects to work on, so many parties that you can’t say no to and so many friends to hang out with.

    Compared to this, sleep seems unimportant.


    BUUUT, sleep is vital to perform well academically. If you’re not sleeping enough, you’re probably losing focus and yawning through your notes. Regulate your sleep schedule and please stop drinking coffee 5 times a day. Wind down at the end of the day by watching Netflix if you want! Set a nightly alarm to go to bed, you’ll be shocked by how helpful this can be.

  4. 4. Work in familiar work environments

    Believe it or not, your “home” is your biggest distraction. Statistically, your home is a familiar environment that makes your mind go places that it shouldn’t. You’ll see your dirty table and start cleaning, that cleaning turns into deep cleaning of the entire house and fast forward to 3 hours later, you have still not studied the first page in your book.

    Try to work in designated work zones, or somewhere where you always study and find comfort focusing.

  5. 5. Study partners

    A study partner can be of great help to understand difficult topics, but they can also be distractions. Set group goals and objectives for your study sessions and time them. Chatting in between tasks can also motivate you to do more.

  6. 6. Rewarding yourself at the end of it

    A little motivation can go a really long way. Set up a “reward” system that encourages yourself to finish your work quicker and more efficiently. For example, if you finish an essay without any distractions, reward yourself with some food or watching TV!

Hopefully, this Spring term treats you well! Try not to distract yourself using these tips and with any luck, they’ll help you just as much as they helped me!