Why am I distracted while studying?

How to eliminate distractions while studying and never lose your focus again

by Tim Reichel

You are determined. You sit down at the desk. You take out your study materials.

Full concentration now.

Uuund: She's gone.

It can go so fast. And that's how fast it goes - not just sometimes, but usually. Many students get distracted while studying. The focus on the subject matter is only enough for a few minutes - if at all. The distractions and disturbances from outside (and inside) are simply too great.

If you also have difficulty concentrating on one thing for a long period of time without constantly digressing and losing the thread, you have bad cards in studying.

What you need then is a joker. Or several directly.

 

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Your seven jokers against distraction

Nobody is safe from distractions. However, some students are much smarter in their study and are therefore less distracted than the rest.

So that you can maintain your concentration for longer in the future and get through your learning sessions more focused, I have seven simple tips for you that you can still implement today.

Full concentration ahead!

 

1. Written (partial) goals

The biggest distractions are homemade: You don't know what you want and so you work disoriented. But without clear goals, you are easy prey to any kind of distraction. Because if you start learning without focus, everything seems more interesting than the boring material, which you don't really know what to do with it.

Your first joker against your lack of concentration is therefore the setting of goals or partial goals - and that before you even really get started. As soon as you know what you want to achieve and have written it down, you can orient yourself towards it and steer towards this point.

To do: Before each study session, write your overall goal on a piece of paper or a post-it! Define exactly what you want to achieve in the next few minutes and make your goal tangible!

 

2. 30-second study plan

The next major weakness that ruins many students' study units is a lack of structure. Learning without a plan is unproductive and ensures that you never reach your goals. Because if you decide spontaneously what to do next while studying, there is a good chance that you will be distracted by spontaneous ideas.

To prevent that from happening, it is enough if you set up a mini study plan and determine in a nutshell what your next round should look like at your desk. It doesn't take 30 seconds, but it will save you hours of distraction and procrastination. If you like it in more detail, check out this article from me.

To do: Before each learning unit, create a short learning plan that gives you structure and support! To do this, determine the learning duration, the most important content and your overall goal (see above)!

 

3. No chaos in the workplace

Your surroundings have a huge impact on your success and can help make you either immune to distractions or completely vulnerable to the little beasts. Make sure that your desk (or wherever you are studying) is tidy and only your current most important task is in front of you. Then, get all the information, books, and study materials you need to complete the assignment.

Even if only a real genius can see through the chaos: To become a genius, you first need clear thoughts - and they do not arise in a littered workplace, but in a tidy environment.

To do: Clean up your workspace and clear the mess before you start studying!

 

4. Preparation of content

If you have some great research or research to do while studying, you are opening the door to distractions. Dealing with the content of your task before you even start working on it, on the other hand, ensures that you find access much faster and can immediately go to the full. You then no longer have to familiarize yourself, but you know directly what it is about and what to look out for.

This includes doing a little research in advance, collecting material and getting an overview of the topic. Just teach yourself a solid, little basic knowledge so that you don't have to start from scratch and know the most important terms.

To do: Get a rough overview of the content before learning!

 

5. Digital foreclosure

WhatsApp, Facebook and Co. are right at the top of the ranking of the biggest productivity killers for students. The internet has endless distractions in store for you, just waiting for you to interrupt your study session to check out the latest news or stalk your friends.

The easiest and most effective way to avoid these online sources of interference is a short but consistent digital foreclosure. Ban your smartphone or browser for the duration of your learning unit or use apps that block your online services for a short period of time; so that they don't block you.

To do: Put yourself on a digital diet and avoid online applications while you study!

 

6. Self-determined compulsory breaks

If you work straight through for a long period of time without a break, your concentration decreases disproportionately and you fall into a persistent low performance. On the other hand, it is much more efficient and healthier if you work in short stages and take small breaks in between. In this way you stay fit longer and can string together many productive units - always separated by small breaks that keep you mentally fresh.

You prescribe your own little compulsory breaks, so to speak, that separate your learning units from one another, but at the end of the day ensure that you stay fresh. The highlight: Distractions are perfectly okay during these short breaks!

To do: Take regular, small breaks while studying! In these short breaks, consciously distract yourself and relax for the next round of learning!

 

7. List of ideas

While you are studying, you sometimes get great ideas or ideas that you actually want to pursue immediately. But this very behavior would lead you to stray from the topic and become unproductive.

Therefore, keep a list of ideas on which you collect all the flashes of inspiration and the spontaneous thoughts that you want to pursue. Write down your ideas in a few bullet points - but don't go straight into them. Write them down and deal with them later.

To do: Keep a list of ideas and store ideas or disturbing thoughts on this list!

 

8. Bonus: Mental doping

I still have one more thing: the last big joker against distractions is a positive mindset. Your attitude has a big influence on how you approach and complete your tasks. If you feel positive and go to work with an optimistic mindset, you can achieve more, and you will also feel better about it as you achieve it.

In addition, you are then so focused that disturbances and distraction maneuvers can hardly harm you. Some examples:

  • Think about your goals
  • Just imagine how proud you will be of yourself in the end
  • Make a firm resolve not to stop until you are done
  • Focus on your strengths and don't tell yourself that you can't do anything
  • Encourage yourself and think about the things that you have already accomplished
  • Find reasons why your job is fun and why you should stick with it

Once you manage to flip the switch in your head, the rest is just a matter of form. With the right attitude and a determined approach, your work is guaranteed to be a success.

To do: Develop a positive and determined mindset!

 

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Conclusion

Distractions lurk everywhere and are always ready to make your study hell. But you are not defenseless against them; you can do something.

First you have to create an awareness of being distracted and make it clear to yourself where you are particularly vulnerable. Then you take strategic steps to prevent distractions in these areas before they can even arise.

I have shown you how this can be done with these 7 + 1 examples.

Now it's your turn!

 

Image: © Ryan McGuire / gratisography.com