By KATE LARSON
Let’s start with a game. Nod your head if the following scenario rings any bells.
You have an essay that’s due to be handed in next week that you haven’t started (*starts nodding*). You probably should have started this essay earlier but other things have got in the way. As a result, you decide to head to the library in an attempt to avoid any unwanted distractions from your housemates.
So far, so good.
Here’s where that well thought-through plan starts to unravel. You sit down, place your laptop on a desk and take out your study notes.
Buzz. Your phone starts to vibrate. It’s a message on Whatsapp from your best friend. Of course, you reply instantly. So do they. You’re now in a back and forth conversation. Ten minutes later, you say your goodbyes and put your phone to one side.
Buzz. Your phones starts to vibrate. It’s a notification that someone has commented on one of your pictures on Instagram. Of course, you reply instantly. You’re now scrolling through that person’s pictures. After five minutes, you finally snap out of your trance and put your phone to one side. This time, you leave it on silent.
After reading your revision notes for ten minutes solid, you start to build up an insatiable desire to check your Facebook news feed. You only intend to spend a few seconds catching up on the latest goings-on in your social circle. Three videos, five comments and ten likes later, you finally manage to log out.
As it turns out, you’ve been sat in the library for over half an hour and have yet to jot down one word towards your essay.
Is your head nodding? The point of the scenario wasn’t to make you develop whiplash (apologies if you have) but to point out the ease in which we can become distracted in a world reliant on technology.
The good news is that there are several simple ways you can start to fight back against distractions. We’ve got three of the best tips, below:
Leave Your Phone at Home
A cell phone and writing an essay never mix well. In fact, they’re a recipe for disaster.
So, what can you do? Some say switching your phone to silent and leaving it at the other end of the room does the trick.
For over a half of American teenagers that say they feel addicted to their smartphone, however, the only solution that will actually work is to go cold turkey and leave their phone at home.
Students are notorious for burning the candle at both ends, with the average young adult sleeping for just six hours a night.
That doesn’t go unnoticed by your body, and your concentration levels are one of the first areas to be affected, according to several studies.
The solution is to try and treat your bedroom as a sanctuary rather than a place to hang out. That means moving your television, games console, and video games into the lounge.
If your mind can start to view your bedroom as a place to sleep, rather than an entertainment room, you’ll find it easier to get the necessary amount of shut-eye.
Turn Your Internet Off
As much as the internet is a major distraction, we often use it as a resource for our work. That means turning it off altogether is rarely an option.
There are, however, several workarounds. First, try opening all of the pages you think you might need before you start writing. Once you turn your internet off, you’ll still have access to these pages to help you complete your essay.
If that doesn’t work, you could try downloading an extension for your web browser that lets you stop access to certain websites for a set amount of time.
The last resort, of course, is to delete your social media accounts. Good luck with that one.
Kate Larson is a college student and aspiring blogger, who has a strong interest in the environment and personal well-being. She enjoys travelling and reading, as well as writing novels.