• Benunthi Singh and Sophia Woo

Managing Distractions

You are probably familiar with the series of questions that arise multiple times when you study. Should I commit to grueling hours of homework, or be lulled by ever-so-mindless scrolling through Tik Tok? If you’ll lose sleep either way, then won’t it be so much more “refreshing” to switch to Netflix instead of staring down your paper for so long that even the Arial font looks disgusting? The answer might be as obvious as to “Should I buy a David’s Cookie?”. But will your stomach be as delighted as your taste buds later? Will your parents be happy with the debt you managed to rack up on just one (or so you tell yourself) sweet cheat? What we are trying to say is that it is so easy and desirable to do everything other than what you are supposed to be doing.


Distractions: the ultimate demon of bad grades, sleeplessness, and lack of focus. Piled up, it leads to an overwhelming amount of work. Especially now, since some classes are at home, distractions pop up all over the place. We can’t tell you how to entirely avoid them; not even teachers know that. However, here are some tips that other students use to get started. We know, it all sounds like common sense. But don't leave yet! A little of our advice goes a long way.


The environment you’re in, such as background noise and music, affects everything you do. As much as we want to listen to the top hits when studying, you will probably find yourself deciphering the mind-boggling lyrics instead of your (almost as mind-boggling) summer choice novel. If you get too bored or your family is unbearably loud, students suggest turning on something calm and without lyrics.


What others also recommend is to clear and dedicate a space just for studying. If your workspace and personal area are combined, your internal switch is set to “relax mode” or the more likely “scroll through your phone until 2 am” mode. Decluttering your workspace will also clear up your mind.


And what should I do with my phone? Alas, the topic everyone knows will be here, but is hoping to avoid. Yes, screen time and the good-old-fashion give-your-phone-to-your-parents option is always there. As an alternative, students should instead put their phone in another room. However, phones can be crucial to the assignment or too important to part with. If so, remember to turn on ¨Do Not Disturb¨ (Airplane Mode also works like a charm, since it turns off wifi and all notifications).


As for planning how and when to study, many students suggest setting aside a specific time frame for each part of your homework. This way, you can plan ahead and not “go overboard”and study into the night. One student recommends trying to adopt the following mindset: “If I complete these assignments, then I will have the rest of the day to do whatever I want.” Whether it is working to a goal or giving yourself deadlines, keep in mind what you want, and never overwork yourself.


The next time you are procrastinating on your paper or trying to figure out a math equation, try taking your peers’ advice. Instead of grabbing your phone the next time it dings, think of how to balance distractions and your schoolwork, so you can stay physically and psychologically healthy.