The 2 things that help me stay focused in a world full of distractions
It’s not a secret that being fully focused on what you do it’s difficult more than ever. It’s also not such a big surprise that we have much less quiet time with ourselves, time with just me myself and I than ever before.
The phone never stops ringing all day long, we get more and more push notifications with the latest news, social media, etc….and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to get any better soon.
As a person with ADHD it’s even more challenging (i guess), I wasn’t able to listen in class at school, when I started university I failed all the exams in the first semester because I wasn’t able to just stay focused, put my head down and study. Some of it probably has something with a lack of self-discipline I guess, however the main reason it’s just the fact that I was surrounded by too many potential distractions and it made it hard and I would say even close to impossible for me to focus on school.
After I failed all the classes I started learning how to learn, understand the problems that made a negative impact on me, and fix/ make a change.
Here are few things that helped me be more productive, find a quiet place, and focus on my studies.
Shape your environment
In the first 3–4 months of college, I used to study from my bedroom and the problem with it was that my bedroom is full of distractions.
When you’re in your bedroom it’s too easy to open the TV or decide you go to take a nap when you face a difficult task you would prefer to avoid, and I’m even not talking about trying to study from my bed.
I found two solutions for this problem, the first and best one it’s to study in a different room, better outside of your house, however even if it’s just a different room in the same house it’s also a great option, you just need a room that you know is your studying room and it’s the only thing you do in this room.
If you’re not that lucky and the bedroom it’s the only studying space you have, what I did and helped me was to design and organize my room in a way that it will be more comfortable for me to study and with fewer distractions (without the TV in front of my eyes) And more importantly to decide what my relationship with my desk and bed will be. I decided that while in my bed I will only sleep, not listen to music, no Netflix, nothing, only sleeping is allowed in my bed.
The second thing was that I decided that when I sit at my desk I am allowed to do nothing but study. Not check my phone, no news or sports website, nothing only studying. It had two effects, I wasn’t allowed to distract myself when I study, the second was that for studying the only action I needed to do to study is to just sit in front of my desk and the rest will follow, because by making to sit in front of my decision to study and studying is just the action that follows it. It made it much easier to start study without the mental effort it required before.
Shut down your smartphone push notifications and the internet and leave your phone out of the room
For me, it was the most obvious first step I thought I should take if I want to reduce distractions and noise. You might think “But hey….. I should know what’s going on, what’s happen in the world, to receive messages” those thoughts are far from the truth for most of us.
The era of smartphones and social media gave the individual person easy access to any piece of information he wants, easier and faster than ever before, you don’t even need to unlock your phone for reading notifications. The problem with it it’s that we became addicted to this wave of information and we think we must stay updated on everything in real-time.
The reality it’s that for most of us, in 99% of the cases (or even more) it doesn’t really matter if we will be updated about messages, calling, and news in the delay of few hours, few days, and for honestly in my opinion even few weeks. It’s not like something really dramatic will happen if you will see the answer to a WhatsApp message in a delay of a few hours. If you get news notifications and you get notifications about the beginning of world war 3, it’s not like you have something to do with this information. What’s the difference if you know something now or 6 hours from now? In 99.99% there is no difference.
You can’t really study with your phone in the room and with notifications, it’s too tempting not to check the last notification. Even if the phone is on silent mode, it’s tempting to check if you received some new messages or updates, we are addicted to this, and we must admit it.
Give yourself some time without notifications (days or weeks) and you” ll see not only your screen time decrease dramatically but also you” ll have less need for checking what’s going on in your WhatsApp, social media, or news apps. As a result, the phone will be less tempting and less distracting.
The second thing it’s not to put your phone in the same room you study in, if you study somewhere outside of the house, leave it somewhere you can’t see it like your backpack.
I can’t really underestimate the importance of this one. Have your phone outside make your phone much less distracting and as a result, it helps you to be much more productive and focus on what you should focus on.
The thing here it’s to really shape your environment to make you more productive and a huge part of it it’s to decrease the potential distractions to be as little as possible.
Once you figured out how you need to shape your environment in order to get maximum productivity, your life becomes much easier and you can work and study better and more in less time and make more meaningful progress.