What is Digital Distractions? While engaged in another activity, one is distracted by a technology gadget (e.g., smartphone, laptop, tablet). Completing academic activities inside and outside of the classroom, students use mobile devices for recreational purposes. Attending to academic work in the classroom, students use digital devices (e.g., smartphones, laptop computers) for off-task activities. Intentional and/or automatic cognitive and/or behavioral changes away from a primary task domain and toward digital media. When digital gadgets are utilized for activities that are not related to class or work, this might lead to problems. Texting, emailing, surfing the web, utilizing social media, and playing games are all examples of this.
Do you check your phone regularly in class, at work, or in social situations? Are you stopped or distracted by notifications or want to look for them when you’re taking a class online from home? Do you take a break from studying every few minutes to text, check Facebook, or watch a YouTube video? If this describes you, you are not alone. While internet distractions are widespread, they can be detrimental to your study habits, disrupting your concentration and making your reading and studying unproductive.
The good news is that there are methods for breaking bad technology habits and refocusing your attention on your schoolwork. This handout contains advice and strategies to help you avoid distractions and stay on track when it counts.
Can Digital Distractions Be Beneficial?
Is digital distractions a blessing or a curse? We miss deadlines, fail lessons, and smash into other cars when we are not paying full attention to what we should be doing. It costs money to be easily distracted. Regardless, we enjoy our diversions! What would we do without social media, spectator sports, movies, novels, TV shows, the news, and video games? You can check the online mock test for NEET
Distractions have advantages, as proven by the fact that practically everyone on the planet seeks them out. But why is that? What use do they serve, even though they seem to drag us away from more important things? And, when we seem to succumb to distractions, how can we verify that they are serving us well?
When Can Digital Distractions Be Harmful?
Digital Distractions can assist us in coping with discomfort. But what about the many products and services that are meant to be so fantastic that we want to use them all the time, such as video games and social media sites? We have a hard time restricting our use of them and get caught in distractions.
The capacity to recognize why and how you use personal technology can mean the difference between healthy and unhealthy behavior. Take a peek at some of your favorite online pastimes. Examine your social media, video games, puzzles, TV shows, podcasts, news, and spectator sports usage. Are you utilizing them to develop future strength, skills, knowledge, and self-efficacy? Are you utilizing them to divert your attention away from an unpleasant reality? If the latter is the case, you may want to reassess the importance of these diversions in your life. If the pain you’re trying to avoid isn’t going away, no amount of diversion will help. Either you need to learn new coping skills or you need to heal what is damaged.
Techniques for Managing Your Technology
Remove any potential sources of digital distractions.
Anything that helps you stay focused on your studies and enter the deep concentration required for efficient learning will help you keep focused on your studies and limit the distractions or temptations produced by technology. Try one of the following suggestions:
- During class and study time, turn off all electronic devices.
- Place your phone in your book bag so that you won’t notice it.
- Turn off your phone’s notifications.
- Turn off any websites or programs that aren’t required for the current work.
- Move appealing apps to the third or fourth page of your phone screen so you can catch yourself accessing them without thinking.
- During class and study time, leave your phone and computer in your dorm.
- When you’re working at home, put your phone in another room.
- If you’re studying in the same room as someone watching TV or using their computer, use noise-canceling headphones or listen to white noise or instrumental music.
Practicing metacognition, or “thinking about thinking,” is another option. Observe the moods, ideas, and other mental states that tempt you to pick up your phone or open your Twitter page (boredom, frustration, weariness, etc.). You’ll be able to notice when you’re prone to distraction with experience.
Encourage and motivate oneself.
Keep in mind your objectives. To remind yourself of your ambitions, write a message or a letter to your future self. When you find yourself being drawn into distractions, read this message. Stick sticky notes and reminders on your laptop, wall, and phone background to help you stay focused.
Keep in mind your justifications. Write down your WHY—what you’re working for and why you want to do well in school. Your motivation could be to make your family proud, to be the first in your family to graduate from college, to get a high enough GPA to gain admission to law school, or to do well enough to find a decent career after graduation. Post your WHY somewhere visible where you’ll see it often to remind yourself of why you’re working and why you need to concentrate. For more information and inspiration, watch these videos.
Turn your annoyances into benefits. Some distractions are simply sedentary habits. If you’re being distracted by something you want to do, promise yourself that once you’ve completed the work you set for yourself, you’ll devote your time and attention to the distraction.
You may, for example, use the Pomodoro method, in which 45 minutes of studying equals 10 minutes of doing something you enjoy. Promising yourself that you’ll watch the next episode of your show after you finish a project may help you focus your efforts in a way that watching the show first may not.
To stay focused, employ creative techniques.
Make it a game to keep focused. Forest is an app that allows you to focus by allowing you to build a tree on your phone. If you exit the app and move to another app on your phone after you’ve started growing the tree, the tree will die. The software keeps track of how many trees you grow over time. The Forest team collaborates with real-world tree-planting organizations, and when you spend your Forest coins, they donate to tree-planting efforts.
Make a list of everything you want to do. Use a to-do or list-making tool like Toodledo, Workflowy, Remember The Milk, or Evernote to keep track of your tasks.
Keep tabs on your progress. Timers, a progress indicator, and tempo options for work and break time are all included in the Phocus App.
You have control over what you see. To reduce distractions while working, utilize a full-screen mode, distraction-free writing program on your computer. Your words will be the only thing you see. Your internet usage should be limited or blocked.
To completely disconnect, put your device in airplane mode. There are also many apps and browser plugins that might assist you in restricting your internet usage:
- “A Firefox add-on that lets you decide which sites to ban and when to block them,” according to Leech Block.
- Stay Focused is a Chrome addon that “limits the amount of time you may spend on time-consuming websites.” The sites you’ve blocked will be unreachable for the remainder of the day once your designated time has run out.”
- Mac Freedom “…locks you out of the internet for up to eight hours at a time on Mac or Windows machines…”
- “An OS X application that limits access to incoming and outgoing mail servers and websites for a defined amount of time,” according to Self Control.
Make a schedule and set goals for yourself.
Set a timer for yourself. To stay on track, use stopwatches and timers. Use a mindfulness bell to help you focus. For an easy, systematic way to build in breaks, try the Pomodoro technique. Set a timer for 25 minutes and work entirely concentrated for that period. When the timer goes off, take a 5-minute break. Rinse, rinse, rinse, rinse, rinse, rinse, rinse, rinse, rinse It’s a fantastic technique to stay away from burnout!
Make a schedule for your check-ins. Each day, set aside time to check your email and other important websites. Turn off notifications and put your laptop and phone aside when you can to avoid viewing these websites when you aren’t expecting them.
Make a schedule for yourself. Create a daily schedule and track your to-do items using a calendar or planner. Allow yourself minor breaks for movement and technology checks, but keep focused on work when it’s time to work.
Have a goal in mind. Each event, study session, or to-do item on your calendar should have a time and an objective. Having precise study goals and action items helps you stay focused and on track.
Reduce the amount of time you spend studying. Make your study or schoolwork sessions as brief as possible (30-60 minutes). Taking mental pauses, even if only for five or ten minutes, is critical during a study session. Break up a long period into sessions with pauses in between if you have a lot of work to do.
Shorter study times can help you avoid being distracted or turning to technology.
Be aware of potential distractions. Try to foresee probable hurdles before you begin working. How will you limit the amount of time you spend talking to a friend if you’re studying at the library? How will you keep on track if you work from home and have to stop to let the dog out? What strategies can you take to keep focused if you have noisy or distracting roommates?
Seek to be held accountable.
It can be difficult to keep electronics out of class and during study time, but you don’t have to go it alone.
- Make an appointment with a Learning Center academic coach to talk about how technology influences your study time, develop methods, and stick to them.
- Solicit the help of a classmate or a friend to hold you accountable. Give this individual your phone or have them call you to see how your studies are doing.
- If you’re working from home, ask a family member or roommate to check in with you every thirty minutes or an hour to see how things are going.
- To get things done, meet up with a pal in person or digitally. Work separately and check in with each other regularly to share your progress.
Continue your journey.
Some of these tactics can assist you in reducing digital distractions and focusing daily. It’s quite fine if not all of these tactics work for you. Experiment with them until you find a couple that works for you, and then stick to them. It’s alright to revert to your distracting digital habits now and then—you’re only human, after all. Keep track of when you’re doing it and get back on track as soon as possible.
There are several digital distractions available, but they are all manageable. Students can handle these intricacies on their own, and in the case of younger students, parents may always intervene. They will be able to concentrate on their lectures and engage actively once they have dealt with these digital distractions.