How to Avoid Distractions

Lauren Welch is a Texas State University graduate with a degree in Mass Communication, specializing in journalism. She is currently a recreation gymnastics coach at Iarov Elite Gymnastics and is avidly looking for new opportunities in the journalism field. Lauren enjoys quoting Charles Bukowski, reading the AP Stylebook (yes, for fun), and long walks to the refrigerator.

Finals have wrapped up & most students are heading home for a well needed holiday break. The last thing on their minds is preparing for more tests. Sure, by now they’re thinking of baked ham and candy canes. But for when they do get back to it, I’ve compiled a few helpful tips for when they start preparing for that first exam of the new semester.
The Internet
Your biggest tool while studying will be the internet. With so many options available to help you, it’s nearly impossible to study without it. The problem? Distractions.
• Rule #1: Stay clear of YouTube.
Unless you’re watching a helpful video on the subject you’re studying, the only thing YouTube is going to do is distract you from your work. You’ll open up one video, just for a minute, then somehow you’re clicking on another…and another…and another, until you’ve come across that video of a baby panda sneezing. You look at the clock. You’ve just spent an hour watching videos. Where’d that time go?
• Rule #2: Avoid social networking sites.
The same goes for social networking sites. You’ll click onto Facebook for a quick break then get lost in it. You see that Jenny and her boyfriend changed their relationship status…again, so obviously you have to investigate. Look, John got a new puppy. You have to look at the new pictures he posted. Maybe you should post a status update? Maybe you should post that video of the baby panda sneezing. And on and on it goes.
See the problem? Getting lost in social networking is a surefire way to let valuable study time slip away from you.
• Rule #3: Break wisely.
Everyone needs a break while studying. If you don’t, your head might possibly explode. Not literally, just to clarify, but you’ll definitely overload yourself with information.
Even though breaking up your studying is the best way to go, you have to be cautious. A quick 15 minute break checking you twitter timeline can easily turn into an hour if you aren’t paying attention. I suggest setting an alarm for yourself so you have a set time to finish up your break. The distractions are endless so stay focused.
Cellphones
Dealing with your phone is a bit tricky while studying. What if your mom calls? What if it’s an emergency? You can’t turn it off, you just can’t. What do you do?
Let’s be honest, that probably isn’t the reason you aren’t turning your phones off. You’re probably waiting on someone to text or Snapchat you so you have an excuse to look away from your notes. Or maybe you’ve been alerted that someone mentioned you in a tweet. If the tweet contains a link to the sneezing panda video DON’T OPEN IT.
Anyway, it’s fine. We’re all guilty of checking our phone when we probably shouldn’t, but self-control will be your biggest obstacle if you can’t keep it in check. Here’s my suggestion for those of you who just can’t put their phones down: put it on silent while you study, put it as far away from you as you can, then only check it during your breaks. That way when you check it and have these notifications you can look at them without getting distracted from your studies.

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