How to avoid distractions if you are trying to study in this modern world full of distractions? Many distractions have a negative impact when we are trying to concentrate to study. We tend to underestimate how much is going around us and how distracted we are on a daily basis.
When we read, we might have background sounds such as the television or conversations from people around us. When we are trying to focus on studying, the background noise can be really annoying but we are not fully aware of how those sounds can distract us from the task in front of us. Measured in the lab, our ability to continue studying is significantly worse when followed by background speech.
What are some of the most common distractions to your studying?
One study recorded eye movements from participants who were reading and listening to irrelevant background noise. The results of the study showed that participants needed to re-read certain parts and re-examine what they read. Participants could not ignore the speech in the background. They were trying to do two things at the same time: listen to the speech in the background and understand what they’ve read.
Listening to music is a common distraction that many students choose to have. According to a recent study, 62% of students are listening to music while doing homework or studying. Again, eye movement tracking shows that listening to music has the same effects as background speech. The reason behind this is that most of the music that we listen to, has lyrics and a reader is trying to process (consciously or unconsciously) lyrics while studying. From the other side, listening to instrumental music doesn’t have a negative effect on understanding what we are reading. So, if you must listen to music and you can’t stand silence while studying, you probably should choose classical music rather than top pop songs.
Cell phone distraction while studying
Social media or smartphone notifications can distract you even if you study alone without any music or background noise. In another study, participants who study for three hours were exposed to 35 distractions on average by using their phones, using social media or browsing the internet for non-study purposes.
As you may notice, multi-tasking is the main reason why distractions have a negative impact on learning. We are texting while trying to learn. We scroll down our Facebook feed and all of that has a negative impact on our ability to focus again and study.
Additionally, students tend to overestimate their ability to multi-task. Teenagers and young adults are reporting that they are confident in multitasking abilities. However, their performance will be higher when they focus on only one task and this refers to any task, work of studying for an exam.
The result of the researches mentioned the above is leading to only one conclusion. We should decrease the level of distractions when studying if we want to be more productive. If you are trying to study have a technology break, by restricting the use of smartphones and the internet during that period of time when you should study. Avoid using smartphones and other devices while studying. Keep all your technology gadgets in a different room.
You might be confident that you can study in a busy Starbucks coffee shop or with the TV on, or with your phone next to you, but the chances are that you are not as good as you might think at processing all distractions and studying at the same time. Plan your studying sessions and try to minimize external distractions to improve your overall concentration and performance.