When it comes to studying at home effectively, being able to avoid a myriad of distractions is essential. Whether it’s other people, a huge range of devices, or a favorite hobby, anything can seem more important than diving into a long studying session. So, is it even possible to learn how to study at home without getting distracted?
The good news is, yes, it totally is doable. The hard part, however, is understanding what your triggers are and learning how to avoid them while committing to the amount of study you need to achieve your learning goals. In this article, we’re going to look at how you do that and 10 essential tips that’ll help you get there.
How to Study at Home Without Getting Distracted
There are some simple solutions here, but you’d be surprised at how many people are doing even these. For example, choosing a place where there are fewer people.
This can be a room in your house where people are less likely to be coming and going. If there’s going to be loads of people passing through your kitchen in the evenings then this may not be the best choice. Whereas, a spare bedroom that’s not being used would be perfect. Less chance of people trying to engage in general chit-chat while you’re trying to get through your coursework.
Devices are great! Except when they’re not…
It’s also a good idea to study somewhere free from televisions, radios or other things that are likely to steal your attention. No matter how disciplined we think we are, a slightly boring section of course material can make anything else more interesting than what we are actually trying to learn.
Oh and don’t forget to place your phone on silent! Or at least put it somewhere it won’t distract you. No matter how disciplined we think we are, the phone is a major risk for distracting us while studying. A single beep or vibrate can have us eager to look and even if we don’t it has still pulled your attention and focus away from studying. To get the best results and study effectively put the phones away.
Home or Away?
For those days when your home is simply too busy and full of distractions, your college or local library may be a good choice. It can actually be a good idea to change it up once in a while. As long as it’s quiet and others are there to study rather than serve as a distraction. If you are unsure what works best for you, test out a few different locations and times and identify where and when you studied most efficiently.
The key is to find the optimal study environment for your needs and the one that you find yourself most productive. Once you find this, learning how to study without distractions will no longer be an issue. By determining this early in your course, you will have plenty of time to decide what works best for you and set up a routine that meets your needs.
10 top tips on how to study at home without getting distracted
Pre-committing to a task essentially involves reducing the ability to distract yourself. This can be achieved by doing something that essentially commits you to complete the task at hand.
A good way to do this is to create a list of the topics you would like to get done in a certain period of time. Then tick them off as you complete them. It sounds simple and it is. But it can be extremely effective because at the end of the period of study you can establish whether or not you have achieved your targets.
So, for example, you could set yourself a time period of 2 hours to get your essay wrote. At the end of the period, you will have either got the easy done or not and therefore you haven’t achieved your goal.
It is a good idea to give yourself a reward when you achieve your target. Although the sense of accomplishment in itself can provide many with the motivation they need to try hit another goal. The thought of a reward after completing your task will increase your productivity and help you avoid distractions. Rewards can be as simple as taking a break or stopping to do some exercise, but they are a proven way to enhance productivity.
However, when using this method it is important to establish realistic goals. If you are constantly not hitting your targets it may indicate that the goals you are setting yourself are too hard and unachievable. It is essential to consider what is a realistic period of time to complete a particular task and allow yourself adequate time to effectively learn the topic. Look at past results to determine what is appropriate for setting goals for yourself that are unrealistic will have an adverse effect on your motivation and mood.
Break Goals Down
It is also a very good idea to break a particular task down into stages, particularly if it is a long task. People often tend to get overwhelmed at the thoughts of learning a huge amount of content. By breaking it down into multiple stages it can really simplify it and make it easier to learn.
Additionally, each time you accomplish a stage within that particular task you will feel like you have had a breakthrough and are likely to feel more motivated as you can see clearly the progress you are making. Learning will feel a lot quicker and will encourage you to keep moving forward.
When you commit yourself to undertake a particular task you must remove anything that will affect your ability to complete the task in that period. This can be achieved by removing all items that could pose as potential distractions. Basically, you are attempting to remove all other activities and so that you are ultimately only left with the task at hand.
This could involve setting yourself up in a room that is silent, where there is less chance of others distracting you, no television, no phone or social media etc. that could potentially prevent you from working on your task.
At the end of your study period, it is a good idea to reflect on how it went. This is a good way to monitor whether the approaches that you have adopted for learning a particular topic has been effective or whether you may need to adjust things to make the process more efficient and yield better results next time.
This monitoring of your performance can be done on a daily or weekly basis but it is essential for identifying improvements and establishing where you are in relationship to your goals. It is a good way to end a week and prepare a plan of what needs to be done for the week ahead. It will enable you to assess whether your particular schedule, techniques and place of studying are proving to be effective.
3) LIST YOUR DISTRACTIONS
While you can make all the attempts in the world to eliminate all potential distractions, your mind can still throw thoughts at you when you are trying to learn a topic. A good way to deal with this is to have a sheet of paper beside you so that when a distracting thought comes into your head you can just write it down on the piece of paper.
This way it removes the thought from your mind and you can research it later rather than stopping what you are doing to look it up there and then. It essentially allows you to return back to what you were doing much quicker and allows you to stop fixating on the other issue that your mind has thrown up.
If you need to use your computer for what you are learning but find it difficult to stay off social media sites, there are a number of apps available that will prevent access to websites such as Facebook for a set period of time.
These apps are also available for your phone, so you can bring it into the study room with you but they block certain social media website for a certain period of time or prevent you from using the phone for a set period.
Example of apps that can help avoid distractions:
If you are looking at a lot of information, particularly information that is not related to the topic you are learning about you are causing your brain to become fatigued. Every time your brain sees the information you are causing it to make decisions relating to what to do with that information. As a result, this uses your brain’s resources and ultimately reduces its effectiveness when it comes to focusing on the topic at hand.
Therefore it is important to avoid browsing the internet when attempting to learn a topic as it as reduces your ability to concentrate and increases the chances of becoming distracted. When we browse a news site our brain sees so much information and attempts to make decisions as to what to do with that information it sees.
If you have to look up information in relation to what you are studying you must be more intentional about what you are doing and avoid reading unrelated things.
For effective study and concentration, it is important to establish a study environment that is distraction-free and quiet. Set aside a specific time and place where you are going to study every day. You should find an area where there is less chance of people just randomly calling around or coming in and out of your room. You should even make it known that when you’re in this area you are studying and to not bother you during those hours.
Put away your smartphone, tablet, etc. Remove all those obvious things that are likely to be distractions. Place them on the opposite side of the room or even in another room.
You could turn off your internet connection completely to ensure that there is no temptation to browse the internet while attempting to studying. If you require information that is online, see can you download it before you begin the study.
If you find yourself becoming distracted during your studying period you should just take a few minutes to concentrate on your breathing. This is a very effective technique that will allow you to return back to learning sooner than other methods.
So when you find yourself becoming distracted from what you are doing then simply close your eyes and breathe in for two seconds, then breathe out for two seconds. Repeat a few times until the urge to become distracted is removed.
Stay positive. Research has indicated that positive emotions enhance the brain’s executive function, which can yield better levels of creativity and strategic thinking.
Being mindful while studying can help you to remain calm and focused on the task at hand. Mindfulness can boost creativity and help reduce stress. It encourages you to bring your attention back to what you are doing at that moment. It is a great way to help you avoid being distracted by other thoughts and your imagination.
When another thought comes into your head, acknowledge it and maybe even give it a label. Then calmly return your attention back to what you are doing.
To help you remain mindful during your study period you may find it useful to focus on your breathing occasionally or become aware of your posture. These are effective ways of helping you stay present as you try to complete your task.
Some people find that using phrases such as “be here now” or “be present” helps them stay in the moment and focus on what they are doing. Every time they notice that their mind is wandering, they simply repeat the phrase and return their concentration back to the main task.
Harvard Business Review suggests that establishing rituals in your routines can be an effective way to maintain focus and enhance work efforts. They suggest that rituals are about stopping for a moment to give attention to what you’re about to do, and what you’ve just done.
This level of focus can enable you to complete tasks more proficiently and enhance productivity. Research has found that this form of singular focus can increase your efficiency.
Establishing daily routines using an array of techniques which work best for you can greatly enhance your focus, concentration and work levels.
10) CALM MUSIC
Listening to calm music can help some people concentrate and remain focused while studying. Avoid pop music or anything that is likely to get too pumped up as this is likely to cause a distraction and diminish your concentration and focus.
Alpha Wave Music can be used in the background as you study. There is plenty on youtube that you can listen too, such as the following two videos.
So, now you know how to study at home without getting distracted
These tips should ensure you can not only spot potential distractions before they appear, but know how to combat them when it comes down to it.
Keep in mind, studying won’t last forever, but there’s a reason you’re choosing to do this. Keep those reasons in mind when committing to your study time table and plan ahead to avoid anything that pulls you off-task. This might even mean there are some days you make the decision not to study at home at all. Instead, you’ll find somewhere else that’ll will let you study unbothered for the day.
If you keep these tips in mind, you’ll have no problem knowing how to study at home without getting distracted.