How to avoid someone trying to distract you in the classroom

Avoiding Avoidance in the Classroom

Recently a Principal asked me why he was seeing so many students going to the bathroom all day… there are of course many reasons – however I suggested it was possibly not an epidemic of incontinence, it is more likely to be an avoidance tactic.

Students can be extremely smart at avoiding doing anything that might be challenging, hard, difficult or simply outside of their comfort zone.

I asked a group of teachers to list the strategies their students use to avoid work? Here are some…

  • Needing a drink of water
  • Sharpening a pencilHow to avoid someone trying to distract you in the classroom
  • Helping someone else
  • Looking busy
  • Tidying up/cleaning up
  • Starting a non-relevant conversation with the teacher
  • Walking around the classroom looking for something
  • Going to the cloakroom to get ‘something’
  • Feeling sick (which is a real physiological response to stress)
  • Offering to be a messenger for the office
  • Telling the teacher that someone else is not doing their work!
  • The list goes on…

When I asked the students in a school the same question they reiterated the above, and added a couple of my favourites:

  • “I hide my pencil and then spend 15 minutes looking for it!”
  • “I pretend to be writing and when the teacher comes close, I look like I’m thinking!”

How to avoid someone trying to distract you in the classroomI believe one of the best ways to deal with avoidance is to address the ‘elephant in the room’ and simply talk about it. Make students aware that you know the behaviours they are exhibiting are about avoidance and then teach explicit strategies to overcome the avoidance.

Just asking students to stay on task and persist is not enough. Christchurch Teacher and DP, Adrian Rennie, created a wonderful lesson and conversation for his class… The road to success is paved with persistence. Adrian has cleverly and accurately distilled the essence of success and avoidance strategies in this simple, yet powerful road map.

How to avoid someone trying to distract you in the classroom

He talked to his students about getting caught in the side roads of Joke Valley, Temptation Alley, Boredom Town, Don’t Start Land, Too Hard Town, Class Clownville, Half Done Hill, Pain Central, Come Back Later, Competition Land, Mount Metacognition, Fascination Land and finally arriving at Mount Success. (Do these sound familiar?) Once having named the ‘elephant in the room’ students were acutely aware of their avoidance strategies and even coached each other. One student was overheard complaining he was bored. Quick as a flash, another turned and said, “Well you better get out of that town fast!”

Another strategy is simply naming the behaviour and offering support. For example: “You are doing x to avoid x, is there anything I can do to help you?”

I recently gave students a very challenging task as part of a model lesson series at an Australian school. I was upfront with them by explaining that they would find the activity difficult. In the middle of the lesson, a boy burst into tears. Before I could intervene, I overheard another child say, “It’s supposed to be hard.” The young boy looked up, shrugged, smiled and got back on with the task.

The use of metaphors for learning are important. I use the Monarch Butterfly as a How to avoid someone trying to distract you in the classroommetaphor for why the struggle is important. The struggle to emerge from the chrysalis is how the butterfly wings become strong. If the butterfly is assisted out of the chrysalis, it will die. The struggle makes it strong. This is also true of our students. When we as teachers jump in and rescue learners too soon, we are denying them the chance to develop the muscles of problem solving, thinking and getting themselves unstuck next time.

Other techniques that may assist to minimise the avoidance epidemic include;

  • Teaching planning and time management techniques
  • Ensuring the work students are doing is relevant, engaging and purposeful (Although not all work in life is like this- sometimes you just have to knuckle down and get on with it)
  • Positive reinforcement
  • Creating time for students to work on their own projects and passions
  • Provide brain breaks
  • Ensure students are hydrated
  • Showing students their next learning steps
  • Explicitly teaching focus strategies
  • and again the list goes on…

In what ways do you positively deal with avoidance in your classroom?

Adah Chung is a fact checker, writer, researcher, and occupational therapist.

How to avoid someone trying to distract you in the classroom

Most high-school and even middle-school teachers are in a constant battle with smartphones and other devices for attention in the classroom. Students are finding ways to text, surf the web, and post on social media all while the teacher is instructing. They hide their devices in their lap, a sweatshirt pocket, or even in an open pocket of their backpack. The end result is that they are only half-present in the classroom for much of the time.

Overview

A new study found that college students also are spending more class time than ever using their smartphones and other devices. In fact, the study found that students check their phones and other devices more than 11 times a day on average. And, it is not just a quick glance to see if someone is trying to reach them. Instead, they are spending up to 20% of their classroom time texting, emailing, surfing the web, checking social media, and even playing games.

And they clearly don’t see a problem with these behaviors. Nearly 30% of the students said they could use their digital devices without distracting from their learning. And more than a quarter of them said it was their choice if they wanted to use a smartphone or other device while class was taking place.

Likewise, many students surveyed felt that the benefits of using digital devices for non-class purposes outweighed any distractions they caused in the classroom. And more than 11% of those surveyed felt that they could not stop themselves from using their devices.

Smartphone Use and Lower Grades

While there is little argument that smartphones and other devices can be distracting for students in classrooms, there is new research that shows using electronic devices in the classroom can even lower students’ grades.

In a study published in the Journal of Educational Psychology researchers found that of the 118 upper-level college students studied, the students with laptops and cell phones open for non-classroom purposes scored half a letter grade lower on exams.  

This grade could be the difference between passing and failing for some students. Even students who were enrolled in the same class as the device-users scored lower even though they did use a device during class. The researchers speculate that this was likely due to the surrounding distractions from others using electronic devices.

It’s also important to note that while having a device did not lower comprehension scores within the lecture, it did lower the end of the term exam by as much as 5% or half a grade.   These findings demonstrate that the main effect of divided attention in the classroom is on long-term retention.

Meanwhile, another study conducted by Stanford University shows that intense multitasking decreases the efficiency of completing a given task.   The conclusion here is that smartphones and other electronic devices can reduce a student’s ability to think to their full potential.

Why Distraction Impacts Learning

According to the book The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World, students become distracted when they are pursuing a goal that really matters and something blocks their efforts to achieve it. This is what happens when technology is used in the classroom.

The students’ attention is divided between two tasks—what the teacher is trying to teach and what the student is trying to do on the digital device. The result is that fewer items regarding those two tasks will be able to be recalled or retained.

Another way to understand distraction is to look at the research conducted by neuroscientist Adam Aron of the University of California San Diego and postdoctoral scholar Jan Wessel. They found that the brain system that is involved in interrupting or stopping movement in our bodies also interrupts cognition.

This area of the brain is engaged when you make an abrupt stop in action due to an unexpected event like a text message or a notification, clears out what you were thinking (or what the teacher was teaching). This function of the brain used to serve an important role when humans were faced with danger and needed to focus on what was happening at that moment. But with all the chirps and chimes of technology, this brain function can have a negative impact.

Solutions

Most educators agree that the answer is not banning devices from the classroom. Not only is a technology ban counterintuitive to the world we live in, but it also could inadvertently single out students with accommodations that need those devices to participate in class.

Instead, teachers, as well as students, need to change their practices. Teachers need to adapt to the reality that smartphones and other devices are here to stay. Likewise, they need to realize that the number one reason students gave for turning on their devices in class was boredom.

Meanwhile, students need to recognize that reaching for their smartphone during class will impact their overall learning. And while they may still be able to pass tests that are given right away, when it comes time for final exams or standardized tests, they will not retain as much information as they would have if they had never turned on their smartphone in class. Consequently, students need to learn how to self-regulate when it comes to using technology in the classroom.

A Word From Verywell

If you have a student with smartphone addiction, you may want to have a discussion about how cell phone use in the classroom could be impacting his grades. Additionally, you may also want to establish some ground rules regarding technology use. By starting early, you can help instill good self-regulation skills in your teens so that when they are freshmen in college they will be less tempted to pull out their cell phones when a lecture gets boring.

How to avoid someone trying to distract you in the classroom

It’s not uncommon for children in the classroom to do things to get your attention. Too much attention-seeking can be disruptive, causing trouble and creating distractions. The attention-seeking child will often interrupt a lesson by blurting something out. Their desire for attention is almost insatiable, so much so that the child often doesn’t seem to care whether the attention they receive is positive or negative. In many cases, it doesn’t even seem to matter how much attention you give them. The more you give, the more they seek.

Causes of Attention-Seeking Behavior

The attention-seeking child is in need of more attention than most. They seem to have something to prove and don’t take as much pride intrinsically as they do extrinsically. This child may not have a sense of belonging. They may also suffer from low self-esteem, in which case they will need some help building their confidence. Sometimes, the attention-seeker is simply immature. If this is the case, adhere to the interventions below and the child will eventually outgrow their craving for attention.

Interventions

As a teacher, it is important to remain calm in the classroom even in the face of frustration. The attention-seeking child will always present challenges, and you must deal with them in an even-handed way. Remember that your ultimate goal is to help the child become confident and independent.

What you put on your classroom walls can affect your students’ ability to learn.

Heavily decorated classrooms can bombard students with too much visual information, interfering with their memory and ability to focus, a new study finds.

This is just the latest study to examine the relationship between classroom environment and students’ executive functions, which include skills like memory, attention, and self-regulation. While teachers have good intentions when decorating, many classrooms end up being “sensory-rich” in a way that “could hamper children’s learning gains rather than help,” according to psychologists Pedro Rodrigues and Josefa Pandeirada, who coauthored the study.

To understand how decorations affect learning, Rodrigues and Pandeirada recruited 64 children between 8 and 12 years old to perform attention and memory tasks in two groups. For the high-decoration group, the walls of the room were covered with numerous pictures of ordinary objects and scenes, such as cars, musical instruments, and trees. Walls in the control group’s room, on the other hand, were bare.

How to avoid someone trying to distract you in the classroom

The children performed a series of tasks designed to test their attention and memory. In one attention test, for example, they observed a laptop screen, pressing a button if an X appeared and doing nothing if a K appeared. In a memory test reminiscent of the electronic game Simon Says, the children observed nine blue squares that changed to yellow in varying sequences, which the children attempted to repeat. A total of four tests were given—two for memory and two for attention.

Compared to children in the bare-wall room, children in the high-decoration room performed worse on all tests, which suggests that too much visual stimulus can be a distraction.

“Overall, the results from these studies indicate that children could have difficulty in ignoring visual distractors when these are embedded in the surrounding environment,” the study authors explain.

Classrooms Should Be Engaging, Not Distracting

That’s not to say that every wall must be bare. In 2015, a team of researchers in the U.K. analyzed 153 classrooms and found that students benefited most when the walls had some decorations. “The displays on the walls should be designed to provide a lively sense to the classroom, but without becoming chaotic in feel. As a rule of thumb, 20 to 50 percent of the available wall space should be kept clear,” the researchers wrote.

So what do researchers say teachers should do?

  • Display student work. Students not only feel a greater sense of responsibility for their learning but are also more likely to remember the material (Barrett et al., 2015).
  • Feature inspiring role models. Putting up images—and short stories or quotes—featuring heroes and leaders can help students gain a greater sense of belonging and aspiration, especially when their backgrounds and interests are represented. Strive for inclusion, but avoid token or stereotypical representations—they can be damaging to students’ self-esteem (Cheryan et al., 2014).
  • Avoid clutter. Keep at least 20 percent of your wall space clear, and leave ample space between displays so they don’t look disorganized. Resist the temptation to keep adding decorations—it’s better to swap them out than to keep adding more (Barrett et al., 2015).
  • Visual aids—like anchor charts, maps, and diagrams—are OK. Posters that reinforce a lesson, rather than distract from it, can boost student learning. But don’t forget to take down ones that are no longer helpful (Carney & Levin, 2002; Bui & McDaniel, 2015).
  • Avoid displays of student scores or grades. Many teachers use data walls to motivate students, and while they can work for high performers, they can backfire for struggling students, leading to feelings of shame and demoralization (Marsh et al., 2014).
  • Let in natural light. Don’t cover up your windows with decorations unless you have a problem with glare or outside distractions. Students who are exposed to more natural light in their classrooms outperform peers who get less natural light in math and reading (Cheryan et al., 2014). If you don’t have windows, making sure the room is well lit can boost achievement (Barrett et al., 2015).
  • Balance wall colors. You don’t have to stick with four white walls—try having a single feature wall painted a bright color, with the rest being muted (Barrett et al., 2015).

Developing Brains

While decorating walls is a favorite pastime for many teachers, young children may not respond as teachers hope.

other words for distract

How to avoid someone trying to distract you in the classroom

antonyms of distract

  • anger
  • bore
  • calm
  • clarify
  • clear up
  • comfort
  • explain
  • tire
  • upset
  • help
  • make happy
  • soothe

USE distract IN A SENTENCE

See how your sentence looks with different synonyms.

QUIZZES

Brabble No More! Let’s Agree This Week’s Quiz Is Effulgent!

EXAMPLE SENTENCES FROM THE WEB

WORDS RELATED TO DISTRACT

agitate

  • alarm
  • argue
  • arouse
  • bug
  • bug up
  • burn up
  • confuse
  • craze
  • debate
  • discompose
  • disconcert
  • discuss
  • dispute
  • disquiet
  • distract
  • disturb
  • egg on
  • examine
  • excite
  • ferment
  • flurry
  • fluster
  • get to
  • incite
  • inflame
  • make flip
  • move
  • perturb
  • psych
  • push buttons
  • rouse
  • ruffle
  • spook
  • stimulate
  • stir
  • trouble
  • turn on
  • unhinge
  • upset
  • ventilate
  • work up
  • worry

agitating

  • alarm
  • argue
  • arouse
  • bug
  • bug up
  • burn up
  • confuse
  • craze
  • debate
  • discompose
  • disconcert
  • discuss
  • dispute
  • disquiet
  • distract
  • disturb
  • egg on
  • examine
  • excite
  • ferment
  • flurry
  • fluster
  • get to
  • incite
  • inflame
  • make flip
  • move
  • perturb
  • psych
  • push buttons
  • rouse
  • ruffle
  • spook
  • stimulate
  • stir
  • trouble
  • turn on
  • unhinge
  • upset
  • ventilate
  • work up
  • worry

befuddle

  • addle
  • baffle
  • ball up
  • bewilder
  • bother
  • daze
  • disorient
  • distract
  • dumbfound
  • fluster
  • inebriate
  • intoxicate
  • make punchy
  • mix up
  • muddle
  • puzzle
  • shake
  • stupefy
  • throw off

befuddles

  • addle
  • baffle
  • ball up
  • bewilder
  • bother
  • daze
  • disorient
  • distract
  • dumbfound
  • fluster
  • inebriate
  • intoxicate
  • make punchy
  • mix up
  • muddle
  • puzzle
  • shake
  • stupefy
  • throw off

beguile

  • amuse
  • attract
  • cheer
  • delight
  • distract
  • divert
  • engross
  • entertain
  • entice
  • knock dead
  • knock out
  • lure
  • occupy
  • seduce
  • send
  • slay
  • solace
  • sweep off one’s feet
  • tickle
  • tickle pink
  • tickle to death
  • turn on
  • vamp
  • wow

beguiled

  • amuse
  • attract
  • cheer
  • delight
  • distract
  • divert
  • engross
  • entertain
  • entice
  • knock dead
  • knock out
  • lure
  • occupy
  • seduce
  • send
  • slay
  • solace
  • sweep off one’s feet
  • tickle
  • tickle pink
  • tickle to death
  • turn on
  • vamp
  • wow

WORD OF THE DAY

bricolage noun | [bree-k uh – lahzh , brik- uh – ] SEE DEFINITION

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Adah Chung is a fact checker, writer, researcher, and occupational therapist.

How to avoid someone trying to distract you in the classroom

Most high-school and even middle-school teachers are in a constant battle with smartphones and other devices for attention in the classroom. Students are finding ways to text, surf the web, and post on social media all while the teacher is instructing. They hide their devices in their lap, a sweatshirt pocket, or even in an open pocket of their backpack. The end result is that they are only half-present in the classroom for much of the time.

Overview

A new study found that college students also are spending more class time than ever using their smartphones and other devices. In fact, the study found that students check their phones and other devices more than 11 times a day on average. And, it is not just a quick glance to see if someone is trying to reach them. Instead, they are spending up to 20% of their classroom time texting, emailing, surfing the web, checking social media, and even playing games.

And they clearly don’t see a problem with these behaviors. Nearly 30% of the students said they could use their digital devices without distracting from their learning. And more than a quarter of them said it was their choice if they wanted to use a smartphone or other device while class was taking place.

Likewise, many students surveyed felt that the benefits of using digital devices for non-class purposes outweighed any distractions they caused in the classroom. And more than 11% of those surveyed felt that they could not stop themselves from using their devices.

Smartphone Use and Lower Grades

While there is little argument that smartphones and other devices can be distracting for students in classrooms, there is new research that shows using electronic devices in the classroom can even lower students’ grades.

In a study published in the Journal of Educational Psychology researchers found that of the 118 upper-level college students studied, the students with laptops and cell phones open for non-classroom purposes scored half a letter grade lower on exams.  

This grade could be the difference between passing and failing for some students. Even students who were enrolled in the same class as the device-users scored lower even though they did use a device during class. The researchers speculate that this was likely due to the surrounding distractions from others using electronic devices.

It’s also important to note that while having a device did not lower comprehension scores within the lecture, it did lower the end of the term exam by as much as 5% or half a grade.   These findings demonstrate that the main effect of divided attention in the classroom is on long-term retention.

Meanwhile, another study conducted by Stanford University shows that intense multitasking decreases the efficiency of completing a given task.   The conclusion here is that smartphones and other electronic devices can reduce a student’s ability to think to their full potential.

Why Distraction Impacts Learning

According to the book The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World, students become distracted when they are pursuing a goal that really matters and something blocks their efforts to achieve it. This is what happens when technology is used in the classroom.

The students’ attention is divided between two tasks—what the teacher is trying to teach and what the student is trying to do on the digital device. The result is that fewer items regarding those two tasks will be able to be recalled or retained.

Another way to understand distraction is to look at the research conducted by neuroscientist Adam Aron of the University of California San Diego and postdoctoral scholar Jan Wessel. They found that the brain system that is involved in interrupting or stopping movement in our bodies also interrupts cognition.

This area of the brain is engaged when you make an abrupt stop in action due to an unexpected event like a text message or a notification, clears out what you were thinking (or what the teacher was teaching). This function of the brain used to serve an important role when humans were faced with danger and needed to focus on what was happening at that moment. But with all the chirps and chimes of technology, this brain function can have a negative impact.

Solutions

Most educators agree that the answer is not banning devices from the classroom. Not only is a technology ban counterintuitive to the world we live in, but it also could inadvertently single out students with accommodations that need those devices to participate in class.

Instead, teachers, as well as students, need to change their practices. Teachers need to adapt to the reality that smartphones and other devices are here to stay. Likewise, they need to realize that the number one reason students gave for turning on their devices in class was boredom.

Meanwhile, students need to recognize that reaching for their smartphone during class will impact their overall learning. And while they may still be able to pass tests that are given right away, when it comes time for final exams or standardized tests, they will not retain as much information as they would have if they had never turned on their smartphone in class. Consequently, students need to learn how to self-regulate when it comes to using technology in the classroom.

A Word From Verywell

If you have a student with smartphone addiction, you may want to have a discussion about how cell phone use in the classroom could be impacting his grades. Additionally, you may also want to establish some ground rules regarding technology use. By starting early, you can help instill good self-regulation skills in your teens so that when they are freshmen in college they will be less tempted to pull out their cell phones when a lecture gets boring.

Teachers should avoid the reflexive language of anger or frustration. Here’s a list of these sayings, framed as opportunities to constructively address difficult student behavior.

How to avoid someone trying to distract you in the classroom

When I was a new teacher in middle school several centuries ago, I occasionally said things to students that I later regretted. In the last few years, I have witnessed or heard teachers say additional regretful things to students. Recently I asked students in my graduate courses (all practicing teachers) if they ever told their students anything they regret. After hearing these regrets and talking with children about what teachers said that bothered them, I compiled a list of things that never should be said.

I’ve narrowed my list to 13 representative items. Some of these are related to control issues, others to motivation, and still more to management. All reflect frustration and/or anger. Let’s start the upcoming school year by wiping these sayings out of our vernacular.

1. “You have potential but don’t use it.”
Students feel insulted when they hear this, and while some accept it as a challenge to do better, more lose their motivation to care. Instead, say in a caring way, “How can I help you reach your full potential?”

2. “I’m disappointed in you.”
Of course we occasionally are disappointed in things that our students do. In addition, the result of openly expressing that disappointment depends as much on the way we say it as the words we use. But students have told me that they hate hearing a teacher say this. The problem with this saying is that it looks to the past. A more helpful approach looks to the future. The alternative might be more like, “What do you think you can do to make a more helpful decision the next time you are in a similar situation?”

3. “What did you say?”
This is the challenge that some teachers might throw down when walking away from a student after a private discussion about behavior and hearing that student whisper something. “What did you say?” is just bait for escalation. Do you really want to know what was whispered? It’s better to ignore that unheard comeback and move on. You don’t always need to have the last word.

4. “If I do that for you, I’ll have to do it for everyone.”
In our book, Discipline With Dignity, Al Mendler and I make a strong case for the policy that fair is not equal. You can’t treat everyone the same and be fair. Each student needs what helps him or her, and every student is different. Further, no one wants to think of him- or herself as one of a herd. It’s better to say, “I’m not sure if I can do that, but I’ll do my best to meet your needs in one way or another.”

5. “It’s against the rules.”
Rules are about behavior. Often there are many behaviors from which people can choose in order to solve a problem. Some may be within the rules. Try saying this instead: “Let me see if there’s a way to meet your need within the rules.”

6. “Your brother/sister was better than you.”
Never compare siblings or anyone else in a positive or negative way about anything. Comparisons can only lead to trouble regardless of which side of the coin the student is. My grandchildren always ask me, “Who’s your favorite?” What if I actually gave an answer?

7. “I like the way Toby is sitting.”
This is a manipulation to get the class to sit down. Saying this teaches children that manipulation works. It’s better to be direct and tell the truth by saying, “Class, please sit down.” In addition, any student who is never publicly singled out for something positive will resent you. While I used to employ this technique myself, I think the downside far outweighs the good, even if it works.

8. “You’ll never amount to anything.”
Not only is this an insult, but it is usually wrong. When I was young, I was told that I would never be a teacher. How many great people have been told this? How many of you have heard it?

9. “Who do you think you are?”
Do you really need to know who they think they are? This question is meant to say, “You are not as important as me!” This communicates sheer arrogance and is asking for a power struggle.

10. “Don’t you ever stop talking?”
This is a snide way of asking the student to stop talking. Never start with a question like, “Don’t you ever _______?” You can fill in any behavior or attitude: “listen,” “do your homework,” “try,” “care about your work.” Avoid the sarcasm and directly say what you are feeling.

11. “I’m busy now.”
Don’t dismiss a student this abruptly if they need you in some way. Show that you care by saying, “I’m very busy now, but you are very important to me. Unless this is an emergency, let’s find a better time to talk. I really want to hear what’s on your mind.”

12. “The whole class will miss _______ unless someone admits to _______.”
Collective punishment is never appropriate. There are many reasons why we should avoid collective punishment, but the most important is that if we want students to learn how to take responsibility for their behavior, they need somewhat predictable outcomes for their choices. When they’re punished for something they didn’t do, they see the world as an unpredictable place where consequences have nothing to do with choices. This is not what we want children to learn.

13. “What is wrong with you?”
This question implies a defect or an imperfect student. We are all imperfect, so the question is really only intended as an insult. What do you expect the student to answer? “I’m the son of abusive parents who hate me?” I have heard many professionals say that everyone is perfect at being who they are. A better approach is to say something like, “I see you have a problem. Let’s work together to find a solution.”

If a teacher loses his temper or gets frustrated and says one of these things once or even twice during the year, it’s understandable. For most students, a rare mishap makes no difference with a teacher who they respect and like. But if trust hasn’t been established, students are less forgiving when they feel insulted or wronged. On the other hand, we can say something nice or neutral that might be heard by a student as an insult. These instances are hard to avoid. What we can avoid is saying things that we know in advance are hurtful.

I wonder if any readers wish to add to my list.

Updated: Jul 12, 2018

College can be overwhelming when you’re trying to maintain your grades, work a part-time job and balance relationships. Most of us get distracted with push notifications, text messages and phone calls. According to recent research conducted by Dr. Larry Rosen, professor emeritus at California State University, Dominguez Hills, “the typical student” is “distracted for at least five out of every 15 minutes they set aside to study,” most often as a result of texting and social media use.

With so much going on, it can be very difficult to stay focused, but it’s not impossible.

Here are a few tips to help enhance your productivity:

  • Get organized with a to-do list
  • Silence alerts and keep open Internet tabs to a minimum
  • Break big projects into small pieces
  • Use music and headphones to cut down noise
  • Find the best environment for efficient studying
  • Clean up and organize your work space
  • Reward yourself for accomplishments

Make a Schedule or To-Do List

Juggling multiple projects and deadlines at school can be stressful. When you’re working on one assignment, it’s easy to forget about another. You can help organize your deadlines and manage your time more efficiently with a proper schedule. Figure out when you’re most productive and set time aside for homework and activities. Keeping a planner or digital calendar will help you keep track of your classes and assignments. Paper planners are perfect for those who like writing to-do lists and scheduling appointments by hand. One study suggests that the simple act of writing things out helps boost your concentration and memory. If you decide to go the digital route, you can easily sync your schedule across multiple devices and set reminders.

Turn Off Alerts

Constant notifications and text messages are every college student’s enemy. Put your phone on silent or in “Do Not Disturb” mode, and close unnecessary tabs on your computer. If you need the Internet, keep one tab open. You can fight online distractions by blocking or hiding time-wasting websites and apps.

Break Down Your Work into Smaller Tasks

Defeat procrastination by breaking a large project into small pieces. It’s easier to motivate yourself to do something in smaller tasks rather than jumping into a huge one. If you’re having a difficult time studying or getting work done, break up your time effectively. Try giving yourself a 10-minute break for every 45-50 minutes of work you do. Studies show that taking breaks can help you retain information and increase productivity.

Use Headphones

If you’re working in a noisy environment, use noise-canceling headphones. Listening to music through earbuds can also tune out distracting noises like people talking too loudly or construction work. Often, though, music with lyrics can be too distracting. Researchers suggest listening to classical or instrumental music to improve concentration.

Find the Right Place to Do Work

Some students work best with a little background noise, while others need complete quiet. Get to know your work style and the type of atmosphere you prefer. Are you the kind of person who works better in silence at the library? Or do you prefer the campus coffee shop with ambient noise? Try a few different spaces and see how each study session works out.

Clear Your Desk

your desk covered with stacks of papers? Is your computer monitor framed with layers of sticky notes? If so, it’s time to get organized. A messy workspace can keep you from getting your work done. Go through your desk and keep only the essentials. A clean workspace can help reduce anxiety and make room for motivation.

Reward Yourself

A little motivation can go a long way. Setting up a reward system is a good way to encourage yourself to do something. For example, if you finish an essay without any distractions, give yourself a reward like watching a TV show or taking a nap.

We all get overwhelmed with work, but don’t let distractions keep you from accomplishing your goals. By taking steps like the ones listed above, you can improve your productivity in no time.