Studying with distractions – how to avoid them

Distractions are everywhere. Studying while social distancing brings with it the unlimited access to Netflix, YouTube, Facebook and a myriad of other distractions. We asked our participants in this year’s 30 Minutes a Month program for some advice on how to avoid the distractions while we study.

Turn it off

Use noise cancelling headphones, closing the door and turning your phone on silent or turn it off completely.

Bronwyn Turner – (Master of Business Administration, 2019)

Turn off your phone before you study. All the messages will be there on the other side!

Aadi Ganesan – (Bachelor of Medical Sonography and Graduate Diploma of Medical Sonography, 2018)

Hide the phone away, turn Netflix and the TV off, and stay in a quiet and stress-free room!

Christopher Doring – (Bachelor of Engineering (Honours), 2016)

Turn off and avoid checking social media, put some music on and shut off the world around you.

Claire-Marie Pepper – (Bachelor of Science (Honours), 2018)

Put some boundaries in place. This could be putting your phone on silent, temporary blocking social media distractions. Setting an alarm clock for 1-hour study sessions, then 10-minute break, then study works really well too. There are lots of productivity apps that help as well.

Talia Fiyen – (Bachelor of Psychological Science, 2019)

Find your own space

Find somewhere quiet to study – pick a room in your house and close the door behind you.

Darren Delaney – (Bachelor of Occupational Health and Safety, 2014 & Master of Advanced Safety Science Practice, 2017)

Let everyone know you are studying and that you cannot be distracted – communication is key. If it is an activity / task that may distract you, then do this before you sit down to study, so it is no longer a distraction. Turn your phone to silent or do not disturb whilst you are studying.

Elisa Capaldi – (Bachelor of Nursing, 2015)

Make sure that the area you study in is designed to focus you. Away from noise, people, and television. I had handy diagrams and notes on the wall so that when I needed a break, I could stare blankly at those for a while. Trying to absorb them subconsciously.

Jarna Kendle – (Bachelor of Environmental Science)

Ensure that your workspace is designed for work.  Dress appropriately for your work and minimise any activity outside the parameter of your study.

Sharon Dekkers – (Master of Education Studies, 1994 & Doctor of Philosophy, 2001)

Create a private study area and putting restrictions on interruptions. A good way to do this is to put a sign on the door stating that you are studying and training your family not to interrupt you during this time. Put your mobile on silent, and if possible, put it in another room. You don’t want to be answering messages or calls whilst you are studying.

Jennifer Goodall – (Bachelor of Psychological Science (Honours), 2020)

A clean and well-lit place helps your concentration and helps avoid feeling tired and sleepy while you are trying to go through your study material. Finally, I found that using sticky notes I could write notes to remind me to research further about a difficult topic, or to write questions that I could bring up during the online tutorials. To recap, in order to avoid distractions, you need to do your best to control your environment (what you can hear, and you can see).

Mario Pesca – (Bachelor of Engineering (Honours), 2016)

by listening to music. If there are others in the house, use headphones. This can block out what is happening around you.

Peta Bosomworth – (Bachelor of Education (Primary), 2000)

Be kind to yourself

Realise that you are making yourself and your study a priority and that the distractions will still be there. Its ok to get distracted, however there needs to be a balance between study and procrastination.

Megan Matteschek – (Bachelor of Business, 2012)

Stick to your dedicated schedule and informing your significant others of that schedule and ask them to support you by not distracting you during your allocated study times.

Michael Lane – (Graduate Diploma of Management, 2015)

If you get distracted by your phone use a do not disturb (DND) app or mode on your phone. Allow important calls through if needed. But just switch DND and poof! No more distracting Facebook notifications that send you down the rabbit hole for hours at a time.  

Nathan Graham – (Bachelor of Public Health, 2019)

My distractions included my kids, my wife, my life, my job…  It goes on…  These are all important things that need to be part of your life if you are to be successful.  Make time for this in your schedule.  You are undertaking this study for a reason.  To be successful you must remember that reason but keep it realistic.  You can’t just check out of life while you are studying.  You do have to think about how best to incorporate your study into your life.

Paul Mchugh – (Graduate Diploma of Occupational Health and Safety, 2017)

Have frequent breaks, get up walk around, just try to avoid the refrigerator.

Sharon Malliband – (Bachelor of Psychological Science (Honours), 2016)

Allocate a time which works in your routine and this will be different for everyone so choose a time that suits you.

Guy McEntyre – (Bachelor of Laws, 2019)

Want to give your advice to incoming students? Alumni can sign up to the 30 Minutes a Month program and complete monthly tasks to earn rewards while assisting future students in preparing for the learning journey ahead.

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