My external distractions are things like my pets, housemates, or my phone. The pets usual need something, like to go outside so I let them out or feed them beforehand.
Housmates don't usually interupt if I am in my room with the door closed.
My phone, depending on the message, can wait.
However all of these distractions may have an urgency for my attention and if thats the case, I try to address whatever it is quickly and get back to studying. Or I let them know that I’m studying and will be available at a certain time.
The internal distractions are trickier becsuse they are less noticeable. The most common for me is hunger. When I study, especial
left brain subjects, I have a compulsion to eat. To combat this, I have a snackable plate of food. Apple and cheese slices are my favorite.
Bathroom breaks happen and easier to avoid if I go before I retreat to my room and close the door.
The sneakiest internal distraction is zoning out or letting my brain wander. There are a few things I do to help with that. One, remove distractions like by being in my room with the door closed and light brightest on the thing I need to focus on. Two, do some sort of kinetic activity along with the incoming information, such as taking notes. This has a double benefit of making a deeper connection with the topic and reinforces the learning of it. And lastly, set time goals like: I will be done with this chapter by 8PM so that I can do something else. Other things help too. Doing my studying away from a busy place or time is extremely helpful. Sometimes music helps me focus but it must be free of lyrics and have groove to keep me energized.
Also taking breaks are great. If I study for an hour, then I may do something else (nonthinking activity) like fold clothes, walk the dog, do some dishes, then I can go back to another study session pretty easily. However, these activities can sometimes lead to other activities so to stay on task I’ll set a timer, “hey Siri, set a timer for 10 minutes” . When the timer rings, change back to study mode.
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