Having trouble getting a handle on your distractions? This could be social media, re-checking emails, or even just staring off into space. Distracting yourself in this way loses you hours of time that you could be using to get stuff done. In this article, we show you some ways you can stop distractions, and live a more productive life.
Music is Overrated
Yes, you read correctly. There is a commonly held belief that music can help you study, which is only partially true.
For music with lyrics, it can actually hinder your productivity and distract you. If you are planning on listening to music, try to listen to non-lyrical music like Lo-Fi, Baroque, and Acoustic music.
Why does lyrical music distract you?
This is because lyrics take up some of your ‘processing power’ in the brain, meaning you have to focus on the lyrics to understand and interpret them. For music without lyrics, this hurdle is removed, and the brain has more focus to use on your schoolwork. A study from the University of Phoenix shows that listening to music with lyrics while studying is considered multitasking for your brain. When you multitask, your IQ can be decreased by 10 points, rendering you less efficient than if you focused on one thing at a time.
Even non-lyrical music can make you less efficient, so I personally recommend doing deep work sessions without music.
The Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is widely regarded as one of the best and simplest productivity methods, especially for beginners.
How it works:
Split your work time into 25 minute sessions. During those 25 minutes, ONLY do work. Try your best not to get distracted or lose focus; It’s only 25 minutes.
After you finish a session, take a 5 minute break. Using the tips from our previous blog posts, you can use this break time to stretch, get a drink of water, have a snack, make a coffee, etc. You can also use this time to check your email, social media, and any other things you need to catch up on.
After a few sessions you will start to realize, even with the breaks in between, you get much more done in an hour with the Pomodoro method compared to working for one hour straight.
Optimize your work environment
Having an adequate workout environment is essential to beating distractions, and being more productive.
Here are some examples of what you can do to optimize your work environment:
Turn off your phone, or put it on do not disturb. Move it far away from you.
If you work in a loud office, or study in a loud house, use headphones.
Less is more. Try not to have too many non-work related items in your work environment. If you use a laptop, just having the laptop, water bottle, notebook, and charger should be enough.
If you often encounter conversations with people during your work/study time, ask for some alone-time while you have intensive work sessions.
Implementing these tips puts your work environment on the path to success. Some tips depend on what type of environment you work in (office, room, library, park, etc.), so in the end it comes down to personal preference.