This week’s question caught my attention because it’s similar to a problem that I’ve fought with in my own life. While I don’t know of any great solutions, there are a few tricks that might help.
I’ve recently got in a little trouble. Now I need to come right home after school. I used to go to the library to study but now I can’t. The problem is that my house is always busy. I have 5 siblings. The house we live in isn’t all that big either. Every time I try to study I end up freaking out about the noise in the background. Is there any way to handle this?
I sympathize with this problem. After getting used to a silent study environment for so long, I often find even small background noises can become huge distractions. I imagine this is even worse for sounds as unpredictable as a ton of siblings. I can imagine being driven nuts by that myself.
It’s good that you figured out the library to solve your problem in the past. I don’t know the extent of your “trouble” but if politely asking to study at the library might work, that would be my first suggestion. I won’t waste any more time on that idea because I imagine you’ve already considered it.
If you can’t study in a quiet environment (like the library) and you can’t turn your environment into a quiet one (perhaps asking people to shut up, kindly of course,) then I’d consider one of two solutions.
First of all, experiment with the timing of your studying. This is the ideal solution. If you can wake up a couple hours earlier, or go to bed a couple hours later, than everyone else, then you can likely find a much quieter time to study. This will allow you to have your quiet time without sacrificing any study efficiency. If that isn’t possible then you’ll have to sacrifice some efficiency.
While I don’t normally recommend studying with headphones in, there are some exceptions to the rule. Ultimately, these strategies will likely harm your efficiency in studying but they will harm it less than the distraction of other people around you.
Try putting in some headphones and playing some white noise in the background. Turn the volume up to a level where it drowns out the people around you (assuming that volume isn’t too high.) The white noise can be anything from the faint hum of a radio without a station or things like the sounds of an ocean. As long as the sounds aren’t particularly interesting, they’re ideal for studying.
If the volume required to drown out the background noise is at an uncomfortably high level then consider listening to music in the background. This is likely hurt study efficiency worse than white noise but could be better than white noise at distracting you from background noises.
Be careful if you choose to implement these strategies and know that you’re likely studying in subpar conditions. As soon as you have an opportunity to avoid this problem in the first place, you should avoid it and take out the headphones. Headphones can make studying more enjoyable but more enjoyable generally means you’re less focused.
Do you want to know how to study in less than 15 minutes a night? That’s what this blog is all about. Be sure to check out the archives and follow along for all the details. Also, check out the ebooks in the sidebar to learn even more faster.
Aaron Richardson took his grades from fighting F’s to Easy A’s. In the process, he read over 300 books on personal development. Today he’s founded 2 blogs on studying including Smart Student Secrets. He’s written 3 books on the subject. His work has been featured on some of the biggest news, psychology, and student sites on the internet.