Study halls are bad enough for studying. This week’s question is about when it’s appropriate to have your phone with you while studying.
I know you always recommend not having your phone with you while you’re trying to study but I was just wondering how that transferred to other situations. I generally do my studying right in study hall. I have my phone in my pocket. I regularly get texts but based on what you’ve said I ignore the messages. Do you think this hurts my studying at all?
I love this question because the fact that someone is asking it makes it blatantly obvious they already know the answer from reading this blog. They just don’t know they know the answer.
Distractions are tricky. They’re distracting even when you intentionally try to avoid them being a distraction. Instead of getting distracted by your text messages, when you know looking will just distract you, you get distracted thinking about not looking at the text message. Instead of thinking about the text you got you’re thinking about what the text you got might be.
The problem isn’t your decision whether or not to let the distraction distract you. The problem is the distraction itself.
If you have your phone in your pocket while you’re studying then you’re adding a distraction for yourself. If it’s on vibrate then every time you feel it vibrate you’re going to, if only for a second, wonder who is texting or what they’re going to say. While having all notifications off is better than having it on vibrate, it’s still not perfect. For most people, the simple fact that they have a phone in their pocket will occasionally leave them curious to look at it for something. It’s sometimes completely unintentional.
I get that you want to have your phone with you while you’re in study hall. It’s virtually the norm for every student to carry a phone with them everywhere they go. That being said, the norm for most students is struggling to focus. If you’re looking for the norm then just keep doing what you’re doing. If you’re looking to improve your ability to focus, put your phone away for 20 minutes and give your studying 100% of your focus. No… not because you’re disciplined but because your brain doesn’t have to be.
Getting rid of all distractions is ideal. Even choosing to study in a place like study hall is usually a less than ideal situation. The more time you get used to studying with distractions, the less you’re able to focus 100% on your studying even when you’re free of all those distractions. Those distractions permanently push your focus into an inconsistent mess. When you’re free of those distractions you’ll find yourself stopping to think about something else in the middle of your study session. It’s better to just get used to only studying with as much focus as you can practically achieve.
I know… perfection is impossible when it comes to distractions. That being said, if you see a distraction and a practical means to reduce or eliminate that distraction (you know… like shutting your phone off and putting it in your bag for 20 minutes,) then it’s the perfect opportunity to move yourself closer to a more effective study strategy. It’s those small decisions that make a big impact on a student’s final results.
If you’re looking for more ways to get you focused during your study session then you’ve got to read 7 Tricks To Getting Focused For Studying.
Do you want to know how to study in less than 15 minutes a night? That’s what this blog is about. Be sure to check out the archives and follow to learn all the nitty gritty details. Also, check out the books in the sidebar to learn the best of it faster.
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