You’ve finally managed to find some time to start one of your assignments. Hooray! You sit down at your desk, ready to begin your work. But then…one of your friends starts talking to you on Messenger about your plans for next weekend. Feeling hungry, you decide to head downstairs and make yourself a snack and grab a drink. Then, you start scrolling through your newsfeed. Before you know it, 40 minutes has trickled away and you haven’t got around to starting your work!
So, how can you ensure that you’re distraction-free when you come to tackle your next assignment? Follow our 6 helpful tips below.
1. Get a drink and a snack
Before you sit down to work, make sure you have everything you need so that you won’t feel the need to get up again. Make yourself a drink, prepare a snack and bring it all up to the area where you’ll be working so that you don’t need to move again until your next scheduled study break.
2. Write out a ‘to do’ list
It can help to write a quick ‘to do’ list before you start, ticking off each activity as you complete it. So, when starting an assignment, you could write in your list: ‘Read chapter 2 of book’, ‘Take notes on the chapter’, ‘Draft the layout of your assignment’, then ‘Start assignment’. Breaking it up into smaller tasks like this will make the process a lot more manageable.
3. Allow for study breaks
No one is expecting you to work for 3 hours without taking a break! In fact, if you study for long periods of time you may find that your concentration starts to suffer and you’re not taking anything in anymore. Condense your learning into 45 minute or 1 hour slots, with 15 minute breaks in between.
4. Place your phone in a drawer
Nothing is more distracting than hearing your phone going off every minute when you’re trying to study. Put your phone on silent and leave it somewhere you can’t see it easily, such as in a desk drawer. Be strict with yourself and only look at it again when it’s time for your study break!
5. Don’t try to multitask
Multi-tasking is something we all do, often without realising. So we might try to write an assignment, watch the TV in the background, have a window open on our laptop for Facebook and have someone talking to us – all at the same time. The key to successfully completing your assignment is to concentrate solely on the task ahead. Don’t try to do 5 things all at once!
6. Set an alarm for chunks of time
If you’re running to a strict study schedule of 45 minutes work and 15 minute rest, you may find yourself clock-watching and wasting time wondering when you’ll be able to take the next break. Set an alarm on your phone so you can concentrate on getting your work done and only stop when you hear it go off.