Distractions, Distractions, Distractions…

Distractions, Distractions, Distractions…

Studying requires discipline.  A lot of discipline.  On a daily basis, I find myself fending off a myriad of things that would steer me away from my set study schedule if I let them.  Living in Toronto does not help – there are so many events, both on and off campus – film festivals, poetry readings, concerts, yadda, yadda, yadda – that I could literally find something to go to every day of the week, if I were so inclined.

I tend to study on campus – I switch it up between Robarts and Sid Smith Hall – because studying at home hasn’t really worked for me.  I’ve tried, but between the television, the radio, and the current racket outside my door as the building management fixes the apartment balconies, my well-intentioned plans are often thwarted.  And then, of course, there’s Thelonious… Sigh.

Allow me to illustrate what typically occurs when I attempt to study at home:

*background music: “Take 5” by the Dave Brubeck Quartet*

Say hello to Thelonious. Yes, he was named after the famous jazz musician.  And, yes – I did refer to him as “certain people” in the video clip.  Because I am convinced that he is a “people” trapped in a fuzzy little body.  Did you check his facial expression as I poked him?  I rest my case.

But I digress… So,  this is why I am here sitting in the library to get through my readings, instead of at my comfortable apartment.  But even at the library, the battle against distraction continues. My cell phone, and even more so, the internet, can really set me back a few hours if I’m not disciplined enough to stay focused.

And herein lies the dilemma.  When One knows Oneself and One decides to face the truth that One is more productive at the library than One will ever be at home, One must pack all of One’s books into One’s bag and trudge over to Robarts.  To “Get One’s Study On” (ahem).

And since I usually spend several hours at the library, this means that I need to not only pack books, but also lunch.  And my binder.  And my water bottle.  And my fuzzy socks.  Yes, fuzzy socks… I take off my shoes and slip on a pair of comfy, fuzzy socks – usually in some ridiculously bright colour – and instantly feel comfortable enough to get down to business. Hey – don’t knock it!!! Whatever works, I say…

So I’ve given myself a few rules to follow, that allow me to concentrate on the task at hand:

1. Turn off the cell phone – no texting, no calls.

2. Facebook is The Devil.  I know – that is a statement, not a rule. But, avoid it at all costs.

3. Keep a snack nearby – this helps me to avoid cutting my work flow just to grab a bite to eat.

4. Having a study buddy keeps me focused. It’s hard to slack off when I look across the desk and my friend is hard at work, too.

5. Write my overall goals on a cue card and stick it in my notebook. It always helps when I remind myself of why I’m here, buried under a mountain of books…

So how do you stay focused when you sit down to study? Do you prefer to study at home or at the library – or somewhere else? Why? Drop me a comment!

In honor of the late, great Mr. Thelonious Monk, I present to you my Song of the Week:

5 comments on “Distractions, Distractions, Distractions…

  1. I have no clue how (specifically) I can stay focused on the task at hand (at the moment, I haven’t studied for a 9AM test the following day – I mean, in 7 hours…)

    Sadly, your rules doesn’t really apply to me:
    1. Cellphone isn’t much of a distraction – only person I text is my boyfriend
    2. I’ve deactivated my Facebook account but I seem to find other ways of distracting myself online and offline. I can’t turn off the Internet because I still need to search stuff. Or my computer itself because typing needs to be done.
    3. Can’t always get snacks I can keep by my side – or they’re not enough XD
    4. Either my study buddies and I just chat over random things or I distract them when I get bored no matter how hard at work they are (usually it’s the latter) 😀
    5. I spend my time writing to-do lists but fail to complete everything in it T_T

    With that said, I’ve had productive moments – I stay focused on a task when I really get into it. Otherwise (which is often), I just space out XD
    And I do prefer to study in a sort-of noisy place. More like in a place where there seems to be a “buzzing” of people talking at once. If their voices are understandable, I tend to listen in and forget my work. There should also be NO music or tv for me – they magnetize me into listening/watching. Thus I prefer the buzzing.

    Yes, I should go un-distract myself and study now so I’ll have at least some time left for rest 🙂

  2. My roommate’s cat literally just sat on my keyboard! I picked him up and then he bit me.

    Might end up being a late night at Robarts for me…but it is so cold out…

  3. If you treat your dog like a person why do you leave him home alone all day why you go to the library? Do you think he likes it all on his own? The right thing to do would be to give him away.

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