We’ve all been there: you’re trying to study, but then a notification pops up. It’ll only take a second — would it really hurt to answer that email or check that Facebook alert? Staying focused while studying online can be difficult, but here are some tips to help you remove distractions.
Get in Control
You’re the one with the mouse — which means you’re in control, not the Internet. Here are a few techniques for keeping the balance of power:
· Turn off all push notifications. Don’t let things notify you. You can still check your email whenever you want, but without these notifications constantly popping up in your face, you’ll be able to focus much more easily.
· Use auto filter. Auto filter your email messages into folders. Gmail is great for this. I have several folders, such as one for job applicants (yes, Magoosh is hiring!). This way, I can check the applications all at one time rather than being distracted each time an application comes in.
· Employ accountability apps. If you really can’t control yourself when it comes to email, try Inbox Pause, an extension for Gmail that lets you stop new messages from coming in until you are ready. StayFocusd, a Chrome browser extension, is another good option. It restricts the amount of time you spend on time-wasting sites.
Plan, Plan, Plan
In the classroom, your teacher or professor gives you a syllabus or course calendar with important deadlines, milestones, and checkpoints. When you’re studying online, it’s your job to plan these things yourself. It can be tough to stay on track when you’re not accountable to someone else, but it is possible! Start by finding a pre-published plan or creating a timeline of your own. Then, stick to it! Be sure to communicate your goals and plans with others, too. It’s easy to make excuses, but if you have friends and family members who help you stay accountable for your progress, it will be easier to stay on track.
Studying can’t always be fun, but it’s important to find interactive methods that will keep you engaged and help the information stick. After you read about or watch a video on a certain topic, find ways to apply and reinforce the lesson — perhaps by answering questions or taking a short quiz. This will ensure you truly “get” a concept before you move on to the next topic. It will also give you a sense of accomplishment in the progress you’re making.
Keep It Consistent
If you are studying for a standardized test, try to take practice tests at the same time of day as your actual test. Develop a routine so that come test day, you’ll feel well prepared. For regular studying, just find a time that works well for you and be consistent, which will also help you stay focused. Rather than telling yourself you’ll “do it sometime after class this week,” make it a point to study every Monday and Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. It will become a habit and a priority.
Online study materials can be phenomenal tools — but they can also come with a number of distractions. To keep yourself accountable, be sure to make a plan, stick with it, and convince yourself that yes — that notification can wait.
Bhavin Parikh is the CEO and co-founder of Magoosh, an online test prep company that provides video lessons and practice questions accessible anytime, anywhere for exams such as the GMAT, GRE, and SAT.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.com
Category: Edu & Growth