Dear Sue: “Distracted Daniel”
I have plenty of work to do, but I’m easily distracted, and lately it’s been getting in the way of my classes. I’m a procrastinator. I spend more time being distracted by stuff than actually working, and it stresses me out. How can I avoid getting distracted?
A lot of people get distracted, especially because of the internet and friends. Fortunately, you can use these distractions to motivate yourself. It may seem counterproductive or cliché, but rewarding yourself with what are usually distractions can encourage you to work harder. It will require you to change your habits and schedule, but over time the changes will become easier.
If you’re distracted by something on your phone or a show, you can avoid this by putting your phone far away from you or turning off the TV/hiding Netflix. This suggestion probably doesn’t seem very realistic. Well, maybe it isn’t. Instead, give yourself time to do work and promise yourself one show after you’ve finished a big chunk of that work. Promise yourself little things, and I think you’ll enjoy your breaks and your work more, because you won’t have extra stress.
But, maybe your friends keep distracting you. Your friend might ask you go somewhere and you might not return until late (or early). Regardless of whether you’re an “early bird” or a “night owl”, this will significantly impact your work schedule. No worries; your friends can help you. If you explain that you need some time to get some work done, you might get a few odd looks from them, but ultimately, they should accept your choice. Your friends have work to do, too. You can help each other by give yourselves time for work and time to enjoy yourselves.
It also might help to reward yourself as you work. Make your work environment comfortable. Working a dorm room is fine for some people, but it isn’t your only option. Experiment with different places. Work in the Colket Center. Work in some of the academic buildings. Or, try the library. Fintel Library has four floors to suit your needs. You could try having some quiet study time on the second floor one day, and maybe enjoy some coffee or tea from CUPS on another.
Experiment. With time, you’ll figure out where you need to study and how to stay focused.
Sue Z. Maroon