Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when individuals learn to master distractions in all areas of life. A person could have an automobile accident if distracted while driving a car, or one could burn dinner if their eyes and mind are elsewhere.
As part of a personal effort to improve my own study skills, I am reading a book titled The World Book of Study Power, volume 1, and I am attempting to share a little of what I learn with my readers. Teaching others what I have learned helps to solidify the information in my own brain and is, therefore, a valuable learning tool. Most of the information that follows, including quotes and ideas, come from this book.
I am about to start another semester of school, and I know that students of all ages are returning to the classroom. Therefore, I thought it would be good to do another post on study skills. There is no better topic for this time of year than distractions and how to manage them.
The above referenced book describes a distraction as “anything that takes you physically or mentally away from what you’re doing. Distractions can have a big effect on how well you do something, no matter what it is” (p 60).
As the book points out, we all have to deal with distractions every single day. I remember a day many years ago when I answered my daughter’s call. I was in my yard watering the strawberry plants that were growing next to my house. Without thinking about what I was doing, I dropped the hose and went to find my daughter. She needed her hair braided or something fairly inconsequential and I forgot about the water. I forgot about it – until I heard another family member scream that the basement was flooding! It seems now that I told another child to turn the water off, but I could not say for certain. Needless to say, we had a mess in our basement because I got too distracted to turn off the water.
I have had other distractions, such as locking the car without taking the keys. I have had to call for help on numerous occasions because I did not pay attention to what I was doing. I have also burned food on numerous occasions because of distraction, and I have missed freeway exits many times because I was thinking about something else. Distraction from school assignments can have the same disastrous results in education, and there are ways to master distraction.
The way to manage many distractions from school work is to plan ahead. With planning ahead, we can eliminate many distractions before they take place. Here is a summary of some suggestions from the book (pp 61-65).
(1) Reduce noise and eliminate distractions with planning ahead: Shut the window to close out noises, close the door to signal a need for quiet, and let the phone ring or the call go to the answering machine.
(2) Make your work space as comfortable by adding or reducing light, putting a pillow behind your back, or turning the thermostat up or down as needed.
(3) Eliminate distractions by studying while other people are away. [I like to do my studying in the early morning hours while my husband sleeps.]
(4) Stick to your study schedule. When family members see you honoring your time, they will be more likely to respect it also.
(5) Arrange your study area how it suits you the best. [My children did their studying while sitting on their beds, while I prefer studying at a table or desk.]
(6) Keep study materials in your study space. This eliminates the need to go to other areas of the house, which could lead to distractions.
We can learn to master the environmental distractions in our lives, but we must do some planning ahead to accomplish it. When we are able to concentrate on our studies, we will learn more and become better students. As we improve in our ability to control distractions around us, we will be able to strengthen our families, and thus strengthen our communities and nations.