Tips for dealing with digital distractions as a student
Staying focused in the digital era is difficult for everyone. Productivity is lowered, due to phone addiction, and many of us struggle to keep a healthy work-life balance. This is exacerbated at university where students are often living where they work, and managing an entirely flexible timetable for the first time in their lives! If you’re a student, here are some of our top tips to help you deal with phone addiction and how to use your phone for good whilst studying:
Before you go
Whilst there are many negatives to being a student now as a result of phone addiction there are also positives. Thirty years ago students could not have met their course mates online in advance or created WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger group chats of subjects in order to help with work. Universities are huge and before you go the idea of many thousands of people you don’t know and may never meet can be daunting. However, technology can help to form connections in advance and lower anxieties.
Phone addiction or social interaction?
You do not have to let your phone addiction control your movements whilst at university. It can be tempting to spend all of your time in contact with friends from back home instead of forming new bonds. There are so many ways to make new friends and most of these are organised online and via Facebook pages. One way to get into healthy tech habits at university is just to use technology in order to facilitate physical meet-ups and in-person activities. You could join a sports team like Ultimate Frisbee, a subject mixer for Engineering, or even a food society such as one dedicated to bagels!
Turn off phone notifications
The first piece of advice is one as old as time: turn off your notifications! Research from Trent University shows that a third of notifications worsen our mood. We also know that it can take up to half an hour to refocus your attention after a notification has distracted you, which drastically decreases the quality of your work and increases the time you will have to spend on it. If you are trying to complete work to the best of your ability so you can then socialise, notifications are only going to slow you down.
Handwrite your notes
We all know that writing your notes helps you remember them more easily later, but few of us choose to work this way because who can write that fast? However, writing by hand forces you to create notes in your own words instead of merely taking dictation. This will help you when it comes to exam time as all of your notes will be clear to you and you will remember them better.
Keep your phone out of sight
It has been proven by the University of Austin, Texas that having your phone in the room even if it is turned off and not visible lowers your IQ. How often is your phone turned off and not visible as you work? Often students will argue that their phone is necessary to work and in some cases this is true. However, if merely the presence of your phone lowers your IQ then perhaps you should consider leaving it off and out of sight whilst you work? Imagine what you could achieve.
Technology is not the end of a productive work-life balance and in some cases can improve your social life, such as with group chats and societies. However, it is not always helpful and there are a few simple steps you can take to make work at university easier and curb any tendency towards phone addiction. If you turn off notifications, leave your phone out of sight and write your own notes you will be well on your way to a successful university experience!