By Dr. Robert Gordon
Program Director, Reverse Logistics Management at American Public University
The average attention span of a person is eight seconds. According to some researchers, that amount of time is shorter than the attention span of the average goldfish.
We have dozens of study distractions — including cell phones, computers, TV, radio, music players and the Internet — to shorten our study time. If you are a student, it is essential that you find distraction-free time to focus on studying.
The Academic Success Center at Oregon State University found that students who create a distraction-free environment improve their knowledge retention and comprehension levels. For most of us, that goal is a challenge.
Create a Study Plan to Reduce Distractions
If you have responsibilities outside of school, create a study schedule so you can detach from your responsibilities when necessary and make the most of your study time. Make sure your plan includes specific times to study. The more effectively you use your study time, the more effective you become as a student.
Disconnect Your Technology
Most students need to disconnect from technology to focus on studying. Start by putting aside the biggest distraction in modern lives — the smartphone. Turn off the radio, the TV and any mobile devices that could distract you.
Don’t Let Distractions Slow Your Progress Toward a Degree
Often, just focusing on the long-term goal of graduation is enough to get you on track and study regularly. If you allow distractions, studying will take a lot longer than expected and so might your graduation.
If necessary, work with an advisor to put together a course plan with a timeline. A timeline will help keep you on track and allows you to monitor your progress. Making tangible progress is a great way to stay motivated towards any goal.
Furthermore, evidence shows that it takes more time to study when you allow distractions and your studying is less effective. According to a California State University study, students who reported being distracted while studying had lower knowledge retention levels and lower grades.
It may seem challenging now, but avoiding study distractions and concentrating on studying brings you closer to your degree and your career goals.
About the Author
Dr. Robert Gordon has 25 years of professional experience in supply chain and human resources. Robert has earned a Doctorate of Management and Organizational Leadership, an MBA and a B.A. in History. He has authored over 100 published articles, including five books covering a variety of business topics.