Ways to study online without getting distracted

Written By - The Young Vision Ambassador, Shanel Misquitta, University of Melbourne.


With the advent of online study platforms, tutorials, past paper libraries, educational apps and the endless list of online educational resources, it’s impossible not to use the internet at some point in one’s academic journey. While studying online offers many benefits, ranging from delivering knowledge to a larger demographic while improving ease and access to education, it also has a couple of drawbacks. The largest being the distraction that several other social media, gaming apps/websites pose to young students while studying online. To help combat this distraction, read along for a few potential tips.

Frequent breaks 

For material studied to get absorbed and registered effectively in the mind, it’s imperative to take short breaks (5-10 mins) every 40 – 45 minutes. Set an agenda to tackle a given number of tasks during your study period, try your level best to maintain discipline and complete it. Once that’s done, hydrate, listen to music or simply do anything that helps you relax in those short breaks. Constantly staring at a digital screen for hours at a time for studying (making the blow even worse) has the effect of draining a person’s energy level and further reducing productivity. If you want to up your game, it’s necessary to relax your eyes and mind as frequently as possible to retain focus and avoid getting distracted with the silliest of things.

Apps to defeat apps

There are apps specifically designed to prevent people from wasting time on other apps (mainly for gaming and social media) to help increase productivity among people. Offtime helps users unplug by blocking distracting apps like Facebook, games, and filtering communications. It includes information on how much you actually use your smartphone. BreakFree helps to map out a person’s addiction score to particular apps. It also shows you how often you unlock your phone screen, and comprehensively logs your usage for the day. Flipd allows you to lock your phone for a set period of time, and once you do, there’s no going back. Even restarting your phone won’t disable the app, so it’s impossible for you to cheat. These are just a few apps. Apart from these, there are many more that exist to help curb distraction while studying. This system makes it a great choice for those who like to set goals and challenge themselves.

Reminders/miscellaneous solutions

Keeping constant reminders to stay on track and setting targets to complete an appropriate amount in a given time period is another method to defeat distraction, as it triggers the guilt and anxiety for the good that one is deviating from the task at hand. One can also download multiple past papers across various subjects, adhering to the time limit set for the respective paper, switch off their Wi-Fi and solve the paper (this also acts as a crash course to an actual exam setting). Turning notifications off (especially from social media) is crucial while studying, mainly during exam prep, to maintain focus and concentration. Social media addiction is rampant among students across the world. What usually starts as a 5 mins break to check Instagram stories can easily transcend into an hour of browsing through not only one but several social media apps.

There are certainly many ways to help curb distraction while studying online; however, like with many things in life, it all comes down to self-control and self-discipline. The tips listed above are worthwhile for students to try who have just realised the impact their distractions are having on their educational performance. As time passes, the mind has to be trained to focus, persevere and concentrate to deal with the tasks at hand and life in general.