Four tips for those addicted to distractions

[dropcap]I [/dropcap]won’t lie. . . I sat down to write this article five different times. Each time, I ended up distracted. How ironic. Is it just me that struggles to accomplish what I actually set out to do in a day? I’m going to guess probably not.

“I didn’t do the reading this week, I just started watching How to Get Away with Murder and I’m hooked.”

“I don’t know where the time went! One minute it’s 4:30, I look at a BuzzFeed article, and by the time I snap out of it, I’m starving and it’s midnight. I don’t even know how it happened!”

I wish I could say it’s just me, but it’s not. And it doesn’t seem to just be students, either. I see everyone from kids to professionals glued to the devices in their pocket and no one ever really seems to turn off. You check email, Facebook, other social media, and tap on clickbait automatically. When you’re bored, you go back through the cycle. It’s a constant onslaught of tech demanding your attention, and it makes it hard to focus on the important stuff. Like that essay due tomorrow. Or the project due in four hours.

The link between distraction and procrastination is super difficult to ignore. I’m at my most distracted when I have something that needs to be done. The commiserating looks in class tell me I’m not alone in this. Why do we do something we know we shouldn’t? Even when we actively try not to get distracted (stopping short of unplugging the WiFi router of course; let’s not talk crazy), we still end up procrastinating.

Just last night, I was playing phone games and scrolling through Tumblr. Before I knew it, 11:30 had turned into 2:45 a.m. with the lovely promise of a 7:15 a.m. wake-up call. Distractions must be supernatural because time-hopping is a mad skill.

So. How do we fight back if we ourselves make our life hell?

Everyone is different, but I hope one of these tips will help you out

1. Turn off the phone.

 

I know how unrealistic this is. If you can’t do it during the day, do it at night. I can’t even remember all the times I’ve woken up at 3 a.m. or something stupid, and instead of rolling over to go back to sleep, I pick up my phone to check my email and game apps. Start at night. When you’re good with that, take it to the next level. If you need to get shit done, turn it completely on silent, flip it over, and put it far enough away from you that you’ll be too lazy to retrieve it.

2. Block the evil sites.

 

When it’s crunch time, go into your Internet settings and block the fuck out of your social media, Trudeau Metre, YouTube, whatever sites screw you over, come midterms and finals. You can always turn it back on, but just take a couple deep breaths, and put your badass self to work.

3. Delete time-wasting apps.

 

I play four main games on my phone — they suck up a lot of time (insert complaints from significant other here). If you’re addicted to phone apps and they’re using up your valuable study time, delete them.

Now, I don’t mean get crazy about it! Don’t delete everything without a backup plan, unless you wanna be really hardcore. Most apps will either give you the option to link your game progress to an account of yours or will automatically remember the data when you reinstall it. When you’re free and clear, you can had on back to the fun times — or maybe you’ll realize you gave no shits about not being able to play them, and will keep them deleted.

4. Treat yourself.

 

Everyone likes rewards. You like gummy bears? Buy a bag or five for every solid half hour of work you accomplish without succumbing to the temptation of distraction. Have a burger after every project you finish ahead of time (and then maybe hit the gym with all your new free time). Engage in cuddle time with your special someone or Netflix — 10 minutes for every hour. Whatever works for you.
It’s no easy task. Believe it or not, I’ve gotten a handle on it. Instead of getting distracted in the middle of things these days, it’s usually just in between items on the to-do list. But it does get better.