Have you ever sat down at your desk and opened your laptop to begin writing a paper, only to find yourself surfing through the dangers of the internet immediately after? If this has ever happened to you, be forewarned. You are at an increased risk of distraction when attempting to tackle a large task.
Don’t be afraid; distraction affects about 99.9 percent of the population. It’s a serious problem, and it needs to be fixed. I’m here to help. I’ve compiled a step-by-step guide on how you can get that paper done with utmost concentration and focus.
Step 1: Clear your desk
You’re definitely going to get distracted if your desk is stacked with clutter. Clear your workspace before you even open your laptop. If you’d prefer not to work at your desk, head to the library. The library won’t have receipts from all the food you bought in the past week and pictures of your friends and family scattered all over. Find an open seat, and you’re good to go.
Step 2: Download a self-control app
There are free apps on the Internet designed to block you from going on those websites you don’t need to go on. Obsessed with YouTube? You can block yourself from YouTube for as long as you’d like. One of the apps I use for my Mac is called SelfContol. You can find it here.
Step 3: Play some white noise or classical music
I love listening to music while I study, but sometimes, if it’s a really good song, it only amplifies my distraction. To find a balance between my need to focus and love of music, I usually listen to classical music or film scores while writing a paper. Listening to a dramatic score such as those from "The Lord of the Rings" or "Pirates of the Caribbean" can really make those fingers crank out a paper in no time; you’ll be sweating by the time you finish. Or, if you really can’t concentrate, try listening to some white noise to block out your thoughts.
Step 4: Throw your phone out the window
Or hide it/turn it off. How are you going to get in the flow of writing a paper when a text or notification interrupts you every five minutes? You might be worried that someone will need to contact you in an emergency. Honestly, though, how many emergencies phone calls/texts have you received in your life?
Note: A friend inviting you to go to Chipotle with them is not an emergency.
Step 5: Take a break
You don’t need to work nonstop until you finish your paper. Your brain will only tire out. Take a short ten minute break once you finish those first couple of pages. You can even use this time to briefly glance at your phone to makes sure there aren't any pressing emergencies.
Step 6: Go on a walk
Going on a short walk around the building can get the blood flowing to your brain again and renew those ideas. You’ll feel so refreshed once you sit down again.
Step 7: Wait, is that a squirrel?
Aw, squirrels are so cute! You should see if it will let you go up to it and pet it on the head!
Step 8: Hey, squirrel, where are you going?
Why did he have to run away so soon? You were just getting to know each other!
Step 9: Look, it’s Allan!
"Hey Allan! What are you doing out here? You were just on your way to B-Plate? I’d love to go!"
Step 10: Allan invites you to watch "Star Wars"
You’ve never seen "Star Wars" before. How could you miss out on the opportunity to become a cultured human being? Plus, the new one is coming out soon, and you really need to become educated about the franchise before you see it. You should definitely accept the invitation.
Step 11: Seven hours later
Wow! How great was that? You pulled an all-nighter just to watch the original "Star Wars" trilogy! George Lucas is so amazing. How did you go your entire life without watching those films? You feel refreshed; you’re a new person. Suddenly, nothing matters in life except for "Star Wars." If you could change your major to "Star Wars," you definitely would.
Step 12: That paper, though
HOW COULD YOU HAVE FORGOTTEN ABOUT THAT PAPER? YOU WERE OFF TO SUCH A GREAT START IN THE BEGINNING! WHAT HAPPENED?
Moral of the story:
Just do it.