3 Ways to Fight Social Media Distractions When You’re Studying

Hi everyone,

Hope you’re having a good summer!  I recently got an email from a student who asked a good (and very relevant) question.  I thought I’d share it here, and my response:

I’m currently in the process of reading your book (which by the way is the most helpful reading material I have ever come across) and I’m still a little confused on how to get rid of distractions/how to focus. Even if I do things like turn off my phone/social media/turn off the Wifi, my mind still remains distracted and I cannot help but think about possible notifications I have on my phone. Do you have any recommendations for this?


Is social media keeping you from concentrating?  You’re not alone.

My response:

It sounds like you’ve taken some good steps towards fighting distractions! Here are my suggestions for what else you can do:

  1. Study with instrumental (non-vocal) classical or Baroque music in the background, if you don’t already. I find composers like Mozart help me tune out distractions and make it easier to stay focused. (In fact, I’m listening to a Mozart violin concerto right now.)
  2. Turn off the notifications on your phone completely! Don’t be a slave to the bell. Just check your social media, messages, etc., at certain times, rather than having your phone alert you when new things come in. This will, hopefully, reduce temptation and re-train your brain.
  3. Think of social media as a way to take a break after a good, productive study session. Say to yourself something like, “Okay, I’ll read my textbook for an hour and then treat myself by looking at Facebook for five minutes.”  This will give you positive reinforcement for studying; and alternating between deep concentration and something less taxing helps to keep your mind fresh.

I hope this helps!



Education Update

1) There’s an interesting article about the 10 most educated countries in the world. The U.S. did better than I expected. China isn’t on this list, which is evidently a sign that even though privileged Chinese students have been beating American students in science and math, the country as a whole has a long way to go.

Here are the top 10, with postsecondary education rates:
1. Canada
Pct. population with postsecondary education: 50%

2. Israel
Pct. population with postsecondary education: 45%

3. Japan
Pct. population with postsecondary education: 44%

4. United States
Pct. population with postsecondary education: 41%

5. New Zealand
Pct. population with postsecondary education: 40%

6. South Korea
Pct. population with postsecondary education: 39%

7. Norway
Pct. population with postsecondary education: 37%

8. United Kingdom
Pct. population with postsecondary education: 37%

9. Australia
Pct. population with postsecondary education: 37%

10. Finland
Pct. population with postsecondary education: 37%

2) Technology in the classroom.
There’s a good infographic about how professors are using social media:
Key stat: 80% of faculty use social media for some aspect of a course they are teaching.
Reading professors like an open facebook, or how teachers use social media
Courtesy of: Schools.com
And here’s an infographic on how 100% of colleges and universities are using it:
Pros and Cons of Social Media in Education

On a related note, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski have been promoting digital textbooks. I’m not about to join the debate on this divisive issue, but here are some thought-provoking articles:
The Promise of Education Technology (It’s Not Just About Lighter Backpacks), by Joel Klein
Who really benefits from putting high-tech gadgets in classrooms?, by Michael Hiltzik

Give yourself the gift of great grades.  Order your copy of The Secrets of Top Students today!