Continuing on the last post’s theme of getting things done, here’s the Tokyo Academics philosophy on distraction. We hear from many of our students (and parents!) that they face endless distractions. The world has a seemingly infinite number of people, places, things, ideas, and advertisements, all seeking a share of our time. How do we block this all out and focus?
There are three main categories of distraction:
A) Rehearsal loops: Your mind goes in circles remembering what you need to do instead of doing what you need to do
B) Environmental: The ambient level of noise and disturbances where you are working lowers your productivity
C) Impulses / events: Intrusions by electronic messages, visitors, phone calls, etc. jolt you out of your concentration
At Tokyo Academics, we have ways we use to limit each of these:
A) Rehearsal loops
- As discussed in the last post, write things down. Better yet, write things down in order of importance and urgency. Even better yet, create a step-by-step action plan for your urgent and important tasks – your brain will thank you!
- Once you commit all of the things you’re supposed to do onto paper, you offload an immense amount of cognitive energy onto a piece of paper, allowing you to focus back on one task at a time.
- Find a quiet, temperature-controlled place to study – you can’t focus if you’re not comfortable.
- At Tokyo Academics, we keep our temperatures slightly on the warmer side (22-23 C / 72-73 F), and faculty and students alike often use construction ear-protectors to keep out ambient noise (see the lovely me below). Headphones work as well, as long as you’re listening to slower tempo, non-lyrical music.
C) Impulses / events
- Limit ways people can reach and interrupt you. The most obvious step here is to turn off and put away your smartphone. All your Snapchats, Skype messages, Facebook updates, and video game invites can wait till after you’re done working – no one will notice, and you’ll be more productive.
- While you are focused on studying these impulses can come to mind, so use a sheet of paper to list the impulses until a designated break: a 5 minute break for every 25 min of studying for example, then rinse and repeat.
- Also, for studying, avoid going to the same cafes, libraries, or coffee shops as your friends – many of my intended study sessions have turned into social occasions after chance encounters with friends at favorite locations.
If you work to address each type of distraction, we know you’ll find yourself much more able to focus and concentrate on finishing your homework for your tutor or class at Tokyo Academics (or for anything else!).
Lastly, if you ever need a quiet, supervised, and central place to study, all of our students are always welcome to work at the Tokyo Academics learning center, whether they have a lesson or not.