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If you normally study on campus or work in an office, switching to working or studying from home can be hard. Whether it's social media, cute pets, or a sub-optimal desk set up, there are lots of things that can distract you. We've put together a few tips to help you keep your focus.

Your space is everything

Make your study or work space a distraction-free zone. If you have to work or study at home, make sure that your immediate household, friends, and family know. Whether that means telling them in advance or sticking a "Do Not Disturb" sign on your door, make sure they're aware of the situation.

Regardless of whether you have a dedicated study space or not, it's also important to clear your area before you study. Get rid of any distracting bits and bobs and only leave the essentials. If you have to set up on the dining room table, make sure you draw a line between your work and personal life and pack it up at the end of the day or on weekends. 

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If you have kids at home there's no harm in asking someone in your household to distract them for a little while. You might not get to have the house to yourself, but you can reduce interruptions. This is especially important if you have a live lecture or video call meeting to attend. Our early childhood education and care teachers even have some ideas of things you can do to keep the kids entertained like making goop, playdough, and other cost-effective activities you can do at home. 

Ditch social media and other distracting apps

We all know it can be tempting to want to your check your Insta story, WhatsApp convo or the reactions you've got for your new bin isolation outing video on Facebook. But once you fall down the social media rabbit hole, it can be hard to crawl back out.

So here's a proposition.

When you know you have to buckle down and work and can't trust yourself to stay off your phone, uninstall your social, entertainment and game apps. When your work day or study sesh is over you can reinstall them. It can make a world of difference to your focus and outcomes.

If you just need a gentle nudge, chances are you can instead set daily time limits for these apps. Check out this handy guide for Apple and Android phones respectively. 

Get rid of your phone (temporarily)

If you know that uninstalling or limiting your social media is not enough to keep you from reaching for your phone, challenge yourself by switching your phone off and leaving it in another room. Out of sight, out of mind.

With no phone, you may find yourself absentmindedly going on social media on your computer. To nip this in the bud, use a browser extension like StayFocusd to either block or restrict the amount of time you spend on non-study related websites.

If you're working from home and want to give this technique a go, make sure you talk to your manager and team first. Let them know when you'll be unavailable by phone and what alternate contact methods they can get you on (like email). 

Block it out with music

We have all put on our earphones to work or study, played our favourite tunes, and ended up having a mini jam or dance session instead of focusing on the task at hand. This can leave many of us to wonder if playing music can really help us concentrate.

The answer is, it depends.

Some work well with their favourite tunes playing in the background, whilst others don't. If you don't, try listening to instrumentals instead as you may find it less distracting. Better yet, white noise is great to listen to when studying or working as it drowns out other distracting noises. Getting yourself a pair of noise-cancelling headphones is also a great option to help reduce distractions.

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Match your energy with the difficulty of the task

As humans we tend to procrastinate and end up leaving the most difficult tasks to the end. However our energy levels at the start of a day are much higher. So don't leave the big tasks till later, tackle them first when you have the energy and focus to get them done.


If you're a TAFE Queensland student, find out how you can make the transition from studying on campus to online as easy as possible with our handy guide.

 

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