Have you ever tried to concentrate on what you are studying but random thoughts keep jumping in and out of your mind? These are internal distractions.
Internal distractions come as a result of your own drives such as your thoughts, your conflicts, and worries. They come from inside of you. This implies that you can read in the most quiet environment and still get distracted.
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On the other hand, external distractions result from something outside of yourself such as loud noises, other people disturbing you, loud music, smells, heat, cold and so on.
In my article on how to study for long hours without losing concentration, I mentioned that you should switch location if you are distracted while reading. However, changing location won’t solve your problem if the distraction comes from within.
Now, a question comes to mind, How do I stop the things that keep bothering my mind and stay focused while studying for exams? This is what I shall attempt in this article. Get ready for it.
12 Steps To Overcome Internal Distractions While Reading
1. Understand Your Mood
Ensure that you are in a good mood before you study. Bad mood can greatly affect your level of assimilation. Try to put yourself in good mood before you pick up a book to study. This is one habit of successful students.
2. Remind Yourself
Sometimes talking to yourself works. Remind yourself that you need to focus. Anytime you are losing focus due to distractions within, tell yourself “be here now”
3. Your Location Helps
If where you study constantly reminds you of a bitter experience, then you have to switch. For example, a friend of mind broke up with his girlfriend but kept getting distracted when ever he sees her writing on the table where they used to study together.
4. Read With Someone
One of the best ways to cure internal distractions is to study with someone. Immediately you get involved in active reading and discussing with someone, internal distractions goes. Group reading also make it easier for you to remember what you have studied.
5. Study with Earpiece
For some, reading along with their favourite song helps them focus and forget their worries. However, if songs keep reminding you of your heartbreaks, then it is not good for you.
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6. Take A Break In Between Study
Your brain gets saturated when you study for too long without break. This could make you begin to get distracted. Try to take short breaks as you study to calm yourself down and suppress all worries.
7. Plan Your Study
When you’ve got an exam coming up, it’s easy to think you need to study everything. This will mat unnecessary pressure on you. Instead, break down the topics in parts. Say something like, I will study two comprehension passages today and read idioms tomorrow. With this, you will be less distracted.
8. Turn off Your Phone Or Limit Usage While Studying
A single call or message can destroy the attention you are trying to build. Calls and messages remind you of different things. If possible, turn off your phone completely while you study. But if you are studying with the phone, face your studies and let texting, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Whatsapp and other distractions be.
9. Switch Subject If It Is No Longer Fun
When you study a particular difficult topic for too long, it seizes to be fun. This will make internal distractions grow stronger. Switch subjects or topics to enjoy what you are studying.
10. Fear Of Failure Should Wait
Fear of failure could cause internal distractions. Fear makes your mind jump from what you are reading to how you are going to fail the exam. Don’t be scared that you will fail the test. Even if you have to, not while you are studying.
11. Eat Before Reading
If you are hungry, it will be hard for you to focus on your studies. After all, a hungry man is an angry man. Ensure you take something light before reading. Else, your mind will keep drawing your attention to food and negative thoughts. Also, Drink plenty of water while studying to avoid internal distraction.
12. Sleep When You Feel Like
The truth of the matter is that you cannot cheat nature. Don’t expect to read for long hours when you have already deprived yourself of sleep. Always have enough rest before picking up a book to study. Sleep can really increase internal distractions.
Conclusion: Both internal and external distractions are not good for you. However, you can overcome them. The methods above will work for you whether you are preparing for high school exam, scholarships, college/university exams, Jamb, Waec, Neco and Post UTME.
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