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Lesson 13: Understanding Distractions

Whether or not you become a Laureate depends a lot on the quantity and quality of work that you put in. Alas, many students tend to focus only on quantity and neglect quality. By this, I mean that students measure the amount of work they’ve done by the number of hours they’ve “spent” studying. However, they tend to ignore how efficient they were during those study hours. Suppose you’ve spent an hour sitting on your desk and you’ve only read two pages of your notes in that time. Was this hour productive enough? Probably not! On the other hand, suppose you’ve completed a past exam paper in an hour? Was this hour more productive? Probably! To become a Laureate, you need to use your study hours as efficiently as possible.

Efficiency means doing the maximum amount of work in the shortest time possible.

You don’t need to be efficient 24/7 in everything you are doing. I’m only telling you to be productive while you are studying. In other words, you need to get the most out of the time you invest in your studies. Why? Because time ranks among the most precious resources you have. However, due to the way time works, either you are using it, or you are wasting it.

The good news is that nobody has an unfair advantage or disadvantage when it comes to time. You and all your peers have 24 hours a day and seven days a week. So, what makes Laureates stand out from their peers is the way they manage that time. More precisely, they understand that time can either work for them or against them. This entire topic explains how you can make time work for you rather than against you. Here’s what prevent you from using your study hours efficiently: Distractions! The word says it all. They are things that distance you from the actions you need to do to become a Laureate.

Your level of academic success can be a result of either your distractions or your focus. It’s up to you to choose!

Before you start employing the other strategies given in this book, you first need to learn how to deal with the distractions around you. If you get distracted easily, then you’ll likely waste a lot of time during the year and will need to cram before the exams to stand a chance of getting good results.

Imagine you need to drive from point A to point B where both A and B lie on a long straight road. Suppose you want to maintain an average speed of 100 km/h throughout the journey. Further, suppose that you are already driving at 100 km/h when you arrive at point A. Then, all you need to do to achieve your 100 km/h average speed target is to maintain that speed until you reach point B. Now, imagine that the road is filled with speed-breakers such as humps. These slow you down, and after you pass them, you’ll need some additional time before you can reach your speed of 100 km/h again. Would you be able to achieve your average speed target like this? Of course, not!

Distractions work the same way. They slow you down and break your momentum and focus. Once you get distracted, you’ll need some time to get back to the level of attention you were at before the interruption. Experts say that you’ll need nearly 20 minutes to get back on track. This is the cost of one single distraction. Now, imagine what will happen if you allow yourself to be distracted multiple times during your study hours. Imagine how much time would be lost for you to get your focus and momentum back each time! Remember that you are running a marathon. Would you be able to finish the race first if you allow yourself to fall behind due to the speed-breakers, known as distractions? No!

We all have issues with distractions, even Laureates. These are the things that take your attention away from studying. They can take many forms, but they can be broadly classified into two types: Internal Distractions and External Distractions. We’ll dig deeper into these in the next two lessons. Before we can learn how to deal with them, however, we must first know why they arise:

Distractions occur as a result of lack of interest or motivation in what you are doing.

This is the ultimate reason why we get distracted so quickly and so often. We all seem to have more exciting things to do than merely studying, right? We have text messages to reply to, social media posts to view, YouTube videos to watch and video games to play. Is it hard to control the urge to get swayed by those distractions? Yes, it is. Is it doable? Of course, it is!

All you need to do is remember why you are studying. Remind yourself that you are studying to get full marks in all your subjects so that you can become a Laureate. Then, recall the reasons why you want to become a Laureate. Write them down in big, bold letters if you must. Do you:

  1. need that scholarship to fund your university studies?

  2. want the glory associated with it?

  3. want to feel the satisfaction that all your efforts and sacrifices produced the results you wanted?

  4. all of the above.

Next, compare the good and bad scenarios associated with your answer. Suppose you answered A. Then, you need to compare the following two possible outcomes:

  • If I become a Laureate, I’ll be able to study at a reputed university abroad and will have an excellent chance to start achieving my career goals.

  • If I don’t become a Laureate, I may not be able to study abroad, and consequently, it might be harder for me to achieve my career goals.

Whenever you feel distracted, you need to remember the two different scenarios – success and failure, that you imagined. This will remind you of why you are going through all the effort of studying. Once you have been reminded of this, you will regain interest in your studies, thereby making it easier for you to eliminate the distractions.

Therefore, the Key Takeaway for this lesson is

Find out your “why”.

Do you have any questions or comments? Post them below!

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