Handing Distractions when Studying at Home

Some learners prefer to learn at home as opposed to attending a University. Practical reasons such as the availability of University resources and the increasing cost of transport forces some students to complete most of their learning at home. Working from home is beneficial but the learner needs to develop a system and a routine for managing and dealing with distractions. Distractions can be a barrier to learning, and if the distractions are consistent then there is little value in learning from home. 

Distraction management

Create an action list of the existing and potential future distractions. For each existing distraction, note how they are to be handled to reduce their probability of interfering with the learning process. For each future distraction, note how they shall be handled if they occur to reduce the effects they might have on the learning process.

Dedicate a room or area of a room for learning

Dedicating a room purely for learning would be ideal as all the equipment and books would be in that room. The learner can inform other people living in the house not to enter the room during certain time. Alternatively, locate an area of an existing room to dedicate to learning. A popular example is an area of an upstairs bedroom.

Distraction levels can increase due to modern bedrooms consisting of books, TVs and other electronic devices. Learners therefore need to be disciplined and organised through setting time periods for entertainment and learning. Ensure the learning area has appropriate air conditioning and lightening for learning needs. If need be, invest in fans, heaters and extra lighting as necessary. 

Set a routine

Set a regular routine for learning and breaks so that the information has time to digest and for any stress or frustration levels to be maintained at a low level. Keep a regular diary of the learning activities that need to be completed, such as reading a chapter of a book, or writing notes from a series of different resources. This shall improve motivation and self discipline because a regular structure to each learning session shall be developed and followed.

Dealing with children

Set time for any children that need looking after. Spend time with them every day after school to help them with their own schoolwork or to just spend time with them in general. Some parents find it easy to study at night, particularly if they have preschool children. 

Computing activities

Unplug the Internet whilst working on none Internet required applications, for example when using a word processor to type the work or using a spreadsheet to analyse data. Only use the Internet during learning sessions to do research only. Also turn off all mobile phones so that any phone calls and texts messages do not distract from learning. 

Position the computer so that the monitor is not reflecting light from the sun or from any lights within the room. Reflections can cause difficulty in viewing the monitor display and will cause a distraction. If this is not possible, the shut the curtains to reduce the amount of sunlight reflecting off the computer monitor.

Appropriate planning and organising will eradicate the majority of existing distractions or at least minimise their effects on learning and concentration. Plan a regular routine of learning and breaks and stick to this routine as much as possible, as this shall increase motivation and discipline. This routine, the timing of learning sessions and breaks, will be determined by the home environment such if whether or not pets and children need to be looked after.