Today's world is full of pop-up ads, ticker tape running across every website, and an endless string of Dings, Bzzzs, and Ring-rings. While it's great to have so much information at your fingertips, the problem is everyone's focus is so quickly — look, something shiny! — diverted. And if you have a project to complete or a homework assignment that needs researching, a short task could end up taking forever. So unplug! Try the following tactics next time you need to hunker down and get something done.
- Turn off your phone. Gasp! Radical idea, I know. But I promise you, it is worth it. Once you get past the mental anxiety of "What if someone just posted on my Facebook wall or sent me a text and I don't know about it?" your mind will be free to focus on accomplishing the tasks at hand. I promise, those messages will be waiting for you when you turn your phone back on. Enjoy it! Take a page from Mel Gibson in Braveheart: "Freedom!"
- Tell people that you will be unavailable. If your family and friends are likely to panic and call for a search party if they can't reach you, send them an email, text them or put up a Facebook message saying, "Going to unplug for a bit, I'll be back online in 2 hours."
- Close out of your email inbox. This is especially important if you are at work. Whether you are a person who gets 50 emails a day or 500, chances are high a new email is going to come through when you're trying to work on a project. If the project is a priority, then answering emails can wait for an hour or two.
- Turn off the TV. Create a peaceful environment. You cannot be distracted by an intriguing commercial if the TV is not on. Your eyes cannot be frantically pulled to the screen if something explosive happens. You can turn the TV back on once you have completed your project — use that as your "As soon as I finish this project, I can ..." incentive.
While at first these tactics may make you uncomfortable, you will get used to it, and you'll accomplish more projects in a timely manner. Even better, I bet you'll begin to enjoy the freedom of being "unplugged," too.
Looking for more study and school tips? Read our College Success blog.