Five revision distractions and how to overcome them

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Revision distractions are everywhere. If the WhatsApp group isn't pulling you in, that uncompleted Netflix episode is. We all know how to get pulled away from our revision, but how do we pull ourselves back, or better still not get pulled away at all? We're here to help!

1. The Phone

Having a phone buzz away whilst you’re in the middle of reviewing flash cards or typing up notes is pretty much the same as Ant and Dec making a D-list celeb choose between a gourmet burger or a bowl of fish eyes. You can salivate over checking the WhatsApp group, but deep down you know you have to persevere and stomach the flash cards, notes or whatever else is on the revision menu for that day. What you don’t have is an angry Scarlett Moffatt stood over your shoulder ready to pounce on you at the thought of you picking the phone over the revision. It makes this bushtucker trial a lot more painful.

So what are your options?

  • Turn it off
  • Stick it on airplane mode and hide it out of sight
  • Purposely give it to your parents.

If you’ve tried and failed with all of the above there are apps that can help. Here are two that can ease the pain and help bring home all the stars from your revision trial.

Flipd - It allows you to disable your phone for between two minutes to 12 hours. It blocks all your apps leaving only the necessities. It’s an extreme measure, but it may be needed!

BreakFree - Want to know just how much of a phone addict you are and cut down at the same time? BreakFree tracks the usage of your phone, how many times you use it, which apps are used and when. It then complies the data into an ‘addiction score’.

2. The games console

Who needs a B in Geography when you can be the next Jose Mourinhio? Do you really need to learn about Tudor Kings when you’ve got a zombie outbreak to survive? And who can be bothered to highlight when you can cruise the streets of Los Santos? The gaming world is a cruel mistress when it comes to revision. Once you’re in there is no easy out. Your revision can soon become a distant memory.

So the trick? Try not to turn it on. If you have half a day of revision planned, do it in the morning. Get it out of the way. Then you have the afternoon to game all you want. If you’re revising all day, you may require something a bit more drastic. Prolong the period that it takes for you to simply switch the console on. Stop and think, do you really need to game or is there still revision to be done?

Start by unplugging the console and hide your controller as far away  as possible. Making a distraction less easy to engage with and prolonging your ability to just stop revising and just start procrastinating will help you focus and give you time to think about what you should really be doing. This in turn will help you centre more of your time on the revision. 

3. The TV

Breaking Bad, done. Walking Dead, done. Stranger Things, done. What’s next? Well revision. We’ve all been at the bottom of a boxset hole. The question is how do we climb out? Or even better, stop falling in? A lot like gaming as soon as you’ve got invested in this, five minutes can quite easily turn into five hours.

But there is help! Try these top tips.

  • Stop mid-episode – halve your binges by halving the episodes. Simply wait for the plot to slow down or for the scene to change, pause and come back to it later. The beauty here is that you’re dragging yourself away from your shows at low points not the big cliff hangers at the end of episodes.  This will make it easier to stop watching.
  • Binge day – Pick a down period in your revision, then simply binge out on telly. Watch as much as you can for as long as you can. After getting through the whole third season of Breaking Bad in one sitting, you’ll need a week’s holiday and a month away from Walter White before you’ll even feel the urge to go back.
  • Disable auto play to stop the next episode starting before you can say ‘mindmap’.– How to do it?
For Netflix:

Head to Netflix in your browser - Sign in and go to the Your Account page Go to ‘Playback settings’ in the ‘My Profile’ section - Under 'Preferences', uncheck the box next to ‘Play next episode automatically’.

More of an Amazon Video user:
Head to the Amazon Video web site in your browser Sign in and go to Settings - Under the 'Player Preferences' section to switch autoplay to off.

4. The time waster

For some people, giving up their phone, console and Netflix for an extended period of time is no problem. But, boy can they waste time re-ordering their pencil case, selotaping themselves to their chair, or deciding that today is a great time to do the bedroom deep clean that they’ve been putting off for the past year. Sometimes the shear boredom of revising can force you to waste hours doing all manner of tasks.

If this is you, it’s probably your study area that has become as stale as the topics themselves. Try mixing up where you revise. Go to the library, a coffee shop, the park - areas where you’re not going be dragged in to digging out your primary school swimming certificates or seeing what outfits are in the back of your wardrobe. Go somewhere where your mind is less likely to wander to let you focus on your work.

5. The family

Parents, siblings, cousins and pets are among the noisiest and most annoying distractions you’ll come across. Whether they are cleaning, arguing or banging on your door, revising at home can be a nightmare. Unlike your phone or XBox, sadly they don’t have an off switch. You’re going to need another tactic to stop the relatives from ruining your revision.

Start by speaking to them. They may not realise what goes into revision and how hard it can be. Let them know your exam and revision timetables. You could work out a schedule with your parents so they do the noisy jobs around the house when you’re on a break. Ask your siblings not to chat to you at certain times. Slot in breaks where you can go have a chat and catch up with them. It’s sometimes easier said than done, but communication at the outset is key to making this work and eliminating the family distractions.

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