Turn Off Your Cell Phone

turn off your cell phone leah4sciDo you sneak glances at your phone while trying to be productive?

I’m guilty of it, too. It just takes 2 seconds to see who sent that text, another 5 seconds to reply – no big deal, right?
If your ideal 45-90 minute study session is constantly interrupted, how much work are you really getting done?
Ding: A new email.
Ding: New text message.
Ding: Friend just posted a funny picture on Facebook.

Perhaps you’re thinking, “Ok, still no big deal, right?”
I mean, a 1-hour session interrupted by a few notifications is still a productive 55 minute session, right?

Strike 2.

The problem with an interruption is not just how long it takes you to look/read/reply.
It’s the interruption of the momentum, thought process, and general flow of your study session.

If you are working on a synthesis problem and you get a 2-second interruption, you’ve just lost your entire train of thought.

If you’re studying a reaction, the sequence just got lost.

If you’re trying so hard to hit that “study groove,” it just keeps eluding you.
To be truly effective in your studies, you have to commit to an uninterrupted block of time. This gives your brain a chance to “warm up,” engage, build momentum, and then wind down.
Each time the process is interrupted, the creative flow is gone and you have to start again.

So don’t kid yourself: TURN OFF YOUR CELL PHONE.

Or perhaps turn the sound/vibration off, and turn your phone FACE DOWN so you don’t see the screen light up with notifications.
Commit a block of uninterrupted study time and allow yourself to “get in the zone.”
Read, study, practice… let the session get intense.
When you’re done, reward yourself with a mental break. Answer missed texts, respond to emails, post weird comments on Facebook, and enjoy your well-deserved respite.
Rinse and repeat.

Are YOU guilty of constant phone interruptions? What do you find to distract you the most? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

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