How To Deal With Distractions While Studying (Or At Work)

If you wish to use your time effectively, it is important to know how to deal with distractions while studying or at work. Focus is important for you to achieve a given number of goals within the planned time.

How To Deal With Distractions While Studying (Or At Work)

Both external as well as internal factors play a major role when it comes to distractions.

For instance, it could be as simple as the place where you have decided to work or study. If you decide to study in the park, you are bound to get distracted by the number of things that happen in the park. Let us look at the factors in detail.

External factors

As the name suggests, these distraction causing factors are based on the external environment you choose to work. These factors are common to both students as well as those who are working.


Most of us cannot focus on work or studies if the place we choose to work is noisy.

At this juncture, you are left with two options. If you are at the liberty to sit and study elsewhere, then find yourself a calm spot, preferably a library.

On the other hand, if you have noisy colleagues and you don’t have the luxury of shifting your workstation to some calm place in your office, get yourself an MP3 player and listen to calm and soothing music to zone out the external noise.

Peer Pressure:

If you are a student, you will often have at least two friends in your gang who would not be interested to study.

They would insist on spending the time on some leisure activities and taunt you till you agree to spend your time with them instead of studying.

Learn to not succumb to such peer pressure. If you have a clear-cut schedule to follow, don’t move away from it unless it is absolutely necessary.

Peers and other people can also come into play and influence your time management skills.

For instance, co-workers, especially those not as busy as you are, can be a great source of distraction. That said, to become an effective time manager, you do not need to resign from your job; all you need is take necessary steps to avoid these distractions from idle co-workers.

How to Avoid Interruptions

Here is how to avoid distraction from peers (as well as how to avoid peer pressure)

To Avoid Casual Stop Bys’ From Your Co-Workers, Close Your Door

If necessary, place a do not disturb sign on your door, and let people know that you should not be disturbed (unless there is an emergency) when your office door is closed.

Talk It Over

If someone in your workplace frequently disrupts you for non-essential matters, talk with the person about the problem. You may be surprised to learn that the person did not even realize he/she was distracting you.

Use Earphone or Headphones

If you work in an open office environment or a cubicle, you are less likely to see interruptions when wearing headphones, even if you are not listening to music.

Visual distractions:

Many a times, most of us would rather spend our times gazing at the poster on our walls and daydreaming when we should have be utilizing the time for something effective.

Remove such visual distractions and put them where you cannot see it. This will ensure that your attention is not divided.

Let us highlight some common visually distracting objects you probably did not consider risk to effective time management:

SEE ALSO: What Is SQ3R Reading Method? [Ultimate 5-Step Guide]

Common Visual Distractions and How to Avoid Them

The Internet

Despite being a good communication and access information tool, the internet can derail your productivity. Surfing the internet can take up a considerable amount of time.

In fact, if you fail to exercise caution, when searching for one thing on the internet, a single minute can easily morph into thirty minutes or more.

So is there a way to ensure you do not spend all your morning hours on the internet doing nothing productive?

How to Avoid

To avoid internet based distractions:

Take short breaks to surf the internet (1). Small breaks after intensive work can be useful for resting your mind as they give you an opportunity to renew your energy.

Keep your internet browser closed when you are not using it. However, some internet platforms such as Twitter can be a great source of news relative to your industry. Therefore, it is useful to check such a platform at specific times of the day.

Read the news before you start your day: read newspapers or visit news websites before work to avoid distraction during the day. Ensure you allocate a specific time for this so that you do not get easily distracted.

Use software applications such as anti-social or freedom to minimize online distractions. With these, you can specify websites you want to block and for how long.

Block all distracting websites and apps: This happens to almost everyone. Let us assume an email notification comes in and you are tempted to check it out.

In the process, every likelihood is that you will also be tempted to make a brief stopover on Twitter or other social media site and before you know it, 30 minutes are gone.

There are applications and software that restrict specific website visit at specific times, use this to eliminate web distractions.

Instant Messaging

While instant messaging can be useful, many times, coworkers can use it as a way to interrupt you without having to get up from their workspaces.

If you have to use instant messaging, make a point of using it for small and quick queries.

However, if you still find it distracting, consider scheduling specific times for being online during the day. When you do not want instant messaging contact, set your status to “busy” or leave it off.

Phone, And Phone Calls

Having a state of the art Smartphone may cause addiction to playing games or surfing the net, which eventually, wastes precious time.

Further, frequent phone calls from friends calling to wish you a good day can waste your time.

Just because the phone is ringing does not necessarily mean you have to answer it especially when you are concentrating on something important.

If possible, turn off your phone during your most productive working hours to minimize distractions. You could also inform your team that you will not be taking non-essential calls during specific times of the day.

SEE ALSO: How To Manage Anger In The Workplace: [New 10-Step Program]


Just like phone calls and instant messaging chats, frequent emails from subscribed services or advertisers can put a kink on your schedule. You need to manage the number and timing of received emails by following these steps:

How to Minimize Email Distractions

Only check your email at specific times: Find the most appropriate time to check your email, and make it as infrequent as possible depending on the nature of your work.

If you rely on email for business, you may want to check it regularly, maybe 3 times per day or so.

Turn off audible email alerts: An alert every time someone sends you an email can waste a lot of time since your first instinct is to check what the email is about.

This is allowing others to control your time. The only time you should check your email is when it is convenient or necessary to do so.

Communicate in advance: In most cases, most of the queries you receive regularly through mail tend to be about the same issues.

If you already have this information available to people in F.A.Q’s on the intranet or your website, you can significantly reduce the queries you receive on a regular basis by communicating the existence of these files in advance

Do not send emails in person: Avoid having to respond to emails in person unless otherwise stated; doing so can cause distraction and waste your time.

Redirect any discussion that can be dealt with without having a debate over email. This will give you enough control over every query and the amount of time you give it. If email is not sufficient, use the phone.

Otherwise, you can have a close confidant or employee attend to some of these mails.

Physical clutter

Did you know that physical clutter could distract you from your work and alter your overall view of life?

Unbelievable as it sounds, clutter can weigh you down, and eventually disrupt your effective time management skills.

For instance, working from a disorganized office or desk can be distracting (2). When your work life or workspace is in state of disorganization, you often find it difficult to think and plan effectively; hence, the importance of having an organized desk or home.

However, tackling clutter can sometime seem an uphill task, especially if you do not know where to start.

Nevertheless, if you devote a little time to de-clutter your life, your will experience the pleasure of living in a relaxed environment, having a more organized and peaceful existence, as well as become a better time manager.

Start to de-clutter your life, your home, and your work through a simplified, one-step at a time process outlined below.

Thank you for reading this article about how to deal with distractions at work and I really hope that you take action my advice.

I wish you good luck and I hope its contents have been a good help to you.

Przemkas Mosky
Przemkas Mosky started Perfect 24 Hours in 2017. He is a Personal Productivity Specialist, blogger and entrepreneur. He also works as a coach assisting people to increase their motivation, social skills or leadership abilities. Read more here