Quora

How Can I Eliminate Distractions When Studying?

Become so ultra-present that distractions just... disappear.


How can I stop myself wasting time and start studying with consistency without getting distracted? originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

When you hear people say, “We live in the most distracted time in human history,” what’s your first reaction?

A lot of people feel depressed.

I almost start drooling with anticipation.

Why?

Because it’s a HUGE opportunity for people like you and me—people who are NOT distracted—to become the most valuable humans on the planet.

I want you to take a two-step approach:

Step 1: Identity, own and eliminate your distractions.

Now, the most dangerous distractions are the ones that you don’t know are distracting you.

The other day I was on Instagram, not living my dream. I’m living Instagram’s dream, right? Then my phone rings, and I’m looking at it, and I’m being distracted from my distractions!

That’s a dangerous place to be.

Which is exactly why you need to name your distractions. So you can be more aware.

My phone? Check.

TV? Check.

Deliveries that come to the house? Check.

Once you identify your distractions, you can take ownership of them.

Take a nice deep breath, think about your life, and start writing. I want you to be brutally honest here. Which of your activities are a distraction from actually living?

Watching hours of random TV shows? Vacantly scrolling through your social media feeds? Eating mindlessly? Drinking?

Write it all down. Don’t be embarrassed; you’re the only one who will see this list. It’s important to be completely open with yourself about how you distract yourself from living out of your declaration.

Now organize your distraction list. Divide that list into three sections: distractions you can get rid of tomorrow, distractions you can get rid of in a month, and distractions you can get rid of in a year.

Keep that list with you. Make a copy and put it up in your bathroom or on your bedside table or somewhere you’ll see it every day. Eliminate, eliminate, eliminate.

Step 2: Become so ultra-present that distractions just... disappear.

Now there will be distractions that you can’t get rid of. You’ll need a strategy for those.

Think about Tom Brady at the Super Bowl. He walks up to take the snap, and the defense is screaming and yelling out plays to try and distract him. One hundred thousand fans, booing him. Rain coming down on his face. You know the scene.

Do you think Tom Brady is distracted?

No way.

As one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, he is inclusive of those distractions. He is not pretending that they are not there. He includes those distractions and makes them part of his game.

That is what we call ultra-presence, or doing a dance with everything around you.

By the way, this isn’t limited to great athletes. In my book, There’s No Plan B for Your A-Game, I talk about how Navy Seals, Green Berets, and firefighters have to use this same principle.

Now look back at your distractions list: What are those distractions in your life that you have to include?

Bring them along with you, include them as part of you. Learn to dance with those distractions.

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