Distractions, Distractions, Distractions
Distractions. They are everywhere. We are all constantly consuming information, and very little of it is sticking. Studies have shown that, on average, office workers can only focus for three minutes at a time. Yep, that’s right, three minutes.
We all live in constant pressure to be accessible to everybody, all of the time . . . except those present in front of our faces. We are glued to our devices, checking to see if another notification has popped up or if a text has come in. We are so used to our phones constantly alerting us that when they aren’t, we either check to make sure something isn’t wrong or think we felt our phones buzz. It is so common that this phenomenon actually has a name, phantom vibration syndrome. No wonder we can’t stay on task; we spend too much time scrolling or picking up our phones every few minutes.
If, on average, we are only able to focus for three minutes at a time, how are we supposed to be successful when studying for the FE or PE exam? You can do a few things today to start to change your relationship with your devices so that you can be more successful in all aspects of your life.
- Remember that computers, phones, and apps were all designed to keep your eyes on them (can we say addiction?). Once you realize this, it will be a little easier to recognize when it is happening to you.
- Determine boundaries. Boundaries will help you stay focused and engaged in what you are working on instead of always worrying about what you are missing.
- Choose a goal. Is this the year that you will finally pass the FE or the PE exam? Put your energy into this one goal. When you are mindlessly scrolling through your feed, you can ask yourself, is this getting me closer to my goal? If it’s not, change your behavior.
- Be present. Put your phone down. And not on the table, just in case someone texts you. Put it away and really be present in whatever you are doing. If you are in a work meeting, studying, or sitting at dinner with your loved one, put your phone away and practice being present.
…and speaking of distractions, here are some additional tips to help you so you can focus on your studies in a proper fashion. I could go into each of these in detail but I'll spare that for later (probably a podcast episode). In short, here are things you need to do to help you find success as you get into study mode:
- Get organized (get a to-do list going, block off study time, etc.)
- Silence all your alerts/phones with the tips listed above.
- Break big things into small things.
- Use music to cut down on distractions (time to get classical?).
- Find the best environment for you to study (I've seen people use their closets!).
- Clean up your study area (yes, you.).
- Take breaks and reward yourself.
Civil Engineering Academy is here to the rescue if you are ready to pass the FE or PE exam and need a little extra help. We are committed to helping aspiring Civil Engineers pass their exams and develop the skills to be successful in their careers.
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