Avoiding distracting cell phone notifications is necessary to study effectively. (Image courtesy of High School Insider)
La Cañada High School

Opinion: How I cope with distractions

How long does it take to do your homework? A very long time. When do you sleep? Late. I used to answer these questions with an immediate “quickly” or “early” but not anymore. It has not been long since I changed my working habits and schedule, and it took many long, aching days for me to fix them because distractions were the obstacles I had to face in my everyday life.

I was not proud of falling asleep while studying and sleeping late, always feeling exhausted as I went to bed. Every morning, I had the mindset of trying my best and making sure that my day would be productive. I had to learn how to balance my time efficiently with extracurriculars and schoolwork, but unfortunately, I could not.

The seven long hours of school had me wanting to pick up my phone to watch YouTube and scroll through my Instagram. I knew I could not live like this for another two and a half years of high school, and thinking about living in this way in the future brings a shudder. So this year, I decided to make time management as one of my New Year’s resolution goals and at least make this goal successful among the other ones.

Many students and adults may currently be in a similar situation I was in. Over the years, we can say that distractions have increased, with technology developing and people having their own devices. I know I am not the only one who puts the phone somewhere near when studying.

“For distractions, I turn on study music on Spotify and if that doesn’t persuade me to work, I go on YouTube and search for a ‘Study with Me’ video to get motivation,” Minju Kim, a senior at Academy of the Canyons said.

People have different ways of dealing with distractions. Since I could not place my phone out of my sight, I thought about turning on “Do Not Disturb,” a feature that silences notifications. The black screen, surprisingly, made me avoid picking up my phone every few minutes and instead, allowed me to concentrate on my work.

The “Do not disturb” setting on iPhones is a useful way to avoid distractions. (Image courtesy of Holly Bae)

However, the feature did not stop me from logging into Instagram because I already had notifications off for the application when I first downloaded it. In order to reach my goal, I took it a step farther, by deleting the application on my phone. My screen time for Instagram decreased from three hours to 30 minutes because I even though I had access to the website, it was a burden for me to type it each time I wanted to visit it.

My iPhone also had another feature that I took advantage of: Screen Time. This feature lets me know specifically how much time I spent on certain applications, totals the number of hours spent on my phone each day, and gives a summary of the week. What I find interesting about this feature is that it reveals how much time was increased or decreased, percentage-wise, giving me a chance to decrease the time, like defeating a score on a game.

In the end, I realized that what could be finished in two hours took me twice as long. The couple of changes I made to my daily life increased the amount of productivity and allowed me to sleep a few hours earlier, making me ready for the next day.