5 Tips To Avoid Distractions As A PhD Student

The academic workload associated with a PhD study can be rigorous and the potential work commitments as a teaching assistant, research assistant, or lecturer can sap away the time necessary to complete the dissertation. Distractions, if not properly managed, can be the bane of the doctorate program. To avoid distractions as a PhD student, there are certain principles, you must strictly adhere to.

Doctoral candidates frequently face challenges balancing family and work responsibilities, and the attitude of certain individuals can make it particularly challenging to seek assistance. Again, one of the most daunting roadblocks on the journey to the PhD is overcoming the mountain of keeping focused on reading, analyzing, and writing, often for a few years – Distractions as a PhD student.

While it is true that sometimes people grow weary and need a break, many turn a five-minute breather into a year or two of unproductivity. Getting distracted is very common among students doing their doctorate and these distractions can influence the completion of a PhD. To guide doctoral students to overcome distractions, in this article, we will discuss strategies for overcoming distractions in PhD at the various stages of research and writing of a dissertation.

Best Ways to Avoid Distractions As a PhD Student

5 Tips To Avoid Distractions As A PhD StudentDistraction can deter PhD students when they are trying to get as much work done in a limited amount of time. Sometimes when they are trying to avoid one thing, they end up doing another, which can be quite frustrating. Avoiding distraction as a student has therefore become inevitable but how?

By applying the following tested and proven strategies for overcoming distractions in PhD, you can avoid distractions as a student as well. These tips are not just for PhD students alone, but all students who wish to focus on their studies. Here are the best ways to avoid distractions as a PhD Student.

  1. Establish a Productive Study Environment

To concentrate effectively, it is crucial to establish a suitable study space. As a PhD student, you likely have numerous books and significant assignments to complete and it is common to become easily distracted and move around.

It is good to establish a productive study environment free from noise and, most importantly, television, as it tends to cause the most interruptions. It is also not advisable to have an environment that is overly comfortable as it may lead to excessive sleepiness. Ideally, a desk with a moderately comfortable chair is recommended.

To establish an environment in which you will be most productive, you need to think about the places in which you have achieved the most productivity in the past. What were the surroundings like? Where were you? What materials were available to you at the time? What was the quality of the lighting? By asking yourself these questions, you will be able to discern the type of place in which you can work most efficiently.

Whether it’s the calm of the library, or educational videos at a local Starbucks that would be more productive for you, take the necessary time in selecting the places that best suit your work habits. Lastly, make sure that all necessary materials are easily accessible and that the temperature of the area is neither too cold nor too warm.

  1. Create a Daily Schedule and Set Priorities

The point of setting priorities and creating a daily schedule is that you can make sure you have effective time that you can spend on your research. If you have well-planned work and a list of tasks you need to complete, you are less likely to be distracted, as you will know what task you should be doing at any given time. Having a schedule that you can stick to will ensure commitment and deter distractions making you consistent and your goals for the day will be easily achieved

Mastering the skill of managing distractions and maintaining attention is crucial to generating outcomes of superior quality. A study done by Stanford University demonstrates that focusing on a single activity is more efficient and productive than attempting to juggle many tasks simultaneously.

  1. Utilize Time Management Techniques

The saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” holds substance here. To avoid distraction as a student, time management skills must be learned, or else you will have yourself to blame. Automatically, a PhD Study is scheduled to last for 3 years on average but many students fail to complete it within this time. Why? The reason is not far-fetched – many students see three years as “enough time for PhD” and while away their time without knowing it.

Related: Time Management Tools For PhD Students

To avoid this particular distraction, you must develop and utilize time management techniques effectively. To effectively manage your time, it is important to prioritize your responsibilities and gauge the amount of time required to complete them. Creating a weekly schedule and a daily to-do list can help keep track of tasks that need to be addressed and those that have already been accomplished.

  1. Minimize Digital Distractions

To ensure maximum productivity and concentration as a PhD student, it is essential to minimize internet distractions. This can be accomplished by utilizing an array of beneficial tools such as website blockers, purpose-built phone apps, and effective notification management systems. It is also crucial to diligently organize and handle emails, efficiently manage social media accounts, and optimize digital spaces by decluttering and streamlining them.

These strategies have been thoroughly tested and proven to enhance focus on tasks. By integrating these techniques into your daily routine, you can create a work environment conducive to successful research endeavors, significantly increasing the likelihood of making substantial progress. Be assured that by effectively managing and reducing digital disruptions, you will be able to accomplish your academic objectives and excel in your doctoral program.

  1. Practice Self-Discipline and Mindfulness

This is important because of inherent difficulties in avoiding distraction. The only time when there are no distractions at all is when we are sleeping. Realizing this fact, the ideal way to avoid distractions is not by eradicating them but by managing them. This is where self-regulation is very required. If you can restrain things that you consider as distractions until the specified time, it is not far that your plan will run smoothly according to what is scheduled.

Whenever you notice your mind wandering, make a conscious effort to redirect your focus back to the task at hand. As peculiar as it may seem, you could carry a stone in your pocket and transfer it to the opposite pocket each time you find yourself being distracted. This action serves as a constant reminder to maintain concentration on your work. Mindfulness is a growing trend and, while you don’t have to go to extremes, practising some mindfulness meditation may prove advantageous in enhancing your attention and awareness.


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