Why do we get distracted?
Life is full of various types of distractions that stop us from working and studying at our full capacity. This is especially true to students in the current generation. Thus, the main question we want to answer is how can we not get distracted? However, before that, we must first understand why we get distracted.
The main source of distraction for humans surprisingly is not an external factor, but rather an internal inducement. By nature, humans dislike and avoid being uncomfortable. This is why we yearn for A.C. in the summer and wear extra layers of clothing when its cold. Likewise, we open Instagram and Facebook when we get lonely and play video games when we are bored. These distractions that students have difficulty overcoming when studying is entirely engendered by the inherent desire of humans to escape the feeling of discomfort.
How do we cope with discomfort?
The honest answer to this question is that there is no clear cut solution as it is impossible to change the instinctive nature that is programmed into our DNA. We simply cannot completely get rid of our desire for new and exciting things that stimulate our interest. Therefore, we must use a carefully developed and effective plan to appropriately satisfy our desires while also focusing on our work/studies. Simply resisting the urge to succumb to temptations is not a smart method as it will most likely induce negative results. This is why completely abstaining from smoking, alcohol, and other distractions normally end in failure. The more humans abstain from an addiction, the higher the discomfort level; the higher the discomfort, the more pleasure that comes when finally escaping the uncomfortable state and giving in to the distraction. Thus, we need to provide our brains the relief from the discomfort, but with the appropriate amount and healthy mindset.
The Solution: 10 Minute Rule
If we cannot completely resist from distractions, the solution is to incorporate the 10 minute rule into our lives. The rule is simple. Allow yourself to give in to the distraction for exactly 10 minutes. For example, if you’re studying and would like to get on your phone, set a timer for 10 minutes and allow yourself to not just give in to the distraction but actually appreciate and reflect on it. Our emotions are like waves and will continuously climax and come down, and we just need to match the rhythm. Once the ten minutes are over, if you are able to review your emotions during the 10 minutes and rather than feel disdain and regret, have curiosity for the thought process, you will be able to maintain a healthy and productive life schedule. You will no longer experience an internal conflict between your motivation to focus and desire to escape the uncomfortable situation, and be able to effectively overcome distractions through this 10 minute rule practice.