How to Avoid 5 Common Time Wasters While Studying

Do you find yourself sitting down to study, only to be distracted by a captivating text message or Facebook post? Do you spend the first 15 minutes of your study hour searching for your lost notes? In an age where multitasking is a part of everyday life, teens are finding it harder to focus on singular important tasks like studying for dual credit exams. Here are five of the most common time wasters and how you can avoid them.

1. Surfing the internet while you should be studying.
According to the New York Time’s article, “Growing up Digital,Wired for Distraction,” Students are facing a constant stream of stimuli from computers and cell phones, which poses clear challenges to learning and focusing. According to researchers, young people with developing brains can easily become habituated to multitasking, and less able to focus on the topic at hand. This is particularly worrisome for students who spend a lot of their study-time online. The booklet Biblically Handling Technology & Social Media, which we include in every Dual Credit at Home student’s Getting Started Pack, is full of information and ideas about your use of technology.

Simply trying to will the distractions away might not be enough. A physical site-blocker can be added to your computer to keep distractions at bay. StayFocused for Google Chrome allows you to enter your time-wasting sites and put a time limit on how many minutes you can visit the sites each day. When your time is depleted, the site is blocked for the rest of the day.

2.Searching randomly for relevant content
When scouring the internet for study materials and references, be as precise as you possibly can with your keywords searches. It’s better to start specific and work your way out to broader topics, than the other way around. Google Scholar allows you to search through academic papers and scholarly research, saving you the trouble of finding out for yourself if a website is legitimate.

3.Studying at the wrong time.
Your brain is more active and receptive to tasks like studying at certain times of the day. As a home school student, you may have the luxury of choosing the best time to get your work done. Will it be early morning with a cup of tea, or just before bed?

4. Not making a schedule for big projects.
Planning ahead is an important habit to develop, especially if you are preparing for dual credit exams, writing a lengthy paper, or doing a large-scale experiment. Make a note of when your work needs to be complete, figure out how many hours you need and start counting backwards to today. You are more likely to finish a task if you work on it a bit every day and have a written plan so that you see yourself getting closer to the finish line. (This is why the Dual Credit at Home Study Plans are so helpful – the schedule that works is laid out for you.)

5. Having poor organizational skills
A tidy, quiet place to work will make studying less painful and allow you to spend more time working, and less time sharpening pencils and looking for notebooks. Take a few minutes after each study session to put your notes and supplies back in the proper place and clean up your study area. Not only will this save you time, but a neat work space will encourage you to study more often.

Studying does not have to be painful or take all day. Following these simple tips will allow you to focus on the task at hand, saving you time and headaches along the way.

Image credit: michaeljung |

Becky Muldrow & the Dual Credit at Home Team
Becky Muldrow & the Dual Credit at Home Team

Hi there! I'm Becky Muldrow, wife to my high school sweetheart, Gene, and mom to 10 great kids! I love spending my days homeschooling the last 4 of them and sharing (on my website and at homeschool conferences) how we do high school differently - by replacing it with college.